Biographical details about Magnus are sometimes conflicting. He appears to have operated under several identities, and may have ties to one or more intelligence organizations, including the CIA, the Mossad, and a radical group of Antarctic separatists.
A Paris Match story claimed he was the natural son of French President Valery Giscard D’Estaing, while a profile in “Le Monde” claimed he was the son of Jacques Piccard, explorer of the Marianas Trench. Magnus himself disavowed both stories, and the (possibly satiric) essay he later wrote on the subject, “In My Father’s Footsteps: exploring the Marianas Trench with Valery Giscard D’Estaing” is inconclusive.
Magnus seems to enjoy a private income, source unknown, though rumors about his professional life vary widely. Reinhard Nelke, Directeur Superieur Generale of Banc National Le Lac once testified under oath that Magnus Flyte “did unsavory things to highly deserving people for obscene amounts of money.” This would seem to corroborate the intelligence agency theories, although Greek shipping & receiving heiress Narcissus Papathanisou dedicated a book of her poems to Magnus Flyte, calling him “A man of great peace and a great piece of man.”
He is believed to be the real author behind the series of author parodies published under the name “Author’s Name Withheld.”
Magnus mentioned to the bartender at The Conch Flyer that he had written “the first of a series of historical thriller comedies that contain clues to an actual secret that once was revealed to me by a man of small stature and large insight during the white nights in St. Petersburg.” But it is not certain if this refers to “City of Dark Magic” or not.
A copy of the manuscript of “City of Dark Magic” written on stationery from the Hotel La Mamounia in Marrakech using a manual typewriter was received by mail at the offices of Penguin Books in New York in January 2012. It was postmarked on the Isle of Mull. On the back of the envelope were some marks in pencil: “snow bunting, whooper swan lock torr, tawny owl, cailach.” It is not known if Magnus himself, who has shown an interest in the migratory pattern of terns (but not buntings), mailed the manuscript, or a birdwatching friend simply mailed it from there while on vacation.
After the uproar over the publication of his first novel, City of Dark Magic, Magnus Flyte retreated to his dacha in the Urals, where he enjoys exploring underground tributaries of the Ufa, observing the mating habits of the spotted nutcracker, and smelting.
Mr. Flyte is currently at work on a half-hour television comedy about sixteenth-century ethnographer Sigismund von Herberstein, entitled Ural I Love.