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The Tainted Cup

On sale

6th February 2024

Price: £22

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Selected: ebook / ISBN-13: 9781399725378

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‘Part Sherlock Holmes murder mystery, part Through the Looking-Glass, The Tainted Cup is one of the wildest, most original stories’ WESLEY CHU

An eccentric detective and her long-suffering assistant untangle a web of magic, deceit, and murder in this sparkling fantasy reimagining of the classic crime novel – from the bestselling author of The Founders Trilogy.

A peculiar crime. A brilliant investigator. A mystery of epic proportions.

In an opulent mansion at the borders of the Empire, an Imperial officer lies dead – killed when a tree spontaneously erupted from his body. Even here, where contagions abound and the blood of the Leviathans works strange magical changes, it’s a death at once terrifying and impossible.

Called in to solve the crime is Ana Dolabra, an investigator whose reputation for brilliance is matched only by her eccentricity. At her side is her new assistant, Dinios Kol, an engraver, magically altered to possess a perfect memory.

Soon, the mystery leads to a scheme that threatens the safety of the Empire itself. For Ana, all this makes for a deliciously thorny puzzle – at last, something to truly hold her attention. And Din? He’ll just have to hold on for the ride.


‘This is that rare thing – a book so good that you are bereft when you reach the final page. I loved this and would spend much more time in its world’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Utterly riveting read from beginning to end. Another mind blowing innovative world-build’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I couldn’t put this one down and read waaay into the night to discover who did what to whom – and came away with a massive book hangover that had me dreaming of Bennett’s world for the rest of the week’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I adored this book! Can’t recommend it enough. Murder mystery in a fantasy setting with botanical murder weapons, augmented humans and leviathans threatening to breach city walls! It was such a wonderful, exciting book!’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘This book destroyed those expectations. This was fantastic ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Engrossing and fascinating‘ MUR LAFFERTY

‘A masterstroke. I want Bennett to write a dozen of these, and send them to me yesterday’ MAX GLADSTONE

Original, imaginative, and suspenseful‘ MEG GARDINER


‘If you love unique, genre-bending, boundary-pushing fantasy as much as I do, look no further than Robert Jackson Bennett’ FONDA LEE


Brent Weeks, New York Times bestselling author of The Way of Shadows
Robert Jackson Bennett deserves a huge audience
Mur Lafferty, Campbell Award winning author of Playing for Keeps
Bennett's world is engrossing and fascinating
Amal El-Mohtar, New York Times Book Review
Absolutely riveting . . . I went to bed late reading it and woke up early to finish it
Max Gladstone, New York Times bestselling co-author of This Is How You Lose the Time War
I loved this. A twisty detective story, a weird fantasy, a thrilling adventure-The Tainted Cup is a masterstroke. I want Bennett to write a dozen of these, and send them to me yesterday
Meg Gardiner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the UNSUB series
Original, imaginative, and suspenseful, The Tainted Cup superbly blends mystery and fantasy in this vivid, complex novel. I couldn't put it down. Give me more of this world and these characters ASAP!
Wesley Chu, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The War Arts Saga
Part Sherlock Holmes murder mystery, part Through the Looking-Glass, The Tainted Cup is one of the wildest, most original stories I've ever had the privilege to explore
Kirkus Reviews
Sherlock Holmes meets Game of Thrones . . . A rousing adventure for alt-fantasy fans
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Bennett brilliantly melds genres in this exceptional mystery-fantasy. The worldbuilding is immediately involving, Bennett's take on a classic detective duo dynamic feels fresh and exciting, and the mystery itself twists and turns delightfully. Readers will be wowed
Fonda Lee, author of the Green Bone Saga
A riveting murder mystery wrapped in a twisty conspiracy, set in a vivid fantasy world terrorized by eldritch monsters. If you love unique, genre-bending, boundary-pushing fantasyas much as I do, look no further than Robert Jackson Bennett
Django Wexler, author of the Shadow Campaigns series
The Tainted Cup is a true fantasy mystery, with a leading duo who stand with Holmes and Watson among the greats. And Bennett sets it all in a squishy, fascinating, biopunk worldI'm dying to find out more about. Bring on the next one!
James L. Sutter, author of Darkhearts
A classic murder mystery set against dazzling worldbuilding and sly social commentary. Robert Jackson Bennett doesn't miss