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4.0 

The Tainted Cup

By Robert Jackson Bennett
The Tainted Cup by Robert Jackson Bennett digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

A Holmes and Watson–style detective duo take the stage in this fantasy with a mystery twist, from the Edgar-winning, multiple Hugo-nominated Robert Jackson Bennett

“Great fantasy detective stories are too rare, but Bennett—[a] rising star of fantasy—more than delivers.”—Charlie Jane Anders, The Washington Post


In Daretana’s greatest mansion, a high imperial officer lies dead—killed, to all appearances, when a tree erupted from his body. Even here at the Empire’s borders, where contagions abound and the blood of the leviathans works strange magical changes, it’s a death both terrifying and impossible.

Assigned to investigate is Ana Dolabra, a detective whose reputation for brilliance is matched only by her eccentricities. Rumor has it that she wears a blindfold at all times, and that she can solve impossible cases without even stepping outside the walls of her home.

At her side is her new assistant, Dinios Kol, magically altered in ways that make him the perfect aide to Ana’s brilliance. Din is at turns scandalized, perplexed, and utterly infuriated by his new superior—but as the case unfolds and he watches Ana’s mind leap from one startling deduction to the next, he must admit that she is, indeed, the Empire’s greatest detective.

As the two close in on a mastermind and uncover a scheme that threatens the Empire itself, Din realizes he’s barely begun to assemble the puzzle that is Ana Dolabra—and wonders how long he’ll be able to keep his own secrets safe from her piercing intellect.

By an “endlessly inventive” (Vulture) author with a “wicked sense of humor” (NPR), The Tainted Cup mixes the charms of detective fiction with brilliant world-building to deliver a fiendishly clever mystery that’s at once instantly recognizable and thrillingly new.

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134 Reviews

4.0
Smiling Face with Heart-Eyes“I LOVED IT!!!”
Characters change and growLikable charactersMulti-layered charactersAddictiveUnpredictableDark settingMagical setting
Slightly Smiling Face“Right off the bat, this book was so interesting and different than anything I feel like I've read before. I was hooked. I really enjoyed the writing, but I definitely had to pay attention. The characters really had depth, and I wanted to know more about them. Great start to a new series.”
Multi-layered characters
Beaming Face with Smiling Eyes“Highly enjoyed this one. Bennett has created such an interesting and unique world with the augmentations, the use of plants, and the leviathan reveal at the end… what?! I need to know more! Absolutely loved the dynamic between the quirky, sassy, incredibly smart Anna and the sweet and highly skilled Din. It was also such a great mystery that kept me glued to the pages dying to see it all unravel. I did see a few of these reveals coming but definitely not everything. Love how it all came together in the end. Plus the last chapter had me grinning ear to ear. Looking forward to the next book!”
Likable charactersMulti-layered charactersEasy to readAddictiveTwisty
Surprised Face with Open Mouth
Likable charactersMulti-layered charactersBeautifully writtenDescriptive writingSuspensefulMagical setting
Slightly Smiling Face“This book was a solid 4.5 for me. My best friends and I picked it up for our book club, and we had a lot of fun reading it together. Bennett’s writing style is atmospheric and really brings the setting to life. What makes this book stand out is how it effortlessly combines different genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-fi, and world building. It’s all there. One thing I enjoyed was getting to know the townies with small roles and discovering their abilities. The chapters with the main duo, Din and Ana were entertaining and their interactions truly reflected their distinctive personalities. If I had to point out small critique, it would be the lack of a glossary. It would’ve been helpful to have a clear explanation of the different departments and their roles. But overall, I highly recommend giving this book a read. I hope there’ll be a Book Two. There’s so much to discover about the world building!”
Believable charactersDiverse charactersLikable charactersFast-pacedSuspensefulTwistyImmersive settingComical

About Robert Jackson Bennett

Robert Jackson Bennett is the author of the Founders Trilogy and the Divine Cities Trilogy, which were both Hugo Award finalists in the Best Series category. The first book in the Divine Cities Trilogy, City of Stairs, was also a finalist for the World Fantasy and Locus awards, and the second, City of Blades, was a finalist for the World Fantasy, Locus, and British Fantasy awards. His previous novels, which include American Elsewhere and The Company Man, have received the Edgar Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the Philip K. Dick Citation of Excellence. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his family.

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