The Tainted Cup (Shadow of the Leviathan, 1) by Robert Jackson Bennett

Posted January 30, 2024 by jrsbookr in Fantasy, mystery/crime / 0 Comments

by Robert Jackson Bennett
The Tainted Cup (Shadow of the Leviathan, 1) by Robert Jackson BennettThe Tainted Cup Series: Shadow of the Leviathan #1
Published by Random House Worlds on February 6, 2024
Genres: Fiction / Fantasy / Action & Adventure, Fiction / Fantasy / Epic, Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Traditional
Pages: 432
Find the Author: Website, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon
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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

“Superbly blends mystery and fantasy . . . Give me more of this world and these characters ASAP!”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Gardiner

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.



The Tainted Cup by the author of the Lockland series has drafted an intriguing murder mystery mixed with fantasy with a bit of monster hunting. In The Tainted Cup, we meet two quirky characters that embody Waston and Holmes, but one is Din, an engraver (who can memorize things and repeat them), and Nan, who you think has augmented herself but is just very quirky. Din and Nan are on the hunt to figure out how people are being killed by trees while also trying to survive the wet season when leviathians (think Godzilla) are attacking and breaching the walls. I would have liked a bit more about the Leviathans, but I did find the murder mystery to be quite interesting, and it gave us a chance to learn more about the magic system and establish our two main characters very well for the next book.
The Tainted Cup is an excellent start to a series that looks like we have a new case in each book and more about the leviathans that threaten this world.

About Robert Jackson Bennett

Robert Jackson Bennett is a two-time award winner of the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel, an Edgar Award winner for Best Paperback Original, and is also the 2010 recipient of the Sydney J Bounds Award for Best Newcomer, and a Philip K Dick Award Citation of Excellence. City of Stairs was shortlisted for the Locus Award and the World Fantasy Award. City of Blades was a finalist for the 2015 World Fantasy, Locus, and British Fantasy Awards. City of Miracles is in stores now, and the entire Divine Cities trilogy is currently nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Series.

His eighth novel, Foundryside, the first installment of The Founders Trilogy, will be released August 23rd of 2018.