The Cyclops Goblet by John Blackburn
Bill Easter and his common law wife Peggy Tey, two small-time crooks down on their luck, have been hired to help steal the legendary treasure of Renaissance goldsmith Guido Calamai. Calamai's masterpiece, the Cyclops Goblet, rumoured to possess the power to kill whoever drinks from it, is under lock and key at the Danemere Museum, the gift of the rich and eccentric millionaire Sir Thomas Moscow. But when the goblet is discovered to be a fake, Bill and Peggy must locate the real treasure, and to find it, they'll need to break Sir Thomas's daughter, a murderous madwoman, out of an asylum. From there, the trail leads to a remote Scottish island contaminated with anthrax, where the treasure - and the shocking truth behind its deadly power - is hidden. Unprepared for the horror they will uncover, will Bill and Peggy survive to enjoy their big payday, or will they become the next victims of the Cyclops Goblet?
John Blackburn (1923-1993) was regarded as the best British horror writer of his time, but in The Cyclops Goblet (1977), he shows a different side, infusing a thrilling heist story with elements of horror and dark humour. This first-ever republication of the novel includes a new introduction by Greg Gbur.
'[B]lack comedy doesn't come blacker . . . This is Gothic diablerie with a smile - a very nasty smile, as though a Charles Addams character had escaped from his picture and perpetrated an elaborate practical joke in prose.' - The Guardian
'[A] semi-surrealist, pseudo-Gothic adventure . . . Read on if you can; I could.' - The Observer
'John Blackburn is deservedly well established as a . . . thriller writer. The Cyclops Goblet, his twenty-third, shows no falling off: it is admirably assured, and as admirably exciting.' - British Book News