The Black Grail (Avon Books, September 1986). Cover by Luis Royo
I picked up Damien Broderick’s The Black Grail mostly because of the great Luis Royo cover (which speaks to me vividly of 80s-era SF and fantasy), but it turns out to have a pretty interesting back story.
The Black Grail is Broderick’s sixth novel, a substantial expansion and retelling of his first novel, 1970’s Sorcerer’s World. Most sources list them as separate books since, to quote from the ISFDB, “their difference is substantial enough to consider this a different work.” The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction calls it “a far more complex and sophisticated rewrite of Sorcerer’s World… [depending] upon elaborate plotting involving alternative timelines and temporal paradoxes.”
That alone was enough to pique my interest, and that was before I found this brief 4-star review on Goodreads that compared it to Jack Vance’s masterwork:
I really enjoyed this book from the Dying Earth sub-genre. It had a lot of ideas packed into the 310 pages. I found it to be a fairly quick read that moved along with an action packed plot and interesting twists on familiar Dying Earth themes…
Lightsabers, elaborate plotting, temporal paradoxes, and Dying Earth motifs? I’m sold. This one has shot to the top of my TBR pile. The Black Grail was published by Avon Books in September 1986. It is 310 pages, priced at $3.50. It has never been reprinted in the US, and there is no digital edition. The cover is by Luis Royo. It’s part of the 6-volume Faustus Hexagram series that also includes The Judas Mandala (1982), Striped Holes (1988), and The Sea’s Furthest End (1993).
See al our recent Vintage Treasures here.