Longlisted for the Booker Prize
The name of Cyrus Cyrus has been associated with sex, drugs, death, murder and Satanism, ever since his protracted and complicated trial some three years ago. While passing sentence upon him Judge James Parkinson called him “the most truly evil man that I have ever had the misfortune to try in a court of law”.
That is the public verdict on the hero of Adam Zameenzad’s fourth novel but is it the truth? As the novel opens, Cyrus has mysteriously disappeared from the prison cell in which he has been incarcerated for a catalogue of hideous crimes. He leaves behind a manuscript bound in tapes that glow eerily in the dark. It tells the story of his life, and forms the substance of this novel.
Born a Choodah, lowest of out-caste Indians, Cyrus tells us how he was marked at an early age but his sexual profligacy and supernatural intelligence, and by bearing the sign of the devil on his back. Following the violent death of members of his family, Cyrus escapes to the West, and embarks on a series of fantastical adventures across North America – in the company of religious sects, vagabonds, and by women who are by turns repelled and attracted by him. But it is in England where nemesis awaits Cyrus, and he becomes the most notorious criminal of the century. Is he Satan or saint, the most evil of men or the most wronged? Only the reader of this astonishing novel can decide ...
Set in three continents, introducing a huge cast of characters, combining an exciting story with philosophy, humour, spiritualism, mystery and magic, Cyrus Cyrus confirms Adam Zameenzad’s reputation as one of the very finest novelists.
Brilliant – truly funny and gloriously inventive – Malcolm Brabury – SUNDAY TIMES