A rare handwritten book holds the key to great wealth and power for anyone who performs the black magic spells listed within. Those seeking the book are already rich and powerful, but they want more and would kill to get their hands on it in Sara Gran's thought-provoking, erotic thriller The Book of the Most Precious Substance.
Lily and her husband, Abel, are successful writers until Abel contracts an illness that forces Lily to sell first-edition antique books to pay for his treatments. She's thrilled when another bookseller offers to split a million-dollar commission if Lily helps him find an elusive book called The Book of the Most Precious Substance. Before Lily can begin her search, her colleague is killed, leaving Lily without the name of the rich potential buyer. Lily enlists her well-connected friend Lucas to help her find both the buyer and the book. Their quest turns unexpectedly sexual in nature, with elements of black magic, and results in a dangerous international chase for a manuscript that doesn't want to be found--and seekers who will pay any price for it.
How far would some people go for unlimited wealth and power? Why are immense riches and influence not enough for some? Gran (the Claire DeWitt series) poses answers to these questions, particularly when Lucas asks the owner of a copy of the rare book, "You have money. You have power. What did you want that you didn't have?" and the owner replies, "Everything." Some of the characters may be insatiable, but readers will find The Book of the Most Precious Substance's ending immensely satisfying. --Paul Dinh-McCrillis, freelance reviewer