BIG ISSUE NATIONAL VENDOR WEEK
LEARN MORE
Books

The Book Of The Most Precious Substance review: Glorious supernatural weirdness abounds

Rare book dealer Lily Albrecht goes on a wild, thrilling and unashamedly sexy ride

The Book Of The Most Precious Substance features rare book dealer Lily Albrecht

In The Book Of The Most Precious Substance rare book dealer Lily Albrecht gets a tip-off about a 17th-century sex-magic manual. Photo: Darren Shen/Unsplash

A book that really does deliver on its thriller promise is Sara Gran’s The Book Of The Most Precious Substance. The US author is hugely under-appreciated in my view, and this latest offering is as confident and impressive as her fantastic backlist.

Rare book dealer Lily Albrecht gets a tip-off about the book of the title, a 17th-century sex-magic manual. As she follows the trail around the world with rich friend Lucas, mysterious things happen and people start dying, as Lily is thrown into a world of supernatural weirdness, unlimited wealth and extraordinary power.

Written with glorious narrative gusto, this is a hugely enjoyable ride, acerbic at times, touching at others, and unashamedly sexy. As Lily strives to find the book, her search changes both her and those around her in ways that are shocking but also seem inevitable, like all the best noir fiction. A terrific, immersive read from start to finish.

The Book of the Most Precious Substance by Sara Gran

The Book Of The Most Precious Substance by Sara Gran is out now. You can buy it from The Big Issue shop on Bookshop.org, which helps to support The Big Issue and independent bookshops.

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine, which exists to give homeless, long-term unemployed and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income.

To support our work buy a copy! If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

National Vendor Week 2024

A celebration of people who are working their way out of poverty.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Family Politics by John O'Farrell review – a plea to engage with those whose views we abhor
Books

Family Politics by John O'Farrell review – a plea to engage with those whose views we abhor

Top 5 books with magical creatures, chosen by best-selling author Alex Bell
Books

Top 5 books with magical creatures, chosen by best-selling author Alex Bell

Mrs Gulliver by Valerie Martin review – finding agency in a patriarchy
Books

Mrs Gulliver by Valerie Martin review – finding agency in a patriarchy

Freaks Out! by Luke Haines review – a righteous celebration of gloriously weird rock 'n' rollers
Books

Freaks Out! by Luke Haines review – a righteous celebration of gloriously weird rock 'n' rollers

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Here's when UK households to start receiving last cost of living payments
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Here's when UK households to start receiving last cost of living payments

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know