Acclaimed crime writer Elizabeth Hand returns to her "fiercely frightening yet hauntingly beautiful" cult-favorite series: Photographer Cass Neary is hard-up for cash and in more danger than she realizes on the hunt for an ancient, legendary book (Tess Gerritsen). Photographer Cass Neary is desperate to get home, and she's already lost her camera -- like losing a limb. Now her only chance is to cash in on a deal that a friend is about to cut for a legendary illuminated manuscript: The Book of Lamps and Banners. Rumored to have been rescued from the Library at Alexandria, the Book is said to contain ancient esoteric knowledge, even an otherworldly power.
So when an intruder brazenly steals the manuscript, Cass and her ex-con lover Quinn must get it back-plunging headlong into a shady underworld where antiquarian booksellers, unhinged tech entrepreneurs, and brutal nationalists all converge. This breathless psychological thriller, featuring one of the greatest amateur sleuths of the past decade, could only come from the mind of Elizabeth Hand.
"Kaleidoscopic, dark, and mysterious . . . This novel is a jaw-punch, written with a snarling grace." -- Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World
“I love Cass Neary . . . . Her latest misadventure is vivid and haunting, braiding the ancient and occult with the unholy frights of the modern world.” ―Steph Cha, author of Your House Will Pay
"Elizabeth Hand has delivered a startling book that is dirty, wise, aching, and almost magical."―Ivy Pochoda, author of These Women
The discovery of an ancient book of arcane lore bound in human skin and possibly written by Aristotle drives Hand's enjoyable if at times overplotted fourth Cass Neary thriller (after 2016's Hard Light). Cass, a middle-aged punk photographer hooked on alcohol and pills, is lying low in London on a false passport and desperate for money to get her and her boyfriend, Quinn, out of the country. On learning of the book's sale to an eccentric video game designer, Cass realizes that cutting herself in on the deal might just solve their problems. The buyer, Tindra Bergrstrand, needs the book to complete an app that can alter the user's mental state and trigger powerful, sometimes violent emotional memories. When the book is stolen from the dealer and Tindra disappears, Cass begins a frantic search to locate both Tindra and the book. The action hurtles toward an exciting climax on an island off the Swedish coast. That this adventure ends for once on a positive note for Cass, who so far has been living on an addict's ragged edge, will please series fans. Newcomers will find this a good entry point.