The locations read like the contents of an exotic holiday brochure: Tahiti, Madagascar, Reunion, Seychelles and the Gulf Coast of Mexico - all of them inextricably linked with the story of Vanilla the world's most versatile flavour. Vanilla is a botanical mystery a uniquely sensual plant who's secret was unlocked by a 12 year African slave in 1841. Aristocrats, apothecaries and modern day tycoons have all chased The Luscious Substance' - and the wealth it brings. Endangered in the wild, Vanilla is now more valuable than at any time in history - a value that places is at the centre of a secretive multimillion dollar trade for which men are being murdered. Tim Ecott has sought out vanilla's rich history and in doing so has brought to life these faraway, fascinating, misunderstood places. Confirming the promise of his debut, Neutral Buoyancy, this is travel writing of the highest order.