Steve Geddes is an author who has been commissioned to write a book about collectors. His research leads him to an extraordinary line-up of eccentrics, including the alluring Victoria, who collects lovers. But then the most curious encyclopaedia he's ever seen draws his attention to a novelist it doesn't much rate, and suddenly he's eating, sleeping and breathing the works of Thornton McCain. Before he knows it, Steve finds he's become a collector himself: he can't rest until he's located every book, read every sentence. He should get a life, he knows, but his collector's quest is taking him into the very depths of the acquisitive inferno.