About The Truffle Underground

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The Truffle Underground: A Tale of Mystery, Mayhem, and Manipulation in the Shadowy Market of the World’s Most Expensive Fungus. (Photo: Clarkson Potter/Random House)

The Truffle Underground: A Tale of Mystery, Mayhem, and Manipulation in the Shadowy Market of the World’s Most Expensive Fungus. (Photo: Clarkson Potter/Random House)

BuzzFeed named the book one of the most anticipated titles of 2019. Publishers Weekly calls it a “fascinating,” “deeply researched and eye-opening account” that “will captivate readers.Booklist gave it a starred review. Kirkus labels it “an entertaining, revealing,” and “deftly crafted tale.” Author Summer Brennan writes that this “beautifully written debut” is “as gripping as any HBO prestige drama.” Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and New York Times bestselling author Steve Fainaru says it’s “a forest-to-table page-turner” delivered in “elegant, mesmerizing prose.” National bestselling author Derek Thompson describes it as “a love story that's as seductive as the buttery fungus.” New York Times bestselling author Bianca Bosker hails it as “the ultimate truffle true crime tale.” Author Alexis Coe puts it simply: “thrilling.”

The First Paragraph:

At nightfall, the thieves dropped rope ladders through ceiling ducts and drove trucks through warehouse walls. They scaled roofs, broke locks, ripped refrigerator doors off their hinges. They wore night-vision goggles and slinked into private oak groves, their guards holding rifles and standing watch. Their hounds wove quietly through columns of stalky trees, snouts working chalky soils for a scent of the quarry. When the hounds’ paws scratched, the men darted toward patches of burnt earth and shoveled shallow holes with precision and speed. When their bags bulged, they screeched past moonlit vineyards onto country roads, into darkness. And they did all this not for cash, or for jewelry, or for art. It was for les truffes, the truffles.

Product Description from Clarkson Potter:

A thrilling journey through the hidden underworld of the world’s most prized luxury ingredient.

Beneath the gloss of star chefs and crystal-laden tables, the truffle supply chain is touched by theft, secrecy, sabotage, and fraud. Farmers patrol their fields with rifles and fear losing trade secrets to spies. Hunters plant poisoned meatballs to eliminate rival truffle-hunting dogs. Naive buyers and even knowledgeable experts are duped by liars and counterfeits. 

Deeply reported and elegantly written, this page-turning exposé documents the dark, sometimes deadly crimes at each level of the truffle’s path from ground to plate, making sense of an industry that traffics in scarcity, seduction, and cash. Through it all, a question lingers: What, other than money, draws people to these dirt-covered knobs?

International Editions

  • Melville House has acquired the UK/Commonwealth rights for publication in February 2020.

  • Pan Rolling, Inc. has acquired the Japanese translation rights for publication in Summer 2020.

  • Planeta has acquired the Spanish translation rights for publication in Winter 2019/2020.

  • All foreign rights requests should be directed to Claire Posner (cposner@penguinrandomhouse.com) at Crown Publishing.