Stones that have been attuned to the extreme temperatures of deserts or icy wastes. Such stones are quite valuable to adventurers as they can use them in order to preserve or prepare meals, make extreme environments bearable, and use them in clever devices.
It looks like a cook's book. It is a cook's book. It is also where the cook, who happened to be a master spy, encoded all his secrets and contacts. The book has innocently fallen into your group's hands. Everyone wants it, and many are not subtle or peaceful in their attempts.