Doomed by the Shadow…
The Swollen Shadow’s magic is such, that anyone transported to its demi-plane, will always first arrive in the somber and hazy Umbral Fens, which surround the City of Shadow. After some searching one may find the Brittle Road, which leads through the shadow-choked swamps, to the City proper.
A Renaissance dawns. A School of Art emerges.
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.