For millennia the mysterious nature of fungi has intrigued the intrepid. Fungal fruits of field and forest have fed the fearless, while the (surprisingly few) resulting fatalities have fuelled myths and legends. Monks and murderers have turned mushrooms to their advantage; artists and authors have fallen for the fascination of fungi. Once enticed in to this quirky kingdom, the magical mix of majesty and mystery has enough power to captivate the interest for a lifetime. But the complexity and scientific jargon of the subject make it difficult for newcomers to gain a broad view of this vast topic.