“The Cartographers is one of those brilliant books you have to read twice.” — Washington Post
“There are echoes of Borges and Bradbury, Pynchon and Finian’s Rainbow, but Ms. Shepherd’s exhilarating and enjoyable work casts a magical glow all its own.” — Wall Street Journal
From the critically acclaimed author of The Book of M, a highly imaginative thriller about a young woman who discovers that a strange map in her deceased father’s belongings holds an incredible, deadly secret—one that will lead her on an extraordinary adventure and to the truth about her family’s dark history.
What is the purpose of a map?
Nell Young’s whole life and greatest passion is cartography. Her father, Dr. Daniel Young, is a legend in the field and Nell’s personal hero. But she hasn’t seen or spoken to him ever since he cruelly fired her and destroyed her reputation after an argument over an old, cheap gas station highway map.
But when Dr. Young is found dead in his office at the New York Public Library, with the very same seemingly worthless map hidden in his desk, Nell can’t resist investigating. To her surprise, she soon discovers that the map is incredibly valuable and exceedingly rare. In fact, she may now have the only copy left in existence...because a mysterious collector has been hunting down and destroying every last one—along with anyone who gets in the way.
To answer that question, Nell embarks on a dangerous journey to reveal a dark family secret and discovers the true power that lies in maps...
Perfect for fans of Joe Hill and V. E. Schwab, The Cartographers is an ode to art and science, history and magic—a spectacularly imaginative, modern story about an ancient craft and places still undiscovered.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Author Peng Shepherd follows her acclaimed debut, The Book of M, with a novel that blends fascinating realistic detail and relatable family conflict with fantastical plot turns that push the story in entirely unexpected directions. Newly minted cartography PhD Nell Young was on the verge of getting a permanent researcher job at the New York Public Library. But when she discovered a seemingly worthless old map in the bowels of the library, her boss—who was also her aloof father—abruptly fired her, throwing her entire academic career off the rails. Now Nell’s father is dead…and he won’t be the last employee at the library to meet their end under mysterious circumstances. Peng’s story has elements of a mystery and a fantasy—and it’s entirely engrossing. The Cartographers brings a sense of wonder and enchantment to a world that seems as real as our own.
Disgraced cartographer Nell Young, the protagonist of this extraordinary mystery from Shepherd (The Book of M), was fired by her father, Daniel Young, a cartographic scholar in the New York Public Library's map division, after they argued over a map. Seven years later, Daniel dies in his office, apparently of natural causes. In a hidden compartment in his desk, Nell finds the map they argued over, a decades-old gas station road map of New York. She suspects the map is somehow related to his death, which she's sure is a case of foul play. She seeks help from her ex, who now works for the tech giant Haberson, whose eccentric leader, William Haberson, wishes to map the entire world and all knowledge within it. Gradually, Nell connects with the talented cartographers who were friends of her father and long-dead mother years before. They tell her of their last summer together and warn her of the threat from a member of their group obsessed with Nell's mother, who died in a house fire. Possessed of a questing intellect and a determined stubbornness, Nell proves smart enough to solve the various riddles she faces. Shepherd's convincing blend of magic from old maps with the modern online world both delights and thrills. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM.
I really enjoyed this book. At times, I got confused about characters, especially when they were traveling in two groups.
Quick, fun, and half baked
Characters are thin, premise is fun but half baked, and the exposition is overwritten.