The Map Thief: A Novel

by Heather Terrell | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 9780345494689 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingAceofHeartswing of Mississauga, Ontario Canada on 8/15/2008
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Friday, August 15, 2008
From the Publisher
Beijing, China, 1421: It is a momentous time for the Ming Dynasty. Honoring the completion of the Forbidden City, a fleet of unprecedented size sets sail under Admiral Zheng He. Zheng’s mission is to chart the globe, trading for riches and bringing glory to China’s emperor. Among the crew is the talented cartographer and navigator Ma Zhi, whose work will lead to the first true map of the world–but whose accomplishment will vanish when the fleet returns to a very different China than the one it left.

Lisbon, Portugal, 1496: At the height of Portugal’s maritime domination during the Age of Discovery, the legendary explorer Vasco da Gama embarks on a quest to find a sea route to India. On board is navigator Antonio Coehlo, who guards Portugal’s most secret treasure: a map that already shows the way.

New York, present day: Mara Coyne’s new client has left her uneasy. Republican kingmaker Richard Tobias has hired her, he says, because of her skill in recovering stolen art and advocating for the rightful owners, but Mara senses that he is not telling her everything. Tobias reveals that a centuries-old map was stolen from an archaeological dig he is sponsoring in China, and he wants her to get it back. But as Mara begins her investigation, she uncovers the shocking truth: The map is more valuable than anyone has ever imagined, and her client’s motives are more sinister than she suspected.

Weaving rich historical detail and astounding fact into a fast-paced suspense-fiction ride, The Map Thief is an incredible entrée to the murky underworld of stolen artifacts and the thieves and traders who broker them. From Hong Kong to the Italian countryside, from Lisbon to the remote reaches of Communist China, and literally around the world on the ships of fifteenth-century explorers, Heather Terrell takes readers on a globe-trotting adventure of epic proportions.

Journal Entry 2 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Friday, August 22, 2008
This story is written in three parts: Beijing, China 1421, Lisbon, Portugal 1496 and present day. Beijing is under the Ming dynasty. The forbidden city has just been completed and to celebrate the completion Admiral Zheng He is told to amass a fleet to map the world and bring back riches and glory for the emperor. Ma Zhi is a eunuch cartographer who wishes to join the armada and help his family's finances. He must go through rigorous testing but is finally chosen to accompany the Admiral. He creates a beautiful map of the world. Upon arrival home he finds that China is now not interested in exploration but is turning inward and becoming isolated. They are not the heroes they thought they would be.

Portugal has dominated the seas and navigation. The legendary Vasco da Gama sets off to discover a route to India. Navigator Antonio Coehlo guards da Gama's secret treasure, a map which shows the route. The pompous European goes forth and is not greeted quite as well as he would have wished for.

Present Day: Mara Coyne's new client is Richard Tobias. He wants her to find a map which has been stolen from a Chinese archaeological dig he is sponsoring. As Mara investigates she finds out the map is much more valuable than she thought. A map that if found can have all sorts of political ramifications. Did the Chinese really discover America? Did the Portuguese cheat? And how does Tobias fit in all this?

I very much enjoyed how the different voyages were portrayed. This is a historical mystery of the best kind. Lots of rich details for each period and lots of fast-paced action. The book begs the question of where valuable pieces of art really belong.

Journal Entry 3 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Reading now!

Journal Entry 4 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Mara is called up when an ancient and potentially history-changing map is stolen from an archeological dig site in China. She takes a trip to China and meets up with Ben, the site manager of the dig to determine what she's gotten herself into. She learns that Ben has found a map of Chinese origin that indicates the Chinese were the first sail around the world, rather than the Portuguese. She sets off with Ben and chases the map around the world.

Meanwhile, we also learn of the mapmaker's fate back in the 1400's. How he was separated from his love to serve his admiral, sailed around the world, and then came home but not as the hero he expected to be. We also learn about a Portuguese navigator who learns of his country's lies of discovering the world first and how he deals with it.

This book gives you insight into map making and navigation in the early 1400 and 1500's. While the idea behind the book is quite interesting, I found the characters pretty weak. Mara seemed distant and weak to me, and Ben seemed like too much of a pushover without much spirit. Furthermore, the first 50 pages or so continuously mentioned a "Chrysalis" case. I haven't read Terrell's previous book though, so I had no idea what happened in that case. All the references to the case without explaining what happened only confused me. I'm not sure if I would read another book with Mara as the main character, but I would consider reading another Terrell book.

Journal Entry 5 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Sunday, November 16, 2008
mailed today to CdnBlueRose who took this out of the HF VBB

Journal Entry 6 by CdnBlueRose from Lynden, Washington USA on Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Arrived yesterday, thanks Ace!

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