by velocibadgergirl

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Map Thief by Heather Terrell

I was offered a copy of The Map Thief to consider for review back in the Summer, but didn't have time to read it until the Fall, and clearly took my sweet time getting my thoughts together to write the review. This should not reflect poorly on the book, however, but instead speaks to the heights of my to-be-read pile and the depths of my scatter-brained-ness.

The Map Thief is an art / archaeology adventure story in the vein of The DaVinci Code, but with less violence and overt big-screen-ready hamminess. There's the obligatory Templars connection, and a whip-smart protagonist sent on a globetrotting search for a missing artifact. Beyond that, however, DaVinci similarities fade, and The Map Thief stands quite well on its own two feet.

As the main character, recovery expert Mara Coyne is believable and likable. Even after she finds a similarly likable love interest, she remains a strong character, never relying on a man to sweep in and save the day, which I appreciated. The story centers around Mara's search for an ancient map that has the potential to rewrite history.

The story is told in three interwoven plotlines -- Mara's modern-day search, the map's 1421 creation at the hands of a Chinese cartographer, and the use of the map by Portuguese navigators in 1496. This style of alternating storylines is one of my favorite devices in a history-heavy novel, and Terrell handles the various threads beautifully. Her handling of it reminded me a lot of both The Historian and The Thirteenth Tale, two of my favorite books from the last several years.

The Map Thief is a sequel to The Chrysalis, which I have not read, but the references to the events of that novel were only mentioned in passing and lacking the knowledge of the first book didn't seem to be a problem. I thought the book was a little slow to start, but once Mara sets out to seek the map, things picked up right away. I found it to be a quick and enjoyable read, and the coworker I loaned it to after I finished had the same experience.


In the interest of keeping my bookshelves manageable, I'm going to pass this book on to someone else. If you'd like a chance to win my copy, leave a comment on this entry and tell me your favorite historical figure / group / theme / era / whatever to read about. Personally, I'm a sucker for a book that involves old-timey sailors. You have until midnight on Wednesday, February 25th to enter. Good luck!


Winner! Congratulations to Riva :)


I'll be posting a new giveaway on Monday as part of the Bookroom Reviews Book Giveaway Carnival, so come back soon!

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24 Comments:

Blogger eidolons said...

i love reading about the crusades - from any point of view. currently i'm also enjoying a bit of fluff about english spies during the "reign" of napoleon.

also, i read both the historian and the thirteenth tale. both were excellent books!

eidolons AT gmail DOT com

7:03 AM  
Blogger Becca said...

Medieval is probably my favorite time period to read about. Knights and swords and quests and all that. Although old-timey sailors are good too, especially if they be pirates.
rebecca.bradeen(at)verizon(dot)net

8:57 AM  
Blogger darbyscloset said...

I enjoy reading about Mary Boyeln and her time in history.
Darby
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Ape said...

I'd like to enter. I have historical fiction on my 999 challenge this year so this would help me in that area. :) One of my favorite historical fictions is War of the Gods by Poul Anderson, mostly because it mixes my first loves, fantasy/mythology, with viking history. I also really liked Pompeii by Robert Harris. It's about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, and it was very well written.

By the way, if you are trying to keep your bookshelves manageable, it's usually not a good idea to ask people what their favorite books are. Your bookshelves will be re-cluttered in no time! :P

Rattlesnake2021 AT aol DOT com

5:14 PM  
Blogger Kaye said...

Hi, another great contest! I like to read about books set in WWII. Please enter me in the contest, thanks,

florida982002[at]yahoo dot com

8:06 AM  
Blogger Mary K. from L.A. said...

Hi! The book sounds great and I'd love to read it. My favorite . . . well, I have lots of them. Medieval, Renaissance, 18th Century, 19th Century, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Byzantium, Ancient Egypt. One of my favorite writers for medieval is Sharon Kay Penman. I also like historical mysteries. Lord, I could go on and on!

Mary K. from L.A.
http://justonemorepageblog.blogspot.com/

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Valorie said...

Ancient Rome. I like the Julio-Claudian era. Though, to be more specific, I am enamored with Augustus. I think he's just amazing in so many ways.

Valorie
morbidromantic@gmail.com

1:56 AM  
Blogger mindy said...

sounds intriguing thanks for the giveaway

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Victoria said...

Right now I'm really into colonial America. Thanks for the giveaway. utgal2004[at]yahoo[dot]com

10:28 AM  
Blogger guru said...

I am sucker for end of the world stories.
Thanks for the giveaway!

12:05 PM  
Blogger scottsgal said...

I like 1800's western. thanks for the contest

1:21 PM  
Blogger Lady Roxi said...

I love anything written during medieval times and before.

Thanks,

darkfyre1(at)gmail(dot)com

5:24 PM  
Blogger S. Krishna said...

I generally love reading about the Tudors, though I think I've killed it a little bit by reading too much. Thanks for the giveaway!

8:52 AM  
Blogger Amber S. said...

I love reading books about the 1800's.
This sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for the giveaway!

10:36 PM  
Blogger Estela said...

I'm interested more in the 40s and 50s.

Please enter me to win this book!

1:16 AM  
OpenID violetcrush said...

I don't think I am picky, i could read anything. Please enter me. I just love the cover of this book.

6:07 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

I read pretty widely, but I love the medieval period in particular.

vmlay@artsci.wustl.edu

5:55 PM  
OpenID rhapsodyinbooks said...

This is interesting because right now I am reading the ARC "Lethal Legacy" which is also sort of a DaVinci Code like plot about map stealing. Amazing what influence all those sales can have on other writers!

7:51 AM  
Blogger Riva said...

I really enjoy reading books about the US Civil War era - but I was a history major so historical fiction of any era is fine by me! Please enter me in your neat give-away.

Thanks!

dulcibelle [at] earthlink [dot] net

9:23 AM  
Blogger darbyscloset said...

I enjoy reading about Henry VIII. It's a time era that I know so little about! I really enjoy reading and discovering information about Mary Boylen.
Pleas enter me into your giveaway,
Thanks so much
Darby
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

9:49 PM  
Blogger Gwendolyn B. said...

I'm a big fan of the brooding British detective. The last few years, I've really enjoyed books set in the early to mid 20th century -- before the big technology boom. I'd love to read this -- Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

2:05 PM  
Blogger Mo from Unmainstream Mom Reads said...

I love Henry VIII books. I know his wives were scandalous and all, but it's good reading :)

12:02 PM  
Blogger GeekGirl said...

I am a big fan of historical novels, and would love to enter for this one! *fingers crossed* Also, I'm in the middle of The Historian, and I definitely agree, it's a good read!

9:49 PM  
Blogger Riva said...

Hooray!! The Map Thief arrived today. Thanks again for the neat give-away.

7:52 PM  

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