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The Cartographers

By Peng Shepherd
The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description


Finalist for the LA Times Book Prize!

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.

But why?

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.

291 Reviews

Thumbs Up“I like the book. Despite its flaws. There was handful of plot holes and I didn’t quite understand the motivations of the characters. I did enjoy the premise and flashback sections.”
Beautifully writtenWhimsicalFast-pacedThrillingUnengaging characters
Beaming Face with Smiling Eyes“I rated this book 5 stars because of how much I enjoyed reading it - and not at all for any other reason. There were tons of plot holes, problems solved too easily, and the main character was at times mildly annoying. I loved the looks into the Cartographers - that was my favorite aspect. I wish there was more time exploring motives at the end - the rushed ending was unnecessary.”
Colorful personalitiesLikable charactersBeautifully writtenWhimsicalTwistyEnchantingHopefulObstacles overcome too easilyRushed ending
Surprised Face with Open Mouth“This plot was so unique and interesting! I’ve never read a story like this and it is so clear the author put much thought and research into creating this world. I was immediately drawn to the mystery and was hooked from the start!”
Multi-layered charactersThrillingUnpredictableImmersive setting
Thumbs Up“Ive read many mixed reviews about this book but it was a great read for me. The mystery kept me interested and I love how there was a love interest sprinkled in. There were many strong female characters and also a found family trope overall I loved The Cartographers”
Diverse charactersMulti-layered charactersThrillingBeautiful settingCreative setting
Thinking Face“I struggle to describe my thoughts. I enjoyed it, that's the first thing I should say. However, there are certain aspects of the book that left me wanting. The first of which were the characters. Outside of a few (yay, Felix), I felt that a lot of the characters jumbled together and weren't very distinct from one another. I found myself confusing the members of The Cartographers constantly. Furthermore, I found quite a few plot holes and choices that didn't seem logical/consistent.”
Colorful personalitiesConciseTwistyEnchantingHopeful

About Peng Shepherd

Peng Shepherd was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where she rode horses and trained in classical ballet, and has lived in Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, London, New York, and Mexico City. 

Her second novel, The Cartographers, became a national bestseller, was named a Best Book of March by The Washington Post, and received a 2020 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her debut, The Book of M, won the 2019 Neukom Institute for Literary Arts Award for Debut Speculative Fiction, and was chosen as a best book of the year by AmazonElleRefinery29, and The Verge, as well as a best book of the summer by the Today show and NPR’s On Point.

When not writing, Peng can be found planning her next trip or haunting local bookstores.

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