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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.

And don't miss The Book of M!

1431 Reviews

Slightly Smiling Face“Occasionally my best friend’s mom, Mrs Lyn, gives me her book club recommendations, and who am I to tell her no? This was a touching, magical, page-turning, with just the littlest bit of romance. Very cute, very sweet, and made me cry. Love a good found family story, especially someone who chooses to be a dad. Recommended if you’re looking for a sweet and gentle palate cleanser after a tough read.”
Characters change and growLikable charactersEasy to readFunny writingSuspensefulRealistic settingFeel goodHeartbreaking
Red Angry Face“It was a fast-paced read with a really fun/intriguing premise. But that's unfortunately where my praise stops. This book left SO much to be desired was ultimately disappointing because there was so much potential in premise of maps depicting fake places becoming real. Is this a power any of the main characters could learn/use to create new spaces? What happens when two maps conflict? Could there have been people that were created as part of Agloe? Rather than explore any of those, the book gives us an overload of random details, choosing to tell us about the hum of Wally's CPU instead of anything compelling around why he was actually so dangerous that Tam would leave for 20 years, and uses a too large cast of characters (Bear and Swann could have been the same person). I kept reading because I kept hoping the magic would develop but ultimately finished the book frustrated.”
Descriptive writingEasy to readTwistyMagical settingUnsatisfying endingUnsatisfying plot

About Peng Shepherd

Peng Shepherd was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, 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 2022 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 Amazon, Elle, Refinery29, and The Verge, as well as a best book of the summer by the Today show and NPR’s On Point.

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