The Cartographers

Peng Shepherd. Morrow, $27.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-291069-1

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. (Mar.)
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