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Publisher's Summary

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 also 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 discover 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.

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2022 Peng Shepherd (P)2022 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Cartographers

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    1 out of 5 stars

This audiobook should come with a warning label...

[Warning...potential spoilers...] I was really looking forward to this book...a map & a mystery...I'm in!! But wow what a stunningly disappointing book on so many levels. The writing itself is sophomoric at best. And the plot reads like a YA novel that relies heavily on a ScoobyDoo playbook. Nonsensical situations, e.g the main character consistently doesn't ask the followup questions any intelligent person would ask. And then there's the contrivances (time & time again) to merely allow the story to advance, e.g multiple times there are suddenly hidden doors thru which the characters can escape. (seriously, a third dead body is discovered at the NYPL in a week, police are all over the building, and yet, Oh look, this hidden door and staircase that takes us right out to street level, where there are apparently No Police monitoring the outside of the building even tho the corpse is still warm... ] And the lead character is supposed to be 7 years post PhD, which would make her like early 30's...but has the emotional maturity and dialogue of someone in middle school. Just all-around horrible...waste of a credit.

7 people found this helpful

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Fantastic

An entire book about maps…
Some may think boring, but I assure you it was anything but!
Why would a 1930 gas station folding map be so valuable that someone would kill for it? The answer might be in the map.
Loved it!

6 people found this helpful

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Don't do it...

Spoilers...

Just don't bother. I didn't care about any of the main characters. Everyone refuses to speak to each other. The friends from 25 years ago don't speak to each other. Dad and daughter don't speak to each other over a cheap map. We later find out this is to "protect" her from secret knowledge. Oh, and Dad also trashes her reputation so that she cannot get a job in her field. That's love for you. Dad also fires her boyfriend which results in him moving out of their apartment and never speaking to the daughter again. For some unknown reason Dad decides not to trash the boyfriend's reputation.

The daughter is supposed to be a PhD, however knowing that at least 1 person was killed over the map, she continues on with her silly investigation without so much as arming herself with pepper spray. Supposedly, if something exists on the map, it becomes reality- so why didnt the daughter's father just draw himself a secret room to hide from the villain? Supposedly the daughter's mom dies in a fire, However, she's ALIVE! Now why no one, including her husband, didn't bother to check her pulse, do CPR or anything after she collapses is a mystery.

And like a poorly acted movie, everyone "gssps" at every new revelation.

This was a hot mess. The more I think about it - I should have done myself a favor and returned this.

2 people found this helpful

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Light mystery and magical realism but not for me

After 7 years of no communication between Nell and her father over a disagreement involving the importance of a foldable gas station highway map of New York State in 1930, she receives a phone call one morning from The New York Public Library stating that her father has died. Nell has been pulled back into a world she was once ostracized from finding a secret hidden away by her father that looks to be a clue into his death. Nell enlist help from a one time friend to try and uncover the secrets behind the man she once called father, a map from the 1930s and a secret group The Cartographers that look to be on the hunt for this map as well.

This has elements that I would like in a mystery novel, but it fell short for me. I had to DNF it after 170 pages. I don’t think the subject matter was interesting enough for me to want to see about the map and what secrets it may have held. I have read other books where maps are the key to finding treasures and secret locations of resistance forces and the like. So I had hopes that this would make a turn for me. Even the changes in POV for the glimpses into the past was fun and the audiobook had different voice actors reading the parts which is an element that I love when reading/listening, but this was just a bit boring for me. The relationship between Nell and her father was interesting but her dislike of him and how he ruined her career and that of her friend didn’t pull me in enough for this almost redemption vibe she was having trying to do with her career and lightweight show him she was right from the jump. Again, it wasn’t enough for me to continue. Maybe next time.

I think if you are someone who is interested in maps, the history of maps and the friendships made in college and the connections ppl share with a sprinkling of magical realism this is for you. I thought it was well written and this was my first Peng Shepherd book but she has captured my attention and I will keep a lookout for her name and next book.

2 people found this helpful

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Mediocre at best. Narrators were good.

I'm a fan of old maps. And a fan of books like the Midnight Circus, and hoped this would be in a similar vein. So, I was pretty excited about this going in. But, the characters are one dimensional, and it's pretty inconceivable that a group of friends went from living and working together for close to a decade, to never speaking to each other for over 25 years. And in that process, all of them (except the father) abandoning a two yr old child that they all loved as family. And while the father stayed in the girls life, he was barely there. (How is this character not seriously messed up, and in therapy? Talk about abandonment issues).
And there is a problem with the "Magic" within the maps. Such a lame concept. If mistakes in a map can suddenly become real, including one hand drawn on a business card, then I guess any hand drawn anything can become real? No special process, paper, ink, magical incantation. Nope. Any person can draw anything into existence. And THESE characters are the first in all the history of humanity to stumble upon it.

1 person found this helpful

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Could be better

It's a great idea for a story, but many of the character interactions and dialog don't really ring true

1 person found this helpful

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Beautifully written and somewhat flawed

This author’s voice is amazingly beautiful. The concept here is so intriguing. But this book feels like it needed a much more brutal editor. The action wasn’t well paced. The flashback scenes were awkwardly detailed and written with incongruous language considering the supposed audience and 25 years that had passed. I made the villain quite early on and no amount of yelling at the book got the characters to do the same. I didn’t really like the familial mystery or resolution, didn’t find it believable or the consequence high stakes enough to justify the plot - even in this book about magical realism. I would love to see a well edited version of this story.

1 person found this helpful

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Disappointed

The final explanation for the central mystery was simplistic and unbelievable. Many characters are sympathetic, but I rarely understood their motivations. The author should have provided at least a bit of real history of cartography or some example of what map scholars care about.

1 person found this helpful

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Tedious

Imaginative and interesting but too much repetition in the story presentation which results in a tedious reading

1 person found this helpful

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Great premise but ultimately a letdown

Started out great but the plot was disappointing. Narration felt like it was a kid’s book.

1 person found this helpful