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A Secret Atlas: Book One in The Age of Discovery Trilogy

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  • Posted March 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Secret Atlas

    What starts with a family and their unique talents, quickly twists and turns and dumps you into an alternate world filled with danger, mystique and challenges. The Anturasi family has a unique talent which keeps them close to the crown in their princedom. The history of this world, how the 9 princedoms came to be and where some of the main players would like to see it go, is very enjoyable. The cultures are part European, part Asian and a little American all mixed together. The different castes and where the characters are in the political realm helps keep the suspense moving. Some of the additional landscapes visited were a little to vague in description and left a strong desire to learn more of them. The main characters are developed beautifully, Keles, Nirati and Jorim Anturasi are each unique and intriguing in their own ways. I loved the travel, the use of magic in a realistic plane and the twists and turns the story leads you through. My only complaint and warning would be some of the murder scenes are very graphic. There are only two of them which are easy to avoid if wanted. Can't wait to pick up the next book in the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2007

    A good start to a promising series

    And now it is time for another book by my favorite author. This one is starting off a new trilogy. The setting is heroic fantasy, but with some differences. First, magic isn't as prevalent, or handled in the same way, as other popular fantasy series. Second, the political setting has many intentional similarities to Europe in the 'age of discovery' period of the late 14th through 16th centuries. Two of our main characters are part of a family of map makers, the most famous map makers in the world. This sounds rather boring, but the fact that new maps can only be drawn after people explore new areas of the world provides the key to get the adventures started. Of course, as a Stackpole story, the internal politics of the existing nations are enough to fill many volumes. Those of you who enjoy Machiavellian twists and turns among the rulers and their pawns will find much to enjoy here. I also like how there is an obvious bureaucracy that follows its own rules, which is a nice touch of realism while allowing for even more plot threads. The basic plot is that Keles and Jorim Anturasi, the grandsons of the world's most famous mapmaker, are sent on voyages to discover more of the world so their granfather can improve on his maps. While all of this is going on, there are significant political machinations between two of the main powers in the world, and the world may be in danger from even darker forces. This goes on for a good 500 pages or so. The last few chapters, however, really throw a spanner in the works, as there are a number of sudden changes to set up the next book. Overall, it was good and I enjoyed it, and I look forward to seeing where things go next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2007

    Not bad, but. . .

    The first fifty to 100 pages were difficult to read due to jargon invented by the author (Kirkus reviews is certainly right that a glossary is needed). The next 100 pages or so were readable, but not particularly exciting, and for a lot of it you feel as if you're waiting for something to start. The rest of the book (you're about 2/3 of the way through at that point) is reasonably good -- you've figured out the world a bit by that point, and it rolls along with some action. Another book I've read with a very slow start, but which handles it far better is the Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams. I had been hoping this would have some of the fruits of that work, but alas, it fell short in connecting the beginning and the end. The book does have some interesting characters in it, an interesting view on magic, and an interesting world which mirrors our own. Michael Stackpole does some very interesting and somewhat shocking things which other writers would simply not do. While it is a clever work in ways, I am still debating whether to spend any money on the rest of the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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