The Mapmaker's War (Keeper of Tales Trilogy #1)

The Mapmaker's War (Keeper of Tales Trilogy #1)

4.7 8
by Ronlyn Domingue

View All Available Formats & Editions

From the critically acclaimed author of The Mercy of Thin Air comes the profound story of a strong, resilient woman who risks everything to be true to herself, “an otherworldly tale that charts the all-too-human territory between heartbreak and hope” (Deborah Harkness, New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches

…  See more details below


From the critically acclaimed author of The Mercy of Thin Air comes the profound story of a strong, resilient woman who risks everything to be true to herself, “an otherworldly tale that charts the all-too-human territory between heartbreak and hope” (Deborah Harkness, New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night).

In an ancient time, in a faraway land, a young woman named Aoife is allowed a rare apprenticeship to become her kingdom’s mapmaker, tasked with charting the entire domain. Traveling beyond its borders, she finds a secretive people who live in peace, among great wealth. They claim to protect a mythic treasure, one connected to the creation of the world. When Aoife reports their existence to her kingdom, the community is targeted as a threat. Aoife is exiled for treason and finds refuge among the very people who had been declared her enemy. With them, she begins a new life surrounded by kindness, equality, and cooperation. But within herself, Aoife has no peace. She cannot share the grief she feels for the home and children she left behind, nor can she bear the warrior scars of the man she comes to love. And when she gives birth to their gifted daughter, Aoife cannot avoid what the child forces her to confront about her past and its truth. On this most important of journeys, there is no map to guide her.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

“Domingue deftly explores themes of motherhood, gender equality, and the powerful ties that bind us to our roots, while at the same time mesmerizing the reader with the story of a mythical land struggling to protect itself from the greed and jealousy of the slowly encroaching outside world.”
Carolyn Turgeon
“What a stunning, original book this is—restrained and sensual, cerebral and lush, always blazingly intelligent, epic and expansive, yet filled with the most precisely and lovingly observed details. This is one of the best books I've read in years. Reminiscent of Margaret Atwood's best work and yet wholly its own, The Mapmaker’s War evokes one of its heroine’s fantastic, world-defining maps: giving lines to human landscapes as old as myth, seemingly for the first time. You won’t be able to put this book down, and it will take you somewhere you've never been, leaving you transformed.”
Deborah Harkness
“Journey to the heart of a fairy-tale land with doomed queens, epic quests, and enemy kingdoms in The Mapmaker’s War. Ronlyn Domingue’s jewel of a book has a big canvas, memorable characters, and intimate storytelling. You will be swept away by this otherworldly tale that charts the all-too-human territory between heartbreak and hope.”
M.J. Rose
The Mapmaker's War is an extraordinary tale of a woman's courage in an ancient Utopian world. Domingue has taken on the herculean task of inventing a new legend, and the result is a remarkable novel at once absorbing and heart wrenching, but above all mesmerizing!”
Ava Leavell Haymon
The Mapmaker's War evokes not mere fantasy, but the real magic I found as a child, reading by flashlight under a blanket. As then, the story takes me by the hand to exotic lands and noble people. As it proceeds, I'm reminded of myself as a teen-age girl, chafing under the restrictions of an established order. Further on, I'm lead into adulthood. The story keeps me under its spell, but it fills with adult contradictions, with experiences of betrayal and regret, with sex and self-knowledge, with the reality of evil, and all the while, yes, the same old magic. But the magic has matured, now, redeemed by love and wisdom.”
River Jordan
“With an original voice, Ronlyn Domingue takes us into a land of strange truths and raw beauty. Writing against contemporary norms, she dares to forge into new territory even as she takes us into an ancient world. To the place of a red dragon and warm desire. A world full of love, and hate, and recompense. Domingue has a rare eye for the honest word and a heart willing to travel where the story leads. The Mapmaker’s War offers us the chance to reflect on both our sins and saving graces and to believe in the possibility of a future that holds kindness and understanding as key. This novel is a celebration of brave women and men, of expansive vision, and ultimately, of a humanity not easily denied.”
Publishers Weekly
Domingue (The Mercy of Thin Air) spices up a threadbare fantasy plot with well-timed twists and a unique second-person narrator. In an ancient unnamed kingdom, Aoife is a young female mapmaker in favor with the king and his son, Wyl. Tasked with charting unknown lands, Aoife discovers a kingdom of peace and prosperity—and rumors of great treasure. Wyl is commissioned to bring back proof of the dragon who supposedly guards the treasure. Unbeknownst to Wyl, Aoife follows. Together they find the treasure and consummate their love. Aoife returns pregnant and betrothed to Wyl, but news of the treasure overshadows their scandalous engagement. When Wyl is later crowned king, his greedy brother brings the two kingdoms to the brink of war. Aoife attempts to warn the other kingdom, but is found out and exiled without her daughter. With no alternative, she goes to live with the Guardians. Tormented by the thought she’s to blame for everything, Aoife attempts to start anew, searching for peace and her place in the world. Although the second-person voice takes some time getting used to, this is a fun read for fantasy lovers. Agent: Jillian Manus, Manus & Associates. (Mar.)
New York Journal of Books
“Beautifully capturing the tone and voice of a classically told tale, Ronlyn Domingue crafts a deeply intelligent, richly enhanced tale of magic, power, greed, and the infinite resilience of the human heart.”
The Advocate
“The book is reminiscent of some Edwardian novels in its emphasis on class and women’s issues. Its mysticism and naturalism also recall the classic Green Mansions, published during that period. If you give Domingue’s book a chance, it’ll entrance you.”
Monroe News Star
“Domingue follows up this success with The Mapmaker's War, another bold and innovative tale of a woman fighting for her place, told by second-person narrative.”
Library Journal
A headstrong, heart-strong young woman takes a long, convoluted hero's journey in Domingue's second novel (after The Mercy of Thin Air). As a girl living in a faraway realm, Aoife knows two things: that she has a talent for making maps and that she is an adventurer who will not allow her life to be constrained by the bonds of marriage and family. Her close relationship with the king's son, Prince Wyl, allows her the freedom she desires, yet she ventures too far and jeopardizes the lives of others along the way. Aoife claims to love those around her, but their welfare seems to mean little to her. Is her quest meant to carry out some critical historical purpose, or is it simply an exercise in self-interest? VERDICT This mythic allegory functions as Aoife's autobiography as told to herself (it is addressed in the second person throughout)—perhaps from beyond the grave. Just as Aoife takes her ideas of freedom to the edge, Domingue takes risks with an unusual narrative style and a main character who is somewhat difficult to embrace. Avid readers of heroic fantasy may be the primary audience here. [See Prepub Alert, 10/1/12.]—Susanne Wells, Indianapolis, IN
Kirkus Reviews
A map can make sense out of the seen world. But it can also evoke greed. And what of a map of the heart? Legend, allegory, fantasy--this second novel by Domingue (The Mercy of Thin Air, 2005) entwines genres to cast a spell upon its reader. In a faraway realm, a king is eager to know the lay of the land. Our heroine, Aoife, yearning to be free of the restrictions set on women and manipulating Prince Wyl's affection for her, secures training as a mapmaker. Charged with mapping domains beyond the kingdom's borders, Aoife discovers a remarkable Utopia. With streets paved in gold and rumors of a treasure guarded by a dragon, these people live peaceably. Aoife instinctively tries to protect them by revealing little when she returns home, but the truth comes out. Soon, Wyl's cruel and covetous brother, Raef, plots to conquer the peaceable community and gain their treasures. Forced into exile, Aoife must leave Wyl and their children. She seeks shelter within the Utopia, where she finds kindness, compassion and even love. Domingue's tale is filled with the fantastical and magical, including Voices, women of the Utopian society who intuitively understand all languages and experience all memories. Guilt-stricken for having brought war upon the community, however, Aoife will not find peace within herself until she confesses the whole of her past to a witness. A warrior once renowned for never having deliberately killed, Leit returns to the peaceful community scarred physically and emotionally. In bearing witness to each other, Aoife and Leit find a measure of tranquility. Told in the second person (which reads awkwardly at times), the novel forces the reader into the role of witness, too, as Aoife recounts her life with frequent admonitions to "tell the truth." A curious, thought-provoking story about how the heart's terrain bears charting, too.

Read More

Product Details

Washington Square Press
Publication date:
Keeper of Tales Trilogy Series, #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Ronlyn Domingue is the author of The Chronicle of Secret Riven, The Mapmaker’s War, and The Mercy of Thin Air, which was published in ten languages. Her essays and short stories have appeared in several print and online publications, including New England Review, Shambhala Sun, and The Nervous Breakdown. Connect with her on, Facebook, and Twitter.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >