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

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

4.7 8
by Ronlyn Domingue

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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


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.

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.

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 internationally published author of The Mercy of Thin Air and the Keeper of Tales Trilogy—The Mapmaker’s War, The Chronicle of Secret Riven, and The Plague Diaries. 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 RonlynDomingue.com, Facebook, and Twitter.

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The Mapmaker's War: A Novel 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
Once upon a time…how many times in the past does a reader enter a tale where a person battles evil and wins peace and happiness for a very long time? Despite the stark realities that age imposes about how much goodness and evil humans can foster, a part of us subconsciously dares to dream of a Utopian existence, a Shangri-La, a fantasy yes but all the more sweeter for the dream! Aoife is our heroine in this wonderful tale. Although girls and women have their affixed roles in the home, Aoife is allowed to develop her significant skills as a mapmaker. First she charts the local area and then after being mentored and trained travels afar, loving her unique job and yet always aware that her good fortune exists because of the gracious will of her King. Her life is about to undergo a whirlwind change when she inadvertently comes upon a magic village where a dragon and people with special powers live. A huge treasure pile stuns her and she quickly realizes what other greedy people would do for such a bounty. What most impresses her, however, is the sense of total peace these people emanate and she absorbs. Her desire to stay is intense but she knows her duty. The challenge in this tale as in all stories of real life is the fall Aoife experiences when her lover, Prince Wyl, becomes King and allows his brother to twist his mind regarding the land Aoife found. This will cause a horrendous war that brings unbearable suffering to the members of the peaceful town, especially their Warriors. Because Aoife has told her King about this land and mapped the way to its borders, she feels responsible; remapping with a deceptive path changes little. She will suffer dire consequences, leave and return to that other place for the rest of her life where she will come to understand how gifted these people are, trained to handle all that would poison a healthy and whole lifestyle, and establish oh so loving relationships that will delight the reader. She will re-learn what it is to be a fully present wife, mother and community member in a fully-functioning cooperative society. The Mapmaker’s War is a lovely tale in which this talented author inserts tension and conflict in all the right places, as well as including some amazing unique scenes that will enthrall the reader. Superb story and this reviewer so looks forward to the sequel in this classic fantasy tale!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it! As a school librarian I read a lot of young adult literature. Mapmaker's has definite cross over appeal.  I couldn't put it down and knew when I finished it I would read it again. The characters are strong and the message powerful.  Mapmaker's is unlike any book that I have read. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ronlyn Domingue's lyrical, moving second novel about Aoife, the world's first female mapmaker, is the fantasy novel to watch this spring. There is so much to love: Domingue's eerie and beautiful voice, Aoife's strong and difficult character, and the world of the novel, which is at once strange and familiar as the world of legend and myth. I found myself entranced, spellbound, and read the whole thing in under twenty-four hours in moments stolen from family and friends. It's almost as if the novel is being sung to you. Get this book--it belongs on the shelf with Margaret Atwood and Ursula Le Guin. - Mary McMyne
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
MY THOUGHTS: THE MAPMAKER’S WAR:A LEGEND BY Ronlyn Domingue is an interesting Fantasy/Myths/Folk Tales set in an Ancient time,in a land far away. This was a difficult book for me to read, but with that said it also was an interesting read once you got started. It is an autobiography of a mapmaker named Aoife from a faraway land. An adventure of love,loss,the human spirit,a mythic treasure,and one woman’s courage to do the unexpected. An interesting tale of the human spirit,love,Asian legends, hope and human’s redemptive spirit. If you enjoy Asian legends,mystic treasure,adventure,fantasy,faraway lands,and the magic of legends,then “The Mapmaker’s War” is a title for you to read. An interesting read. Received for an honest review from the publisher. RATING: 4 HEAT RATING:Mild REVIEWED BY: AprilR, My Book Addiction Reviews
Nancy_TumblingBooks More than 1 year ago
The Mapmaker’s War was a book unlike any that I have read before. What struck me the most about this book was that it was written in the second person. I don’t think I’ve read a book written like that before. I’ll admit that it took some time to get used to the way it was written. It seemed strange at first and I just wasn’t accustomed to reading a book where the character seemed to be directly speaking to me, though she was actually speaking to herself. The Mapmaker’s War was actually Aoife’s autobiography. She wrote the story towards the end of her life, when she was old and finally got closure on the questions that had been plaguing her most of her life. The fact that the book was the main character’s autobiography was definitely refreshing. It was a unique twist to an already remarkably unparalleled story. The Mapmaker’s War was in no way an easy read for me. Like I said before, it took some getting used to the second person narrative. The writing style was also a bit confusing when I started reading, as conversations weren’t properly quoted and Aoife seemed to be talking to herself. I hadn’t picked up on the fact that this was her autobiography at the beginning, so I was pretty thrown off. Once I went back to read the book’s blurb again and finally understood that this was an autobiography, I was able to enjoy the book without feeling utterly confused. While I was reading this I noticed that, besides Aoife, I wasn’t focusing much on the other characters. What is a big deal-breaker for me when I read other books was actually a good thing in this situation. I liked all the characters, but they just weren’t important to me. All I wanted to know more about was Aoife and what was going on in her head. I really enjoyed that her autobiography really showed all of her internal struggles and how every decision impacted her life for better or worse. The other characters were secondary to what was going on with Aoife. Yes, they were important, but I just didn’t care for me as much as I cared for Aoife. I loved reading her story and that she was the one constant thing that remained throughout the book. People and places came and went during the course of her life, but she remained the same. It was interesting because I felt very attached to her, which I just wasn’t expecting when I started the book. I loved how her life story played out. It wasn’t all happiness and Aoife went through some tough times, so it was nice to see how it all worked out for her in the end. I also really liked the magical element in this book. At first it seemed out of place because I thought that this would be a straightforward real-world type of book. However, it was incorporated into the story in a way that wasn’t overpowering and didn’t take away the main points of Aoife’s story, so I didn’t mind. Overall, I thought that The Mapmaker’s War was fantastic. I loved that it was a unique book and that I probably won’t come across a book like this in a long, long time. Once I got used to the writing style it became much easier to understand and the story was just beautiful. It’s definitely a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading Domingue's first book, Mercy of Thin Air, I couldn't wait for her next book to come out.  Although completely different, Mapmaker's War did not disappoint!  I highly recommend reading it.  It's unlike anything I've read before.  
tristenM More than 1 year ago
Love Ronlyn and the way she creates another world to escape to. A truly unique story with complex characters.