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.)
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.”
“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 entwines genres to cast a spell upon its reader.... A curious, thought-provoking story about how the heart’s terrain bears charting, too.”
“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 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.”
“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.”
“A fun read for fantasy lovers.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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!”
“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.
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.