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The Map Thief

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Beijing, China, 1421: It is a momentous time for the Ming Dynasty. Honoring the completion of the Forbidden City, a fleet of unprecedented size sets sail under Admiral Zheng He. Zheng’s mission is to chart the globe, trading for riches and bringing glory to China’s emperor. Among the crew is the talented cartographer and navigator Ma Zhi, whose work will lead to the first true map of the world–but whose accomplishment will vanish when the fleet returns to a very different China than the one it left.

Lisbon, Portugal, 1496: At the height of Portugal’s maritime domination during the Age of Discovery, the legendary explorer Vasco da Gama embarks on a quest to find a sea route to India. On board is navigator Antonio Coehlo, who guards Portugal’s most secret treasure: a map that already shows the way.

New York, present day: Mara Coyne’s new client has left her uneasy. Republican kingmaker Richard Tobias has hired her, he says, because of her skill in recovering stolen art and advocating for the rightful owners, but Mara senses that he is not telling her everything. Tobias reveals that a centuries-old map was stolen from an archaeological dig he is sponsoring in China, and he wants her to get it back. But as Mara begins her investigation, she uncovers the shocking truth: The map is more valuable than anyone has ever imagined, and her client’s motives are more sinister than she suspected.

Weaving rich historical detail and astounding fact into a fast-paced suspense-fiction ride, The Map Thief is an incredible entrée to the murky underworld of stolen artifacts and the thieves and traders who broker them. From Hong Kong to the Italian countryside, from Lisbon to the remote reaches of Communist China, and literally around the world on the ships of fifteenth-century explorers, Heather Terrell takes readers on a globe-trotting adventure of epic proportions.

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 28, 2008 – Attorney Terrell follows The Chrysalis with an uneven sequel that reprises art-sleuth heroine Mara Coyne and spans six centuries and five continents. Coyne, who specializes in recovering art with a controversial past, is hired by legendary conservative kingmaker Richard Tobias to find a rare Chinese map that has been stolen from an archeological dig. Dating from an expedition of Admiral Zheng He to circumnavigate the earth, it is the first map in history to accurately show the entire world and was smuggled into Europe after an isolationist emperor ordered all accounts of the expedition destroyed. The map found its way to Portugal, where explorer Vasco da Gama used it to discover a sea route to India. There are lots of people hoping to suppress the existence of such a map, and Mara and archeologist Ben Coleman play a potentially deadly game of cat-and-mouse against powerful and sinister forces as they try to locate it. The imaginative narrative shifts among Zheng's expedition, da Gama's historic voyage and Coyne's investigation, but unfortunately, Terrell slows the action with superfluous characters, awkward dialogue and languid prose.

Customer Reviews

Tense is awkward

This is a decent story but the writing needs to be tightened up. Sentences are loose and consecutive sentences can feel repetitive and a bit clumsy. Also, find it unnecessary and slightly confusing that the present day chapters are written in past tense, and the historical chapters are written in present tense. This seems like an attempt to be clever that actually works against its purpose.

The Map Thief
View in iTunes
  • $7.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Mysteries & Thrillers
  • Published: Jul 29, 2008
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 336 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings