by Shepherd, Peng

When her estranged father is found dead with a seemingly worthless map hidden in his desk, cartographer Nell Young soon discovers the map is extremely valuable-and that a mysterious collector will stop at nothing to destroy it and anyone who gets in theway.

Nell Young, whose mother died when she was a toddler, is thrilled to be working with her esteemed, if notoriously difficult, father in the Map Division of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. But when she discovers several valuable maps in a cache with a commonplace 1930 highway map of New York State, her father inexplicably becomes enraged, ruthlessly destroying her career and that of her boyfriend, Felix. After seven anguished years of estrangement from both men, Nell is summoned to the library where her father has been found dead at his desk. Shocked to find the highway map hidden where only she would find it, Nell embarks on what becomes an exceedingly mysterious, complexly dangerous investigation, reluctantly joined by Felix, who now works for a mega-high-tech corporation. Shepherd's second cleverly imagined novel after The Book of M (2018) turns our perception of maps upside-down. With an elaborately realized plot, fanatic cartographers, maps with surreal powers generated by phantom settlements (intentional errors), and many-faceted suspense, Shepherd contrasts science and art, obsession and love in a bedazzling metaphysical tale of lost and found. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

A disgraced cartographer unravels a 30-year-old family secret hidden within the folds of a 20th-century gas-station highway map. Seven years after Nell Young and her ex-boyfriend Felix were publicly shamed and fired from the New York Public Library's Map Division-by none other than her own father, Daniel-following what she thinks of as the Junk Box Incident, Nell has settled for "adding flourish" onto printed replicas of maps at a store in Crown Heights. After she discovered a box of rare 18th-century maps and one doodled-on 1930s highway map in the library's basement, her father declared them worthless fakes and inexplicably got so mad at her for disagreeing with him that he had her fired; they haven't spoken a word since. Practically cartography royalty (Nell's late mother was a visionary in the field, and her father is the senior curator for the NYPL's main branch), Nell lost more than her reputation when she lost her internship at the library. Unlike Felix, who was immediately hired by the elusive William Haberson of the logistics and navigation company Haberson Global, Nell's had to scrape the bottom of the barrel for cartography jobs. But when Daniel is found dead at his desk with that very same highway map in a secret drawer, Nell begins to wonder if the map hides more than meets the eye. When she decides to do her own research, she uncovers an implausible relation between the map and her parents and soon learns of a competitive, dangerous group known as "the Cartographers" who are willing to pay-or kill-for the only copy left in existence. Shepherd plots page-turning twists and revelations with ease and excels in her knowledge of historical maps and cartographical mysteries. The inclusion of map diagrams and detailed flashbacks carry the reader right alongside Nell as she attempts to disentangle an increasingly complex, slightly supernatural secret. In an author's note, Shepherd promises that "something magical happens" when a person follows a map that lies, and this book will make you believe it. A highly inventive novel that pushes the boundaries of reality. Copyright Kirkus 2022 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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