The Map Thief

Written by Heather Terrell
Review by Rebecca Roberts

Terrell’s second novel far surpasses her mediocre first in this tale of mystery, suspense, and adventure. Chapters alter between three storylines, all interconnected by one very special map. Beijing, China, in 1421 is the setting for the story of a map maker, Ma Zhi, whose work will lead to the first true map of the world. A tale beginning in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1496 tells of Vasco da Gama’s voyage to find a sea route to India, and his navigator, Antonio Coehlo, who guards Portugal’s most secret treasure: a map that already shows the way.

Finally, in New York in the present day, it is Mara Coyne’s job to find a centuries-old map that was stolen from an archaeological dig her client was sponsoring in China. But as Mara begins her investigation, she realizes that the map is far more valuable than anyone has ever imagined and her client’s motives more sinister than she suspected.

Interweaving historical detail and suspense, this is a fine story about stolen artifacts and the thieves and traders who work with them. While the characters are easily forgettable, and her climax a little disappointing, the globetrotting adventure on which Terrell takes her readers moves the plot along and ends with a gratifying conclusion.