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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


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Terrell, Heather: The Map Thief

  Amazon  

3.5 stars

In The Map Thief, Heather Terrell tells three related stories. Mara Coyne, the protagonist of the book's principal story, is hired in the present by a Republican kingmaker to find a priceless 15th-century map that's been stolen from an archaeological dig in China. What her client doesn't tell her is that the map offers shocking evidence that could re-write the history of the European Age of Discovery. Terrell also tells the story of the eunuch Ma Zhi, who accompanied a Chinese naval expedition west in the 1420s and subsequently created the map Mara is searching for. Finally, there is the story of another navigator, Antonio Coehlo, who used the map while sailing with Vasco da Gama in the 1490s.

Terrell's book should be a great read. It's got a lot going for it: an inherently interesting story that spans continents and centuries, an ancient secret whose revelation could cause a storm in the modern world, a pair of protagonists who could wind up having more than a professional relationship. If you're thinking that the book sounds something like The DaVinci Code, you're right: added to the above similarities is the fact that there is a lot of attention given to iconography and imagery in The Map Thief. Unfortunately, that's where the similarities end. Because while The DaVinci Code--whatever its detractors say--is a thrilling read, The Map Thief is utterly lacking in suspense. There are two other substantial problems with the book. Most importantly, the characters are uninteresting (with the exception of Ma Zhi, who is the most compelling): Mara's fate--whether she finds the map or not, hooks up with the archaeologist she's teamed with or not, or is plugged by one of the Chinese mobsters she runs across--is of no interest at all. In addition, the book often gets bogged down in boring details, descriptions of imagery and architecture that, usually, are not relevant to the story. A disappointing book, given its initial promise.

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