The Mapmaker's War, Ronlyn Domingue, Atria Books, 2013, 223 pp
Amazing! Another woman who can write and who tackles the conflicts inherent in being female with wisdom as well as a wry humor. The mapmaker is female and defies conventional roles for women. In her young years she manages to get pregnant by the Prince of her kingdom, impress him enough to get him to marry her, and unwittingly start a war between her kingdom and a peaceful neighboring people.
She pays dearly for her adventurous ways and lives a conflicted life. In this book, the first of a trilogy, she looks back over her life from the vantage point of an old woman. Despite loss and sorrow, she does not regret her past but only seeks to understand how she ended up with the life she has.
Though the book must be labeled fantasy, it is so much more. The time span gives it the feel of historical fiction and the intrigues provide plenty of adventure. Running beneath all this, like an underground river, is the clear intelligence of Ronlyn Domingue whose perception of humanity, male or female, old or young, is visionary. I know that sounds over the top but I have no other explanation for the impact The Mapmaker's War had on me.
This book is not for grumpy cynics or doomsayers, it is not for those who prefer the status quo and believe in puritanical, patriarchal, warlike societies. It is for dreamers of what mankind could be, believers in magic, kindness, equality, cooperation, and a joyful sensuality.
The second book, The Chronicle of Secret Riven, has just been released. Can't wait to read it.
(The Mapmaker's War is available in various formats by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)