An adventure story and a love story set in the heart of the Amazonian jungle.
In the early years of the 18th century, a band of French scientists set off on a daring, decade-long expedition to South America in a race to measure the precise shape of the earth. Like Lewis and Clark's exploration of the American West, their incredible mission revealed the mysteries of a little-known continent to a world hungry for discovery. Scaling 16,000foot mountains in the Peruvian Andes, and braving jaguars, pumas, insects, and vampire bats in the jungle, the scientists barely completed their mission. One was murdered, another perished from fever, and a thirdJean Godinnearly died of heartbreak.
At the expedition's end, Jean and his Peruvian wife, Isabel Gramesón, became stranded at opposite ends of the Amazon, victims of a tangled web of international politics. Isabel's solo journey to reunite with Jean after their calamitous twenty-year separation was so dramatic that it left all of 18th-century Europe spellbound. Her survival--unprecedented in the annals of Amazon exploration--was a testament to human endurance, female resourcefulness, and the power of devotion.
Drawing on the original writings of the French mapmakers, as well as his own experience retracing Isabel's journey, acclaimed writer Robert Whitaker weaves a riveting tale rich in adventure, intrigue, and scientific achievement. Never before told, The Mapmaker's Wife is an epic love story that unfolds against the backdrop of "the greatest expedition the world has ever known."
A Sunday in 1769
Today the Ecuadorian village of Cajabamba, which is about 110 miles south of Quito, is a place of little note. The Andean town stretches for a mile or so along the Pan American Highway, and most of the activity in the village centers on the bus stop, where vendors are lined up selling a mix of fruit, corn-on-the-cob, soup, and roasted meats. Tourists passing this way, if armed with a particularly good guidebook, might pause just long enough to scan a hillside on the north side of town, searching for a scar left by the great earthquake of 1797, which sent a flow of mud down upon the adobe homes below and killed thousands. At that time, this was a very different place. More than 16,000 people lived here, and Riobamba--as it was then called--was one of the most graceful cities in colonial Peru, home to musicians, artists, and wealthy landowners. But after the earthquake, the survivors picked up and rebuilt their town thirteen miles to the northeast, and old ...
If you enjoyed Longitude and Latitude, you'll probably enjoy The Map Maker's Wife - but if you're looking for H. Rider Haggard adventure, look elsewhere! As always, you can form your own opinion by browsing for yourself. Read the first chapter at BookBrowse, which gives you a taste of the adventure to come, before turning to the 'back story' that forms most of the book and sets the scene for the great crossing described in the final pages.
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