The idea of a novel built around the hidden secrets contained in maps was catnip to me when I first read about this book. It’s a variation on the Dan Brown – style archaeological porn that I used to love to read, but weaves in enough urban fantasy to give it interest from that angle as well.
The story is an interesting one, but I quickly got the many similar characters mixed up, which kept me from getting as engaged in the story as I should have. The writing was also distracting, since most of the book is told in the form of narratives of events long past, but which contained such detail that they simply weren’t plausible as the “here’s what we did with your parents in college 25 years ago”. The work presented as flashbacks, but as real-time exposition, and the distinction kept being a distraction to me.
One other thing that I felt was a distraction was that a plot device was used twice. The story is that of a group of college friends, and it was I thought a very effective plot device when one of the current characters turned out to have been within that group, which the protagonist didn’t know. Then a few chapters later, another major character is revealed as having been one as well, which no one knew. It was clever the first time. It was just too convenient the second time.
Anyway, it’s a good story, and I enjoyed the book, but I think it enjoyed narrative a bit too much, at the expense of plausibility. I think the underlying story could have been told a bit more realistically.