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Independent Press Award

2024 Distinguished Favorite

The Map Colorist: A Novel

Rebecca D'Harlingue

In 1660, Amsterdam is the trading and map-printing capital of the world. Anneke van Brug is one of the colorists paid to enhance black-and-white maps for a growing number of collectors. Her artistic talent brings her to the attention of the Blaeu printing house, and she begins to color for a rich merchant, Willem de Groot. But Anneke is not content to simply embellish the work of others; she longs to create maps of her own. Cartography, however, is the domain of men—so it is in secret that she borrows the notes her father made on a trip to Africa in 1642 and sets about designing a new map.Anneke hopes to convince the charismatic de Groot to use his influence to persuade Blaeu to include her map in the Atlas Maior, which will be the largest and most expensive publication of the century. But family secrets, infidelity, and murder endanger her dream. Will her map withstand these threats, or will it be forever lost?

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