Sunday, March 3, 2013

"The Mapmaker's War"

Ronlyn Domingue is the author of the newly released The Mapmaker’s War. Its sequel, The Chronicle of Secret Riven, is forthcoming in 2014. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Mercy of Thin Air, was published in ten languages. Her writing has appeared in The Beautiful Anthology (TNB Books), New England Review, The Independent (UK), and Shambhala Sun, as well as on and The Nervous Breakdown. Born and raised in the Deep South, she lives there still with her partner, Todd Bourque, and their cats.

Domingue applied the Page 69 Test to The Mapmaker’s War and reported the following:
Set in an ancient time in a faraway land, The Mapmaker’s War is the tale of an exiled mapmaker who must come to terms with the home and children she was forced to leave behind. It’s written in the spirit of old legends but different from them because the subject tells her own story of her life and deeds. This is Aoife’s (pronounced ee-fah) autobiography.

Page 69 is a perfect example of the book’s style, tone, and themes. Aoife uses a terse, declarative voice and an inquisitive second-person point of view to reveal her past. The tone is serious, which one would expect of an epic tale. Throughout the novel, there are explorations of good vs. evil, reality vs. perception, and Masculine vs. Feminine gender roles, and these themes are present, yet subtle, in this excerpt. Also, in her writing, Aoife occasionally prompts herself with the refrain “tell the truth.” Here, she does just that—an act of conscience made despite the consequences she’ll soon face.

From Page 69:
You felt dozens of questions tangle in your throat. Instead of speaking, you followed the Interpreter to a guest room in the building where you had the first visit. You smelled pine. There was a clay vase filled with evergreen sprigs and dried flowers on a low table. Next to it was a wide bed on the floor. No crib was in the room. A young man and a young woman arrived with food and drink. They also took the twins. The children had been fussy most of the day. Each sighed as they lay their tiny heads on the young people’s shoulders.

The Interpreter escorted you to the same place where you’d met the elders during your first visit. Inside were nine people. Five women, four men. Two were the ones you had met before. You told them all you could. The tale of the former cook, the quest, the hoard, the scale, what Raef wished to instigate. You believed the people of the settlement meant no harm. You wanted to warn them of the misunderstanding. The danger.

They asked questions. Why do you believe this may occur? What do you think they hope to gain? What if you are mistaken? What if you are not? What might do they possess?

You answered as truthfully as you were able. They thanked you for bringing the matter to their attention. They weren’t surprised that you had gone to find the truth about the dragon and its treasure. Such curiosity is reasonable, said an elder woman. They all nodded. One man winked, one eye, then the other. You hadn’t seen the creature, but you sensed it. The shadow of doubt was not quite so long.
Learn more about the book and author at Ronlyn Domingue's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue