Ooh: Maps!

I love maps. I’m always thrilled to have the excuse of a story that just NEEDS a map at the front (because honest, nobody knows what India looks like, or England, so we have to put one in there, right?)

Anyway, when I was in London in May, I was headed to the Victoria & Albert to look at Victorian underwear (well, outerwear too) and because sometimes it’s easier to take one line on the Underground than hassle with changing lines in the stations, I was walking a fairly meandering route through the streets when I passed a store with…

Maps. And more than maps: the most gorgeously delectable and intricately decorated map these eyes have ever set upon.

The Map House, in collaboration with the V&A, handed over an 1816 map of London to an Icelandic artist, who did this:

Here’s a detail:IMG_1055

Isn’t it just mouth-watering? Her name is  Kristjana S. Williams, and if I had endless boodle, I’d cover my walls in her wallpaperd7058a_9344ced094c547dab45ff95240010007.png_srb_p_400_400_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_png_srb

And my sofa with her pillows.d7058a_2541224b138b41d59fee23cfec6394b8.png_srb_p_400_400_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_png_srb

Though in the meantime, at least I have her map.

(Hmm. You think people would pay a couple dollars extra for a novel with a color print map in the front…?)

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  1. Deanne on July 20, 2015 at 6:20 am

    Yes I would pay extra, especially if it was a fold out one.

  2. Merrily Taylor on July 20, 2015 at 6:28 am

    I would TOTALLY pay a little more to see a beautiful map in your book, Laurie. How about one on the end papers?

  3. Lynn Hirshman on July 20, 2015 at 6:53 am

    Yes, indeed! I LOVE maps, and long for detailed ones in nearly any book I buy.

  4. Kelly Windus on July 20, 2015 at 7:07 am

    Yes, a map please! They do make a book; I thoroughly enjoyed the one you included in The Game. Another sweet extra are the chapter headings ( quotes … At a loss for the term for them) in A Montstrous Regiment of Women and The Moor …

  5. Chris on July 20, 2015 at 7:24 am

    Truly beautiful. And next time you’re in Edinburgh (we want you back, Laurie!), I’ll show you to the Carson Clark Gallery. Maps galore!

  6. Mary McNamara on July 20, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Dear Laurie,
    I love a book with a map, especially in a story with lots of wandering through streets and backroads. And speaking of such, we were neighbors when you lived in Corralitos. My place is at the intersection of Brown’s Valley and Hazel Dell. Bet you don’t need a map for that!

    • Laurie King on July 20, 2015 at 8:01 am

      Howdy, ex-neighbor!

  7. Deborah on July 20, 2015 at 8:58 am

    I love maps, too. I can look at them for hours. I always thoroughly study a map included in a book. Otherwise, how will I know where I am as I become the characters? A map at the front convinced me to read a children’s book I saw at the library several years ago. The story was set in a small village. A part of the map showed a cemetery near the Methodist Church. It was labeled “Dead Methodists”. I knew any author that has that kind of sense of humor has produced a book I ought to read. And it was delightful. Thank you for your notes, Laurie.

  8. Diane Hendricksen on July 20, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Yes, yes, yes to the map. I love maps, too. I especially love old maps that show the way things were then.

  9. Bill Gottfried on July 20, 2015 at 10:00 am

    We shopped at that store also on our trip to V & A–wonderful experience. And maps in books are critical, vital and lots of fun–along with list of characters if complex and at times, a glossary. The more the merrier.

  10. Elizabeth Ryan on July 20, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Ohh, yess, will pay money for maps. The best thing about the quality printings of Lord of The Rings were the maps pasted inside the covers.
    And, this has just reminded me of one of my favorite short stories and an ode to wonderful exotic maps, The Island of The Mapmakers Wife, by Marilyn Sides.

  11. k on July 20, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Constantly refer back and forth to any maps in your books. Colors are nice, though less important than details, e.g. couldn’t enjoy Tolkien without the maps.

  12. ClaireJ on July 20, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Maps! How I love them! As a retired librarian, they still fascinate me. Yes please, a fold-out map in the next book would be an enhancement.

  13. Hwelen Martin on July 20, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Wish I’d seen that shop when I walked to the V&A, guess I came on a different line. Yes, absolutely to the map, even if it ups the price. Yes, maps improve a book: The Moor, The Game, Garment of Shadows and the map of the plane’s flight to the northern Isles. Having a geographer in the house is an encourager but maps provide context. (Loved the Dead Methodists in the note above and must pass it on to my genealogist friend.)

  14. Linda Hay on July 20, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    What an inspiration! I have quite a collection of “trip maps” picked up over the years from various trips (mainly walking). I see possible ways to blend “artifacts” with them and some my own art work. Yummy idea.

    South Downs Way … pressed flowers, a shard of flint, wool plucked from a barbed wire fence, photos and sketches.

    And I’m headed to London is Sept. , so thanks for inspiration, I love map stores! Thinking about a home made London Map of Russell and Holmes sites … and so forth.

  15. Tammy Albee on July 20, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Yes to maps! Best part of many of my books! 🙂 Color or lovely line drawing ok by me!

  16. Kate Martino on July 21, 2015 at 4:57 am

    Most definitely! A map helps spur the imagination into visualizing the story’s setting! I would most definitely purchase a book with a built in or fold in map! But I do so love the current cover already! Can’t we have both?!

  17. Wendy martin on July 21, 2015 at 7:59 am

    You are SUCH a tease! YES! I love maps. Especially those drawn by someone with an artists gift.

  18. Susan D on July 23, 2015 at 8:07 am

    Oh I LOVE maps. I love maps in books and out of books.

    I think you can find a reason to put a map into ANY book, whether it’s the village square or the subcontinent.

    Remember those wonderful old Dell Mapbacks? (Just Google images thereof and enjoy the riches.) I have a Dell copy of Now Voyager, showing fully half the world (just in case) with all the points of interest highlighted: Boston, New York, Alexandria, Cap d’Antibes….

    You know where you are with a map.

  19. Beth on July 23, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    hey it worked for Dan Brown, Kim Harrison, etc… most of us who like a Holmes type of read, like Maps, and pictures of clues and art, etc. I do believe. 🙂

  20. Pamela on July 24, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Maps are a major weakness of mine; older maps are virtual time machines. My local library was recycling some 1950-1990 Michelin maps that had been donated, so I rescued them from the bin and brought them home. Instead of including maps in each book, how about a standalone volume: ‘Maps of Mary Russell’? That way your publisher wouldn’t have kittens trying to insert them, and readers could get foldout, double sided gems to gloat over.

  21. Lorelei on July 25, 2015 at 12:12 am

    Oh I love maps and yours is a beauty! I think maps should be artful and full of color and hung on walls to be studied and admired.

  22. Patricia A. McKnight on July 28, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Absolutely – I, too, love maps. I suppose that the foldout map as proposed by many (above) would be terribly expensive to include in the book, but it would most certainly be fun – either that, or a pocket in the back with a map folded up in it. What a great idea!

  23. David Stong on September 22, 2015 at 3:26 am

    Pay extra? For a map in the end papers? Never. But I wouldn’t buy a book that didn’t have one. [smile]

  24. Frances Hall on September 23, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Yes! A color map please, I would pay more for that. I love maps, even in this age of gps’ there is nothing like a map. You need to know what is just out of your path in the event it might be worth an adventure. I also love the “blue line” highways, those that might add 15 minutes to your trip, but it’s worth it because you might miss something along the way that would never occur to you to stop if you are on the interstate. So yes please, a map.

  25. Kath on December 19, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    When I was reading The Moor I downloaded the 1906 (?) ordinance survey maps and used them to follow Russell and Holmes as they wandered around the Moor. Lots of fun! Had to tape 4 or 5 of them together to get the whole thing. I just wish there were maps for Jerusalem showing the underground tunnels and aqueducts but I suspect that due to the political tensions that still boil in the Mid-East they don’t want too much detail. I noticed that the satellite images are blurred, as well.

    • Laurie King on May 5, 2021 at 12:41 am

      Aren’t OS maps fabulous?
      And yes, it would be good to have one of Jerusalem, though as you say, security.

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