The Mapmaker's Wife by Robert Whitaker
A True Tale Of Love, Murder, And Survival In The Amazon

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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 third-Jean Godin-nearly 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."

About Robert Whitaker

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Robert Whitaker is a science journalist and the author, most recently, of Mad in America. He has won the George Polk Award for Medical Writing and a National Association of Science Writers' Award for best magazine article. He was a finalist for the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, considered journalism's top prize. He has also published more than twenty short stories in literary magazines such as the Indiana Review, Black Warrior Review, Florida Review, and Columbia: A Magazine of Poetry and Prose. His long fascination with South America began in the late 1970s, when he built and lived in a bamboo hut on the Ecuadorian coast. He now lives and writes in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Published January 1, 2005 by Delta / Dell Publishing. 368 pages
Genres: History, Nature & Wildlife, Travel, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Biographies & Memoirs, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Science journalist Whitaker (Mad in America, 2002, etc.) begins in 1769, when Isabel Godin took her first steps on a journey down the Amazon River to meet husband Jean, who some two decades earlier had been one of a group of French scientists seeking to determine the exact shape of the Earth by m...

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The New York Times

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Jean's convoluted plan to get his family safely to France involved traveling down the entire length of the Amazon to scout the route, returning back up the river to fetch Isabel and their child, and ferrying everyone down to the coast once more -- a journey, as Whitaker notes, of at least 10,000 ...

May 23 2004 | Read Full Review of The Mapmaker's Wife: A True T...

Publishers Weekly

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As was customary for girls from elite families in 18th-century colonial Peru, Isabel Gramesón was barely a teenager when she married Jean Godin, a Frenchman visiting the territory as an assistant on a scientific expedition.

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Entertainment Weekly

In the first chapter of this disappointing book, science journalist Whitaker promises an exhilarating adventure: One Sunday afternoon in 18th-century Peru, wealthy, willful small-town society matron Isabel Godin set off to trek thousands of miles through the Amazon jungle to reunite with her ...

Apr 16 2004 | Read Full Review of The Mapmaker's Wife: A True T...

The Moderate Voice

But the book’s “Amazon” is is not today’s Amazon jungle, “El Oriente.” It is the Amazon jungle and my native country of Ecuador as they existed during the mid-eighteenth century, when Ecuador was still part of the Viceroyalty of Perú.

Mar 03 2009 | Read Full Review of The Mapmaker's Wife: A True T...

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