Like her previous novel THE CHRYSALIS, this novel is also a parallel plot novel, or rather a triangular plot novel with three distinct time periods represented: the early 1400s, when the Chinese sent huge fleets of ships to map the world, the 1490s, when Vasco da Gama relied (secretly) on these maps to navigate all the way to India from Portugal, via the enormous journey around the African peninsula, and the present day when Mara Coyne is (yet again) on the loose looking for criminal activity in the art world.
Last time, it was the faked provenance of a painting. This time it is a stolen map. An ancient map from 1420s China showing the entire world which is snatched from right under the nose of the Chief Archaeologist who discovered it near the Silk Road in China.
And so Mara is called in to investigate this mystery. Naturally, what she uncovers doesn’t please most people. She manages to infuriate the Chinese authorities AND a Portuguese viscount. But, in the end, it is Mara who dishes out a Solomonic pronouncement on exactly who gets what. Five stars for an unputdownable novel.