The Mapmaker's Wife

The Mapmaker's Wife

A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the Amazon

Book - 2004 | 1st ed.
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Baker & Taylor
Relates the eighteenth-century story of Jean Godin and his wife, Isabel, stranded at opposite ends of the Amazon River after Jean's epic exploration of South America, and describes Isabel's journey to reunite with her husband.

Perseus Publishing
An adventure story and a love story set in the heart of the Amazonian jungle

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."

Blackwell North Amer
At the heart of this sweeping tale of adventure, discovery and exploration is one woman's extraordinary journey, inspired by her love for a man she had not seen in 20 years. In 1769, Isabel Grameson - an upper-class Peruvian woman who had lived all her life close to home - set out across the Andes, and down the length of the Amazon in order to rejoin her husband in French Guiana. Her 3,000-mile trek through untamed wilderness was one that no woman (and few men) had made before.
Isabel's story unfolds against the first scientific expedition to the New World, which began in 1735, when a team of French mapmakers set out to answer the great scientific question of the day: What was the precise size and shape of the Earth?
Like Lewis and Clark's exploration of the American West, their incredible mission, which took the better part of ten years, revealed the mysteries of a little known continent to a world hungry for knowledge. The mapmakers recorded new plant and animal species and documented, for the first time, the brutal treatment of the native populations by Spanish and Portuguese colonists. Scaling the Peruvian Andes, they also faced untold danger - wild cats, voracious insects, poisonous snakes, vampire bats - while madness, disease, and death took their toll. However, one of the expedition members - the youngest, Jean Godin - fell in love with Isabel and in 1741, they were married.
As the expedition drew to a close, Jean planned to bring his wife and young family back to France. To ensure the way was open and safe, he traveled ahead, alone. But when he reached French Guiana, disaster struck, and he and Isabel found themselves stranded on opposite ends of the continent, victims of a tangled web of international politics.
Drawing on the original writings of the French mapmakers and Peruvian authorities, as well as his own retracing of Isabel's epic trek, Robert Whitaker weaves a tale rich in history, scientific achievement and romance.

& Taylor

When a tangled web of international politics in the eighteenth century leaves Isabel Grameson and her husband Jean Godin stranded at opposite ends of the Amazon River, Isabel makes a treacherous solo journey to reunite with her husband after twenty years of separation. 60,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Basic Books, c2004.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780738208084
Characteristics: xiv, 352 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm.

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Jan 15, 2016

Only book

Jun 04, 2014

This book was well-written and fascinating in terms of relations between the peoples who lived in South America- both natives and Europeans, and the governmental and scientific bureacracies of Spain and France in the late 1700's. With this as a backdrop, the story itself of the scientific explorers meticulously documenting their findings and Isabel's quest to rejoin her husband are riveting. Highly recommended.

Apr 18, 2014

With fascinating detail chapter 1 describes the beginning of the perilous Amazonian journey of Isabel's entourage of fellow travelers, 31 hired Indians, and numerous pack animals as they departed from a village in Peru in 1769 headed for the east coast of the continent. She hoped to be reunited with her husband whom she hadn't seen in 20 years. The story then flashes back to 1735 to relate the scientific expedition by French scientists to determine the shape of the Earth. Page 230 returns to the gripping story of Isabel's horrendous journey.


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