Hello again everyone,
I’ve had a few readers tell me they have some trouble following where my protagonist is in any given chapter. It’s a fair critique. One of my goals with this book was to have the narrator visit all four corners of the known world over the course of his life, and that can get confusing in fairly short order. I wouldn’t expect most people to have a firm grasp of South American geography, let alone pre-Columbian geography before the Spanish renamed everything. Here is the map included in my book:
But that doesn’t really make it easy to figure out where things really happened, does it? There are half a dozen landmarks, cities, regions, and tribes to use as way points, but I still left it up to the reader to constantly flip back to the map for reference. That must be especially irritating in the e-book version. Accepting this, I started playing around with the map, trying to track down where Haylli went from chapter to chapter. For my own ease I didn’t line things up exactly with the Royal Road network or the available mountain passes –preferring instead to approximate– but even if I had the overlapping journeys would only have muddied the waters. This is what I came up with:
That’s kind of a mess, isn’t it? A problem with drawing lines on a map of an empire 3,000 miles long and up to 500 miles wide based on a 70-plus-year narrative is that there’s a lot of repetition. A simple coloured spaghetti chart isn’t much help to the reader interested in matching up the story to the geography. It occurred to me a chapter by chapter breakdown is the only way to really bring clarity to the situation. I did my best to avoid spoilers, but there are some broad plot points that just can’t be avoided. With that said, here’s the prologue and the first two chapters:
If this is an approach that will help you enjoy the book, I’m happy to show you the rest. Just click through the jump for the rest of the breakdown.
Chapters six and seven have probably the most mileage. A fun fact? The single largest cut I made in editing chopped out several dozen pages of useless plot that incorporated a lot of research about the Collao. If and when I write a prequel, I’ll find a way to use all that library work in a way that matters to the story:
A number of people have told me Chapter Nine was their favourite, and while I appreciate that, I also feel like something of a charlatan. Researching the eastern Amazon Rainforest in the 1490s was a tough job, and while I’m pleased with how it came out, I can’t help but admit I roughed out a lot of assumptions and called them good enough in order to set the scene:
Chapters ten, eleven, and twelve were probably the firmest rooted in confirmable pre-Spanish history. The reconquest of Quitu is a little fuzzy on this map for the sake of documenting the thoroughness of the campaign, but this is still a fair representation:
The War Between the Brothers is a difficult conflict to map geographically. We know the Quitus constantly pushed back the Cuzcos, but where the front was throughout the course of the struggle is almost impossible to pin down. I had the great advantage of having a bureaucrat as a protagonist: I didn’t need him on the front; I just had to say he visited it from time to time. The orange gives a sense of the chaos and retreat, but please don’t hold me to the different points of contact and retreat.
Chapters fifteen and sixteen were an easy job for the amateur cartographer: Draw a line from Macchu Picchu to Cuzco and from Cuzco to Caxamalca (Cajamarca) using the closest approximation to the Royal Road network. Here you go:
I had fun with this one as well. Where did Rumiñaui and the fictional Haylli hide the treasure held back from Atauhuallpa’s ransom? My pink squiggle to the east of Quitu is my best guess. I also got to take a guess at where Manco Inca set up his rump kingdom capital –Vilcos? Vilcapampa? Somewhere else in Andesuyu? This is what I came up with: