When I open a fantasy book, the first thing I do is skim through the front matter to look for a map. I have always loved maps, the older the better. A map even features prominently in The Fifth Vertex as a crucial part of the plot.
Maps give us an incredibly fast way of absorbing a bunch of information that simply cannot be conveyed through text or words alone. Fantasy books, especially epic multi-book series, are notorious for having tons of locations to remember. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, do you really know where all the various houses are just from reading the book? Could you figure out which kingdoms are neighbors, which are separated by oceans, etc just from the words you read in the book? Even if the author specifically calls out directions and distances, our brains naturally let that kind of information slip because we’re far more interested in the characters and the plot.
This is why we have maps. When I set out to write The Fifth Vertex I did so under the condition that I would never publish it without a map. Creating a world without a map is like giving a child an unwrapped Christmas present. And so, here are some early Christmas presents that I’m making available a few days before publication of the book… Maps of the world of Emys!
These maps were illustrated by the amazingly talented Eli Neugeboren and I hope that his work will feature as prominently in the second book as well.