The Map by Tobsha Learner
1613: Shimon Mendiluze, a Spanish Jewish alchemist fleeing the Inquisition, is found guilty of witchcraft and burned at the stake in London. But in his last few moments of life, a young pregnant woman holds up a pendant – his secret and his treasure remain safe.
1953: Classicist August Winthrop, an American who fought in the Spanish Civil war, is asked by his dying best friend (and fellow member of the international brigade) to return an ancient chronicle to a Basque family in Franco’s Spain, intrigued he begins investigating the book to find it is far more than just a travel diary and is linked to the mysterious murder of a Basque freedom fighter in 1945.
Soon he is drawn into a web of complicated politics, loyalties and betrayals in Franco’s Spain, and embarks on a quest for the alchemist’s hidden treasure. Following the clues in the Chronicle, which include archaic cabbalistic symbols and the hidden, magical meanings of certain plants, August is led on a journey through war-torn Europe and a series of ancient mazes. Pursued by rogue intelligence agents who want the treasure for themselves, and helped by a beautiful but troubled Basque woman, can August unlock the secrets of the Chronicle and the truth behind a much more recent atrocity before it’s too late?
UK Publisher – Sphere of Little Brown
AUSTRALIAN Publisher – Harper Collins, Australia