Map on Site

Posted: March 28th, 2011 under artwork, the writing life, Website Update.
Tags: , , ,

A “work” version of the map for Kings of the North is now up on the Paksworld website maps page, here.    I don’t have time to do a prettified antiqued version right now, so this is for those who bought the book in a format that did not include the map.

You will notice the clunky font of the labels–and the pencil lines here and there…and the specks.    And if you have the book, you will notice the lack of same, and the prettier font the publisher put on the cleaned-up and blank map I sent for them to decorate.    Besides lack of time, I thought some of you might enjoy seeing the more “workshop” end of the map.   Maps in progress are always imperfect (to be honest, finished maps are always imperfect, too–a map cannot encompass all the reality it guides you across.   Some of you will have read Benoit Mandelbrot’s The Fractal Geometry of Nature, one of my favorites…)     But the imperfections are clues to the mapmaker’s ideas about the map–not just where things are, but how to represent them.

Someone wanted me to do a “complete, coast to coast” map of this story world.   I can’t.   For me as a writer, it’s important that this world cannot be mapped completely.     It’s possible, though unlikely, that some of my science fictional worlds could–if I had time and took enough thought–be mapped completely.   Some of them, like Slotter Key and Nexus in the Vatta’s War group, I have “seen” from space and from traveling around on them, flying over them, taking trains and other ground transportation, and I could map more of them than I have mapped of this world, if not completely map them.  But this world is different.  And it will never be completely mapped, by me or anyone else, because some parts of it will be unwritten, and thus unknown and unknowable.


  • Comment by AMMBD — March 28, 2011 @ 8:33 pm


    being a lover of maps & well done fiction worlds, i love the maps that can go along with those worlds.

    perhaps a “here be other stories” around the unknown & unwritten areas 😉

    i can see why you can’t truly map everything or even most things though.

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 28, 2011 @ 10:56 pm


    Maybe later. I’ve got to finish the master map (which isn’t everything) and then make it into the poster-map I want it to be. In color. With annotations and stuff.

    While writing the books.

  • Comment by Kirrus — March 29, 2011 @ 3:00 am


    The map on my kindle was really hard to read, so this is awesome, thanks! 🙂

  • Comment by Annabel (Mrs Redboots) — March 29, 2011 @ 3:43 am


    Thank you – I can finally put Brewersbridge in the right place, as it has been worrying me!

  • Comment by Naomi — March 29, 2011 @ 5:29 am


    Brewersbridge had been worrying me too! unfortunately, on the map in my copy of Kings, it’s been left out, so now I’m happy

  • Comment by Anne — March 29, 2011 @ 5:54 am


    Great to see. Thank you!
    I realize I have been thinking of things exactly left-right reversed….. perhaps because I keep thinking west is to the right on a map. I know it goes W-E, but when I was little there was a large map of the world on our wall. The “East” (Soviet bloc) was to the left and the “West” (Western Europe) was to the right, and I’ve never quite gotten over that.
    P.S. Finished Kings of the North. Wonderful! Now to re-read everything in order (or sortof order) before I go back for a second session.

  • Comment by Adam Baker — March 29, 2011 @ 5:57 am


    I was curious, where does Three Fir’s fall, on the map? I didnt see it on the map in KotN, and I dont remember it being on any of the maps in Deed.

  • Comment by Rune Ulset Furberg — March 29, 2011 @ 7:18 am


    “I see. And you come from Three Firs? Where is that? In Tsaia?”
    “I—I’m not sure. The closest larger town was Rocky Ford; that’s where I joined Duke Phelan’s company—”
    The Marshal cleared his throat. “Excuse me, Mayor, but Rocky Ford is just within Tsaia, near the Finthan border in the north.”
    — Divided Allegiance, ch. 10

  • Comment by Adam Baker — March 29, 2011 @ 7:33 am


    Using that, then I suppose it could be on the river that splits around the mountains, between where it says Fintha & Tsaia.

  • Comment by Rune Ulset Furberg — March 29, 2011 @ 7:54 am


    The location of Fiveway on the new maps have bothered me for some time now, so I thought I’d bother the rest of you with it as well. 🙂

    In chapter 8 of Sheepfarmer’s daughter, they march almost to Littlebridge on the first day after leaving Verella, and Stammel says the next good stop after Littlebridge is Fiveway. In other words, marching from Verella to Fiveway normally takes about two days, which seems awfully short, considering they use a whole week from the Duke’s keep to Verella, indicated by the map to be about as far.

    I personally think Stammel was talking about a different Fiveway than the one marked on the map. Either that, or mrs. Moon has some explaining to do. 😉

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 29, 2011 @ 9:12 am


    Rune: It’s a fairly long explanation, but it does, I think, cover the points…which I’ll touch here only briefly because the tractor repair crew is on its way and today promises to be another busy one.

    1. Same Fiveway. Its position on the map may be slightly different than in the old (and lost) master map, but not very. Having to combine the two “book maps” (below on the maps page) as reference for the new master map could have introduced some problems, despite the attempt to get them reconciled.

    2. “Next good stop” does not mean the only stop they would normally make, but one that offers a place to house the troop (rather than have them camp) in bad weather. It was my thought that, for practice, the recruit cohort would be expected to set up and break camp repeatedly on the journey south. Fireway is a place where a) there’s shelter from weather, and a chance to reorganize personnel and supplies before heading for the pass and b) a sizeable enough market to replace supplies if necessary.

    3. Map distance measured “as the crow flies” (or the dividers span) is not road distance, and does not take into account terrain, ground conditions, traffic, and other things that determine rate of progress. In non-mechanized travel, without the consistency of prepared all-weather roads/rails, even road distance does not equate to travel time. (This is certainly true for post-Roman/pre-mechanized travel in Europe and for Roman troops not on standard roads.)

    It is unfortunate that the original master map went missing, along with all the reference material from the first books. Somewhere I have the original first-draft manuscript (typed on the old typewriter). It was cut in every revision after that, right up to editorial, and though I don’t remember it, I do remember marking every stop along the way…but I don’t remember what they were. They’re not all in the final book because (as one of my first readers said then, “Look–everything that happened every day isn’t part of the story. Just tell the story!”

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 29, 2011 @ 9:27 am


    Three Firs isn’t on the map. It’s not on anybody’s map…it’s a tiny village.

    Mapping within the story, at the time of this story, is fairly primitive: regular travelers carry descriptions of things to look for and approximate travel distances in good weather. Those descriptions may contain a sketch of a mountain of unusual shape, a big tree, a cliff, a city. Sailors have charts, of a sort, but when along a coast they’re looking at landmarks: the shapes of hills, etc. as seen from the water. Attempts to draw maps (and there are city “plans” drawn by someone on the top of the tallest building) are rarely successful in modern terms (think of the earliest maps we have.)

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 29, 2011 @ 9:30 am


    If I’d started with maps like that as a child, I’d have been confused, too. I grew up with north at the top, south at the bottom, east on the right and west at the left, of maps hanging in the schoolroom or in books. Of course loose maps, like highway maps, could be turned any which way, but we usually held them with north in front of us, because that looked “right.”

  • Comment by Robert Conley — March 29, 2011 @ 10:24 am


    The map looks good and thanks for sharing this. Hope you find the missing original and references someday.

  • Comment by Linda — March 29, 2011 @ 1:33 pm


    Thank you! May have to print out a copy of that map, as I have been digging through all your Paks books trying to get a bead on Brewersbridge. Is it weird having readers who are paying keen attention to geographic details or is that just the sort of person who reads “military fantasy?”

    I had to smile at your comments on using descriptive landmarks on maps. I have a hiking guide to the West Highland Way which combines the usual things like streams, forests, loch shore, etc. with comments like “Bridge reassuringly high above water” and “wild, desolate, and waterlogged.”

    Reading those maps before setting off led me to carry an umbrella, which the Aussie hikers I kept meeting over seven days laughed at on the first day, tho by the end they commented “Notice we’re not laughing at the brolly any more.” Maps are such a useful invention!

  • Comment by Jonathan Schor — March 29, 2011 @ 2:16 pm


    Thank You for the nice maps. I have the last two books in MP3 format as I enjoy listening to your writing a lot – do good writers just naturally sound good when read aloud?

    Don’t worry about any apparent inconsistencies of geography – the story’s are just fine and anyway, consistency is the mark of a little mind or some such.

    I seldom read a book with one eye on the map, except for books on the Civil War or WWI or WWII where real geography is important.

  • Comment by Kamil — March 29, 2011 @ 5:21 pm


    Thank you so much for the location of Brewersbridge! I, as well, have been fretting over its location; so glad to have that finally cleared up.

    So are the dotted lines roads, or boundary lines, or . . . ? Sorry for the completely clueless question, but I’ve been wondering about so many location related things – where Dorrin’s domain lies being right up at the top.

    And, boy, but did I have Fintha in the wrong place. I guess it just sounded colder than Tasia to me, so I thought it was almost due north (although westerly a bit as well) of Tasia, not almost due east. xD

    Having seen just how far west it is, I am glad that no one felt the good count needed to haul his old southern bones off to Fin Panir for any reason. =D

  • Comment by Kerry (aka Trouble) — March 29, 2011 @ 8:18 pm


    @Jonathan (16): I believe the quote you are looking for is, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Comment by Moira — March 30, 2011 @ 3:16 am


    The map is terrific! It actually shows way more than the one in the book: like others, I’m delighted to finally “meet” Brewersbridge. What surprises me is that no-one commented on the long anticipated appearance of the (formerly Phelan’s) North Marches Stronghold!

    I’ve always loved maps. People thought I was weird when I was a kid because I could quite happily pore over an atlas for long periods of time… so it’s great to see more stuffe.

    Now, if I may be so bold: the place that’s marked above and a little to the left of the “C” in Chaya – is that by any chance Verrakai holding?

    (And thank you for all the responses, Elizabeth. I honestly don’t know how you fit it all in, but thanks.)

  • Comment by Swede — March 30, 2011 @ 4:35 am


    Thanks, I always was more interested in how the North looked than Arensis.
    Three Firs is to small to be on a map but howe about Rocky Ford? thst do not sound much smaler than Brewersbridge?

  • Comment by Rune Ulset Furberg — March 30, 2011 @ 5:58 am


    That’s the Verrakai holding, yes.

  • Comment by Rune Ulset Furberg — March 30, 2011 @ 5:59 am


    Oops, the link was malformed by the last bracket. The correct source should be:

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 30, 2011 @ 9:48 am


    Swede: I didn’t start mapping Paksworld in any large segments (did little “battle maps” of engagements) until partway through Sheepfarmer’s Daughter (specifically, third campaign year, when Sibili kept hopping the river, so it was always on the opposite bank no matter which direction you approached it from.) At that point, I drew a map of Aarenis and put in the cities, rivers, etc. It was a crude little map, drawn on a sheet of typing paper and colored with pencils. Until then, I had the whole thing in my head, including vivid visual images of towns and cities.

    I enlarged that map to make the master from which the map in that paperback was done, and left room at the top of it to do the north as it became necessary, though I did draw the coastline north to beyond the Honnorgat, the line of that river, and some sketchy ideas about the geology and thus the topography. During the writing of Divided Allegiance, I added Paks’s route to Fin Panir (but not the route out to Kolobia–wouldn’t fit on the paper) in pencil, and during Oath of Gold mapped only the route from Verella to Chaya, also in pencil. My publisher did not want separate maps for those books. They did want another map for Surrender None, so I penciled and inked the part of Fintha that Gird had been active in. That’s the map you’ll also find in the Gird/Luap omnibus. At that point, my memory was that I’d put a protective piece of plexiglas over the map on the drafting table, a cover over that, and I’d come back to it when I came back to Paksworld.

    Only it wasn’t there when I did (some 20 years later.) Without the original master map or any of the detailed maps, or the background material, working from maps in the original books (and having to enlarge them past all reason–and then try to match them for scale…) making the new master map was…challenging.

    The best thing to do, when a detail in the older books and the new map don’t quite coincide is to invoke the mapmaker’s mistakes. My mother worked with maps from 17th c. to 20th c. covering the same exact territory in Texas…and maps not matching, and not matching the ground, were common. She did her best to ensure that her new baseline map of a 3-4 county area was…but knew that one surveyor error of a tiny amount would make it wrong, too.

    Nobody inside Paksworld has a map as accurate as this one, but this one is certainly not dead accurate. For those locations not “placed”, the important thing to know is how the character experienced them.

  • Comment by genko — March 30, 2011 @ 11:31 am


    A comment above (16) makes me wonder — did *you* do the audio recording of these books? Isn’t that time-consuming?

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 30, 2011 @ 11:41 am


    No, I don’t do the audio recordings. Voice actors do that. It should say somewhere on there who the voice actors are.

    I read my work aloud for my own purposes, as part of the editing/revision process.

  • Comment by Jonathan Schor — March 30, 2011 @ 12:46 pm


    Ms. Jennifer Van Dyke performed Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, Divided Allegiance, Oath of Gold, and Oath of Fealty – and very well too. I really enjoy listening to the story – unabridged. Kings of the North is performed by Ms. Susan Ericksen – I have not started to listen to this book yet as I a currently relistening to Oath of Fealty.

    I do not know If Ms. Moon has listened to any of them or has any connection with the artists.

  • Comment by Sam Barnett-Cormack — March 30, 2011 @ 12:51 pm


    Very much appreciated. I didn’t even realise there was a map in the book, as the Kindle version starts from the start of the ‘actual content’. I just skipped back and looked at the dedication and dramatis personae, and the map… of course, the Kindle screen isn’t the most perfect way to look at an image of that size/complexity…

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 30, 2011 @ 3:20 pm


    Jonathan, thanks for the info on voice actors. No, I don’t have anything to do with production unless as sometimes happens, they call me for pronunciation guidance. I don’t listen to them–I don’t listen to audiobooks as I prefer to read visually.

  • Comment by Genko — March 30, 2011 @ 7:24 pm


    Voice recording — okay, I assumed that actors would do that, as it would be incredibly time-consuming for you. I also don’t listen to audiobooks; there’s something I really love about print. I’ve also read my own writing out loud and discovered kinks that way — works very well for poetry, but also for prose. When I “hear” it and also when I try to read it, I discover not-so-smooth places, and it lets me know what I need to fix.

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 30, 2011 @ 10:13 pm


    Not just time-consuming, but–though I’m a reasonably good performance reader (I’ve been told), I’m not a voice actor.

    But reading to find the not-so-smooth places…yeah. Privately or with friends.

  • Comment by Moira — March 31, 2011 @ 2:36 am


    Rune – thanks! (How did I miss that post? Ah wait, I remember now – never mind. Hmmm, I should go back and explore the archives.)

    Poor Mouse. Always blamed for everything, constantly being slapped around and sworn at… 😉

  • Comment by Keenan — April 2, 2011 @ 4:47 pm


    I can’t help but wonder the maps that the Gnomes or Elves make compare to those made by humans. I also wonder if AMMBD might have been talking about a complete map of what is known and leaving those unknown areas as a haze of some sort.

    Having those maps available makes it easier to imagine all the travels and also adds an extra level “realism” to the events that happen. It really does help with tying all those series of movements and events together and I appreciate the amount of attention to detail.

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