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Several of you have asked – quite rightly – what has happened to the maps I was so excited about.  As you may remember, I like the idea of you being to follow in Sam’s (well-polished booted) footsteps around London, in an exercise I call “walking the Plank”.  I found a wonderful cartographer right here in Cambridge, and he has been doing sterling work reading the books and plotting the key locations for each on a large map he has drawn – about two square metres in size.  I showed you our progress here.

Since then, the publication of “Portraits of Pretence” rather overtook me, but now I am becoming mappish once again.  I am going to contact my map man anew, and need to give him definitive instructions about the end product that I would like from him.  And I have had an idea, but I would like your thoughts on this.

Sam, being an energetic fellow, covers quite a bit of ground, and London – even in the 1820s – was a big place.  In short, the map needs to be quite big to encompass Sam’s movements.  And for a map to appear in the book, it must fit – legibly – on a paperback double-page spread, which is not very big.  So my idea is to product two versions of each map: a cut-down one of the most important highlights to appear in the book, and then a more detailed one (that you could actually download, print and then use as a tour guide) to be offered as a PDF on this website.  Of course the situation is further complicated by the fact that there is a different map for each book.  In practical terms, we – the map man and I – have created a base map showing repeated Plank locations (Great Marlborough Street Magistrates’ Court, Sam and Martha’s house, Newgate, etc.).  On this we then overlay the specific locations for each book.  So we face the prospect of needing fourteen maps in total – seven books, each with an in-book version and a downloadable PDF.  This is obviously quite a job of work, and I need to make sure that it’s the right way to go before breaking the happy news to the map man.  So what do you think?

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