Google Maps flybys for your novels

Wouldn’t it be cool if your novels let readers go to a Google Earth / Maps flyby for all the major locations in your book?

That’s what I did for some of my novels, and many readers try it after reading the books.

First, some context.

My books are in the Ancient Historical Fiction genre, and each story mixes known history (locations, characters, incidents) with a fictional story.

When I write the novel, I spend considerable time “flying” over those locations, imagining my scenes, plotting distances, observing terrains and so on. Likewise, I love to go to locations mentioned in the books I read, to get a better sense of place and situation.

Giving readers a sense of the world the novels are set in

For many of my books, I create Google Earth flybys. It’s pretty simple — go to https://earth.web.com and create a project, add the locations with notes, create separator slides. I then share the maps on my site.

When readers finish a novel, they can go to the maps area and launch a presentation that takes them to each location, in chronological order (of the book), along with some notes. It’s fun and informative. How do I know its useful? I see many of my readers visiting the maps pages. There is a certain thrill is looking at locations like where Cleopatra’s palace may have been, or where Spartacus fought a certain battle, or where Alexander may have crossed into India, or where Cambyses’ army vanished into the desert. When reading a book, it is sometimes difficult to imagine the places and distances, and maps make it a great way to visualize those journeys.

Want to take a look?

Just go to my book maps. Ideally, you’d do the flyby after reading the books (to avoid spoilers), but a quick flip can give you a sense of what it feels like.

Google Earth flyby for The Last Pharaoh

The flybys seem to work best on Google Chrome and on mobile. I’ve observed some performance issues when on Safari.

Come on a journey!

Maps for Jay Penner Novels

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cover image for The Atlantis Papyrus
standalone 449 pages e+print
The Atlantis Papyrus

Some secrets are best left buried.

“pure enjoyment…”

A frequent #1 on Amazon’s Ancient Egyptian History bestseller lists.

323 B.C., Babylon

King Alexander the Great has died, and his bloodthirsty generals quarrel for the pieces of a vast empire. But Captain Deon faces his own nightmare, born of a shameful past: a vicious lender threatens to sell his wife and young daughter into slavery if he does not clear his crippling debt.

Hope glimmers when the dead king’s wily secretary dangles a mission that whispers of an unimaginable reward.

Thrust into the murky and dangerous waters of succession where his success holds the keys to the ultimate prize, Alexander’s throne, Deon faces a terrifying choice: complete the mission and earn his family’s freedom, or refuse and let them perish in Nubia’s brutal gold mines.

Assisted by a companion as skilled in tongues as she is with a dagger, and pursued by malignant forces that will stop at nothing, Deon must cross violent lands to find an astonishing mystery hidden for a thousand years. But every step closer to freedom unveils a burden far heavier than his debt, for his choices could determine not only his family’s fate but that of a million innocents.

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cover image for Regent
360 pages e+print

51 B.C., Alexandria, Egypt

Some wells have poisoned waters.

With her father sick and her sister dead by his hands, sixteen-year-old Cleopatra is poised to assume the heavy mantle of power and exercise the divine authority vested in her by the gods of Egypt.

But the gilded arches and marble columns hide a grim reality and the gathering of storm clouds. A surly Rome is banging on her doors for debt repayments, the kingdom is on the verge of a civil war, and the dying king’s powerful advisors seek to discard her like a rag and control the kingdom through her brother.

Now, the young regent must confront her adversaries and walk the tightrope over an abyss of treachery and conflict, because one wrong move means ending three thousand years of Pharaonic rule and turning up as a corpse in the Alexandrian marshes.

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cover image for Soldier
340 pages e+print

For Honor. For Vengeance. Or For Rome?

Thrace, 83 B.C.

Spartacus, son of a Maedi chief, is about to lead a band of his men into the heart of an enemy tribe to steal the idol of their sacred god Sabazios. He hopes that this daring incursion will make him worthy in his father’s eyes and the tribe that sees him more a philosopher than a warrior.

When this desecration brings savage retribution to his doorsteps, Spartacus does what no Maedi man would dream of doing, bringing dishonor to himself and his tribe. And now, the only way to douse the flames of shame and rage is by joining a Roman auxiliary that is preparing to destroy his enemy.

But the offended gods have different plans.

Fighting under a corrupt centurion, saddled with quarreling companions, and on a brutal march to wage war for a brilliant general with grand ambitions, Spartacus will learn what it means to be a skilled soldier, a warrior, and above all, a leader, even as he battles powerful forces that are about to put him on a bloody path to his fateful destiny.

About Jay Penner

Jay Penner’s highly-rated books regularly feature Amazon’s category bestseller lists. Try his Spartacus, Cleopatra, Whispers of Atlantis or Dark Shadows books. Reach out to him or subscribe to his popular newsletter.

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