© Will Hobbs, illustration © Michael Wimmer.
Another good wilderness adventure book from Hobbs, this one a multiple award-winner taking place in the Klondike gold rush of 1897. Jason Hawthorn is in New York on a hobo-style tour of the country when he learns of the strike, and like so many other young men, immediately sets off for the gold fields as fast as he can. Unfortunately, by the time he can ride the rails back to his home in Seattle, his older brothers have already set out ahead of him, taking all the family money to finance their grubstake. Not giving up, Jason stows away on a ship heading up the Alaska straight, thus beginning his epic journey, full of ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, con men and good friends found along the way. One such friend is a young writer, Jack London, on his own trek north with a group, and he and Jason get on well, and keep running into each other as they attempt to reach the Klondike. Jason also finds a four-legged friend, a Husky named King who becomes his constant companion, and best asset. I think I can reveal without spoiling anything that Jason does not make it to the gold fields before winter sets in, leaving him and another boy stranded in a remote cabin, where they must try to survive under incredibly harsh conditions with not enough food. That story becomes the centerpiece of this fine book, with Jason’s eventual arrival at the gold fields just the final part of the book. As with the other Hobbs books I’ve read and reviewed recently, this is a page-turner, a fine read, both exciting and well-researched. Recommended.