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THE WILD by Christopher Golden


From the Secret Journeys of Jack London series, volume 1

by Christopher Golden & Tim Lebbon & illustrated by Greg Ruth

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-186317-2
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Seventeen-year-old Jack London heads to the Yukon Territory in search of gold, adventure and his place in the world. His much older brother-in-law turns back early, but Jack hooks up with Merritt and Jim, two younger men, on the trail to Dawson City. After a rough winter spent trapped in a fur trader’s cabin, they arrive to find less a “city” than a mining camp peopled with demoralized, often crazy failed prospectors. On their first night in town, they’re pressed into slavery and forced to pan for gold for a gang of thugs. Jack barely has time to dream of escape before something wholly unnatural attacks and destroys the camp. Saved by a mysterious, beautiful young woman, Jack recovers from his wounds, only to find that his dealings with the supernatural are far from over. Veteran horror-fantasist and comic-book author Golden teams with Lebbon, with whom he’s written a series for adults, to reimagine the early years of adventurer and novelist London. What might have been the boy’s adventure equivalent to the plethora of classic/chick-lit/monster mash-ups is instead merely a periodically interesting tale of an action “hero” who’s repeatedly rescued by outside forces from the consequences of poor decisions made in the pursuit of masculine identity. Sloppy plotting and a slow setup make this whitewash of randy, alcoholic, socialist London unsatisfying; let's hope future volumes show improvement. (Historical fantasy. YA)