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The Secret Journeys of Jack London, Book Two: The Sea Wolves Hardcover – Deckle Edge, February 28, 2012
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A masterful mix of gold, cold, supernatural creatures, and dread magic makes this a great action adventure story. (Garth Nix, author of the Abhorsen Trilogy, about The Secret Journeys Of Jack London, Book One)
A great old-school adventure novel and the best use of the Wendigo legend I’ve ever read. (Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy, about The Secret Journeys Of Jack London, Book One)
A rollicking adventure tale for modern-day readers, depicting with great awe the unforgiving, and yet beautiful, conditions Jack confronts. There is enough biographical reality to drive curious readers into sampling the works of the actual London while they eagerly await another chapter. That is a fire worth starting. (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (Starred Review), about THE SECRET JOURNEYS OF JACK LONDON, BOOK ONE: THE WILD)
Golden and Lebbon write with a gritty assurance that brings the fantasy elements-most notably, Jack’s multiple face-offs with the mythic Wendigo-down to earth. This first chapter kicks the door open for almost anything in book two. (ALA Booklist, about THE SECRET JOURNEYS OF JACK LONDON, BOOK ONE: THE WILD)
About the Author
Christopher Golden is the New York Times bestselling author of Of Saints and Shadows, The Myth Hunters, The Boys Are Back in Town, and Snowblind. He has edited the anthologies The New Dead, The Monster's Corner, and 21st Century Dead. Baltimore; or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire, cowritten with Mike Mignola, launched the Eisner Award–nominated comic book series Baltimore.
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Book Two picks up right where Book One left off. On his way back from the Yukon, London's steamer is boarded by a brutal band of pirates hunting for gold. The invaders kill many of the ship's passengers and take several others captive, among them young Jack London. While the rest of the prisoners are locked up in the pirate ship's hold, London is given special treatment. The sadistic captain takes a special interest in young Jack, appoints him ship's cook, and occasionally engages him in intellectual conversations about literature and ethics. The parallels between this book and London's novel The Sea-Wolf are intentional and obvious. The tale that Golden and Lebbon present here purports to be the experience that inspired London to write that famous work. While Book One did a great job of alluding to London's works while creating something entirely new, Book Two at times clings a little too closely to its source material. These books should encourage young readers to seek out works like The Sea-Wolf, not render them redundant.
Because this second installment makes frequent references to the series debut, you really must read Book One first in order to understand what's going on here. London uses certain "powers" that he acquired in the first volume. If the authors had just let the past go and allowed this second volume to stand on its own two feet, the result would have been a stronger book. Instead the novel is somewhat overpowered by its series. The ending of Book Two feels partially unresolved, as it segues into book three, which was recently published under the title White Fangs.
The plot of the book is as exciting and action-packed as any Hollywood horror thriller, but also just as predictable. The novel's only big surprise is given away by the title and the cover illustration. What really saves the book and elevates it above mediocre genre trash is its well-crafted prose. Golden and Lebbon don't dumb down the vocabulary or syntax for their young audience. There are plenty of "grown-up" novelists who can't put a paragraph together nearly as well as these guys can. They are also quite adept at creating situations fraught with edge-of-your-seat suspense, even when the outcome of such situations may be a foregone conclusion.
Despite the fact that this second installment is a step down from the first, it's still quite entertaining and certainly worth its cover price. I look forward to seeing where the authors take London next. If only there were a big enough young audience interested in London and his works, the Secret Journeys would make a great TV series.
The Secret Journeys of Jack London Book Two picks up right where Book One ended, with a teenage, yet already world-weary Jack London leaving the Yukon for his home in California. Having already had adventures hardly anyone would believe, (hence the secret part), he finds himself yearning to return home to bring newly found gold to his mother as promised. Young Jack London has already learned a great deal about himself, he has felt, and embraced the Call of The Wild. He has seen things we only speak of in legends, and he has been changed, perhaps tainted, but his time in the Yukon, and by the mysterious, seductive forest spirit, Leysa.
There is hardly any time to reflect upon how he has changed before the passenger vessel is brutally attacked by pirates, led by the cruel Captain known only as Ghost. Those passengers not savagely murdered as the pirates search for gold aboard the Umatilla, are taken captive and Jack, despite his valiant efforts, is also taken prisoner.
That is just the first chapter.
Like Book One before it, this story starts strong and never lets up. Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon have delivered yet another wonderful piece of high adventure that really takes me back to my school boy days and how thrilled I was to read the Jack London novels that they so obviously love themselves. This appears to be the middle book of a trilogy, I can only hope there are far more books in the series. When I realized the ending was drawing nigh, I almost started to panic. I could tell there would be business left unfinished. I knew Jack had just been through what might be the darkest moments of his life, yet he discovered a little hope in the midst of all the darkness, and picked up some unbelievable allies along the way.
This book is The Empire Strikes Back of Jack London stories. There, I said it.
There is a much different tone to this story. There's much more of a "horror" aspect, revealed when we learn the truth behind this pack of pirates, and that truth is in fact, my favorite part of this story. There is also a somewhat darker, claustrophobic atmosphere due to the fact Jack is essentially a prisoner on this ship, unable to benefit from his newly acquired "abilities" to be one with The Wild, even if he is surrounded by such wild ferocity in the form of...I don't want to spoil it for you.
The illustrations by Greg Ruth scattered through the book, not to mention the old fashioned "rough cut" pages, really make this book feel like a long lost classic that you come across in a curio shop. The type of book for which you rearrange your schedule to make time to read. Yeah, it's that kind of good.
I need to know how this saga ends, I need to have Book Three. I have already given this book as a gift, and will be sure to pass it along to anyone I know that loves a lovingly well told story of High Adventure.
Which I want to believe, would be everyone...
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THIS BOOK STARTS OFF HOW YOU WOULD EXPECT IT FAST PACED AND DOES NOT LET UP UNTIL THE LAST PAGE.Read more