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The Secret Journeys Of Jack London, Book One: The Wild Paperback – Feb 17 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer & Bray; Reprint edition (Feb. 17 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006186319X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061863196
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2 x 19.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,059,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“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)

“A great old-school adventure novel and the best use of the Wendigo legend I’ve ever read.” (Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy)

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))

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 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.

Greg Ruth (Illustrator) has created countless comic books for Dark Horse and other publishers, and has worked on videos for Prince and Rob Thomas, among others. He has also illustrated many children’s books as well as graphic novels. He lives with his family in Massachusetts.

Tim Lebbon is the author of nearly thirty books, including the island and, with Chris Golden, the acclaimed Hidden Cities series. He is the winner of numerous British Fantasy Awards and a Bram Stoker Award. He lives in the Welsh countryside with his wife and children.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 9 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great Storytelling June 4 2011
By Mel Odom - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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I really didn't know what to expect from Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon's first book about Jack London. The Secret Journeys of Jack London: The Wild is listed as a YA novel, but it's a sophisticated read and very authentic. Of course, the authors bent real history in interesting ways and threw in some twists and turns that were totally their own.

Since Golden is a fellow author on the Buffy the Vampire series and Lebbon is known for his work in the horror and dark fantasy fields, I'd expected a lot of supernatural threats early on in the novel. They don't come till later, though, and that may be off-putting to some YA readers who picked this book up thinking that seeing Jack London going up against truly "wild" creatures would be awesome.

I don't know how many kids know who Jack London is these days. My thirteen year old doesn't and he's well read. I grew up on London, and his book, Before Adam, was one of my first loves - rivaling the Tarzan series that I'd just discovered.

Golden and Lebbon's book is more solid adventure story than supernatural. At least, it is at first. Then they dip into some eerie twists that reminded me of a lot of fantasy tropes, like Robert E. Howard's "The Frost-Giant's Daughter" and staples of the northern mythology involving the Wendigo. This was good stuff and I enjoyed it immensely.

The thing that I liked the most, oddly enough, may be the thing that young readers find least appealing. I loved the adventure, the measure of a man taken against the savage loneliness of the wilderness. I don't think today's urban-oriented young readers are going to quite grasp the intensity and threat that Golden and Lebbon unleash on the early pages of Jack's journey through the Yukon during the gold rush days. But for me, the narrative was a delight, a return to my younger years reading London's own novels about the area.

The idea of pairing young Jack London with a wolf spirit that guides him and defends him is pure genius. There could not be another animal familiar for him. Another thing that the authors do well is show the camaraderie of men, of the savage violence that brings them together and separates them as well.

I don't know what the authors have planned for the second book, but they have a wealth of material to play with. London traveled the world a lot and did numerous things. I'm looking forward to the continued secret journeys.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful homage to the master of adventure Jan. 2 2013
By Karl Janssen - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In the interest of full disclosure, I will start by stating that I'm a middle-aged man who never reads young adult fiction. I made an exception in this case, however, because what I do read a lot of is Jack London. So when I heard about this series so audaciously titled The Secret Journeys of Jack London, I immediately wanted to check it out to see if these books were worthy of bearing the name of their illustrious subject. Once I started reading Book One: The Wild, I was pleasantly surprised by how well written and entertaining this book is. Authors Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon have crafted a clever coming-of-age tale with all the characteristics of a classic London adventure.

The beginning of the story is loosely based on the actual events of London's life. Spurred on by the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s, teenage Jack and his brother-in-law Shepard venture up to the Yukon Territory hoping to strike it rich. The two make it as far as Dyea, but when the ailing Shepard lays eyes on the grueling Chilkoot pass, he decides to head back to San Francisco, leaving young Jack on his own. Jack, far from disappointed at this unexpected parting of the ways, relishes his newfound independence. He soon hooks up with two companions, and together the three embark on the arduous journey up river to Dawson. From that point the plot departs from the semi-biographical narrative, and the authors take the story in a completely different and unexpected direction.

Though London was a strident Darwinist, atheist, and rationalist, he was not averse to introducing supernatural elements into his work as long as it resulted in a good story. The most obvious examples of this are his novel The Star Rover and the novella "Planchette". In this book, however, Golden and Lebbon step way beyond London's paranormal comfort zone and take it to a whole new level. Almost every chapter, much like the lion's share of young adult literature today, is loaded with supernatural occurrences and superhuman feats. The genre of wilderness adventure has all but disappeared from bookstore shelves in the past few decades, while vampires, werewolves, and zombies have multiplied like rabbits. If introducing a few monsters and spirits into the wilderness is what it takes to breathe new life into this underappreciated genre, then more power to the authors for trying. Golden and Lebbon have done their research well. Not only are they well versed in London's life and work, they also make creative use of the Native American myth of the Wendigo and the Russian folktale of the forest spirit known as the Leshii. They have created a very original story that definitely departs from London's familiar territory, yet they still manage to vividly and contagiously convey his spirit of adventure and his love for the wild.

"Young adult" is a good label for this book, as it contains quite a bit of violence and gore, and a hint of sex. It's probably too mature for a junior high audience. Hopefully this book will succeed in turning some young readers on to London's classic works like The Call of the Wild and The Iron Heel. I wish the authors the best of luck with this series. This book, by the way, would make an excellent movie. It's about time Jack London became a household name again.
Great concept. Well executed. Jan. 22 2014
By Timothy Bird - Published on
Verified Purchase
A solid read. Great characterization as well as plenty of the expected action and adventure. Looking forward to the next installment.
Great book Oct. 21 2013
By Hunter foley - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I chose this rating because it was a great book although hard to comprehend I felt that it was a great book seeking thrill and adventure
Fantastic concept, lifeless execution April 9 2013
By Whitney - Published on
God, I was excited for this book. It's got all the components of a great yarn. The writing, however, stopped me cold: There's no rhythm, no energy, nor even a good characterization of Jack. The authors seem to have handcuffed themselves to two defining aspects for Jack, which they refer to ad nauseam: Jack London loves adventure, and stories. And stories. And adventure. He rarely exhibits any signs of an actual personality.

I wouldn't be surprised if this goes on to become a successful property in other media. Flaccid writing hasn't stopped many other YA novels from becoming extremely lucrative. And I hope there are some members of the target audience who aren't sensitive to the execution and who will instead enjoy the book on its conceptual merits: wolves, Wendigos, forest gods, the wild. These are cool things, and a young, fictionalized Jack London is the perfect vehicle to tie them all together. But as far as vehicles go, this one's built like a Yugo.