The Big People, A Thrilling Klondike Gold Rush Adventure
This captivating tale by K.H. Linville takes us on a thrilling, life-changing adventure to the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898. Elmer and his Uncle Henry begin their journey in Seattle, Washington with an opening scene describing the pitiful state of unemployment and sorry-looking futures. The story bounds forward to the journey by boat to Skagway, Alaska, hiking the Chilkoot Trail, rafting and eventually arriving in the burgeoning tent city of Dawson City, Yukon — An expedition that many perished trying to complete.
First time author Linville’s writing, while not technically perfect, is such that the reader is captivated. It’s like being in a room with a story-teller seated in an overstuffed armchair relating tales that enthrall his listeners. In this case we’re taken on a months-long journey that tests the physical and mental mettle of the voyagers.
This novel is best described as Creative Historical Fiction as the characters and narrative twist and coil around actual events and people. The inclusion of real dramatic and romantic characters as Sgt. Sam Steele, Swiftwater Bill, Joe Boyle, Klondike Kate, Belinda Mulrooney (reportedly “the richest woman in the Klondike” and photographer Eric Hegg bring reality to the legend.
Contrasting those positive influences we are introduced to the infamous Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith and his cohorts. The author didn’t have to invent Soapy Smith as his misadventures are historical fact.
Linville says it in first two sentences of the Epilogue. “Henry, Elmer and Rebecca were fictitious characters, as were Mace, Leadtooth and Old Paddy. Everyone else named in this story was a real person and portrayed accurate to history.
Speaking of the Epilogue – it’s more of an intriguing look into the lives of the historical characters presented in the book. It even includes people not in the story like the original discoverers of gold on Bonanza Creek, Skookum Jim, Tagish Charlie and George Carmack. This alone makes the novel worth having.
So, if you relish stories that keep you anxious to turn the page to see what’s next, this is one I’d recommend. You’ll appreciate being in the era and experiencing the extreme hardships and joys along with the characters.