Published in 1902 by J.B. Lippincot, A Daughter of the Snows presents a strong feminine lead in a story about love amid the Klondike Gold Rush. Frona Welse, a graduate of Stanford, becomes alienated... More > from her community for her pronounced views and 'takes to the trail'. She finds herself attracted to two men, Gregory St Vincent, who turns out not to meet her expectations, and Vance Corliss, a mining engineer.
Despite writing early in his career, London still manages to deliver a narrative that fits into his oeuvre; a tight, clipped prose with believable characters and realistic dialogue.< Less
Published in 1912 by MacMillan, A Son of the Sun is composed of eight separate stories linked by lead character David Grief, a ship owner plying his trade around the South Sea Islands. Encountering a... More > variety of foes including pirates and cannibals, Grief comes through with a mixture of experience and sheer physical courage.< Less
Published in 1911, Adventure is an excellent example of one of London's South Sea novels. When David Sheldon becomes sick only the intervention of Joan Lackland saves his life.
Sheldon is the... More > proprietor of a coconut plantation of Guadalcanal in the Solomons and there's every likelihood that his illness will prompt his native workers to rebel and kill him. Lacklands unlooked for intervention averts disaster and together they work to resolve problems with the workers and how to manage his estate more effectively.
The distinction between the two characters, Sheldon a chivalrous but mean Englishman and Lackland a liberated American, provides a certain romantic tension to contrast with the sense of insecurity imposed by the dangers inherent on the island.< Less
Published in 1907 by Macmillan, Before Adam is a proto-science fiction novel inspired by London's appreciation for Darwin's Theory of Evolution. The plot is built around the narration of a modern San... More > Franciscan man who, during his sleeping hours, lives the life of an ancestral humanoid, a member of a tribe he calls The Cave People.
Though the setting is harshly derived in comparison to modern science fiction techniques, London's enthusiasm for the evolutionary theory comes through as does his ability to show character traits from simple and effective narration. The stark use of a dreamscape to provide the link between the past and the present does enable to narrator to cast a modern perspective over the primitive.< Less
Published in 1910 by McMillan, Burning Daylight tells the story of the eponymous character, a successful prospector, and his adventures in the Klondike. It's thought that Burning Daylight – a... More > nickname – was based on a real-life character called 'Borax' Smith, an entrepreneur from Oakland, California.
It's also thought that the character was a manifestation of London, or at least the man he'd most like to be. The book was a best seller in the year of its release and reportedly the largest selling book during London's life time.< Less
Published in 1903 by MacMillan, The Call of the Wild is Jack London's most famous and most popular novel. Told from the perspective of Buck, at the start of the novel a domesticated St Bernard/... More > German Shepherd breed, the plot follows the dog from being snatched from a ranch in California to Alaska where he becomes part of a dog sled team. Through Buck, London examines the good and the bad of the Klondike, harsh men and the naïve, and in John Thornton, a man true and devoted to his wards, of which Buck becomes one.
The writing is at times pure poetry that is linked to science and the natural world. Yet the prose can also be brutal and uncomfortable, in many respects, exactly what might be expected in a setting that repays no thought for fairness or morality. This is a book that deserves its place amongst the best of American literature.< Less
First published in 1902, Children of the Frost is a collection of ten short stories linked by setting, the Northern Wilderness, and by theme, the plight of the North American Indian. While still... More > pronouncing for the superiority of Anglo Saxon culture, London nevertheless shows a telling dignity in the way the Indian Tribes lived their lives and in their fight for survival against the incomers.
Amongst the stories here are some telling examples of London's belief in evolutionary theory, particular The Law of Life, in which a tribe, departing for Winter hunting grounds, leaves behind an enfeebled elder man to die. London shows the man as someone who is not bitter, but reconciled to his fate, confident in the natural order of the wild in which his people make their lives.< Less
Published in 1902 by MacMillan, The Cruise of the Dazzler relates the seafaring adventures of youngster Joe Bronson who runs away from home in response to an ultimatum from his father to either buck... More > his ideas up or else leave home. Joe finds his way onto the eponymous boat, a small sloop, and teams up with The Frisco Kid, who is Joe's age but carries with him enough experience to see them through.
Though written for teenagers, this is a book that will appeal to adults and which will provide a good introduction to London's more technical descriptions of sailing that appear in later novels and compilations.< Less
Published posthumously in 1922, Dutch Courage and Other Stories includes London's first piece of published prose, Typhoon off the Coast of Japan, an autobiographical story of his time as a young... More > sailor. The remaining stories are all sea-based adventures that highlight London's fascination for the genre and his mastery of the technicalities of sailing a boat in many weathers.< Less
First published in 1904 by MacMillan, The Faith of Men is a collection of short pieces connected by being located in the North, mostly the Klondike. Considered by many to be London's finest Klondike... More > collection, the set of eight includes the absolutely brutal tale of Batard, a savage dog set against a savage master. Other stories centre on native Indians including The Story of Jees Uck, a touching romance about an affair between a trading post operator and a young, mixed blood, indian woman.< Less