Rex Beach’s classic, first released in 1905, is a fictional tale based on actual events that occurred during the rush for gold in Nome, Alaska, during 1899-1900. A bestseller by 1906, the story revolves around a crooked politician and judge who manipulated the legal system to rob miners of their gold. They eventually were thwarted by the judge’s niece and a few kindhearted, yet determined, miners. The Spoilers was made into a Hollywood movie five times!
Look for Aunt Phil’s Trunk Proudly Presents The Spoilers, with a biography of Beach written by Laurel Downing Bill, this summer!
Published in 1922, Where The Sun Swings North is the first novel written by Florence Barrett Willoughby, who many call Alaska’s first official author.
This tale of adventure is a fictionalized account of her family’s real-life experience when stranded on Middleton Island in the Gulf of Alaska for 10 months in 1896-1897 when Willoughby was 10 years old. They may have had few provisions, but they had an intense will to live.
The cast of characters in this story includes a heroine and her Irish husband, a younger lady pure of heart, a drunkard and a diabolical trader who wants the Irishman’s wife for his own. Add to this group the elements of Alaska’s wildland and unpredictable weather and you’ve got a tale of adventure you won’t soon forget.
“It is so true to the country about which it is written that even an Alaskan can read it and enjoy it.” – The Pathfinder, May 1922
“It breathes the real Alaskan spirit. It is interesting and clean, like the great out-of-doors in the Northland.” – Sitka Tribune, December 1922
Published in 1903, The Call of the Wild is an American literary treasure. Set in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon Territory during the 1890s’ Klondike gold rush, this fictional tale opens when Buck, a dog that is part St. Bernard and part Scotch shepherd, is kidnapped from his comfortable home in Northern California. He soon finds himself heading north where large, strong sled dogs are in high demand.
Buck learns to adapt to the frozen, arctic land. Over time he loses the social skills he had as a prized pet of a California judge. Instead he learns to live by “the law of club and fang,” as he is forced to fight to survive and dominate other dogs. By the end, he sheds the veneer of civilization and relies on primordial instinct and learned experience to emerge as a leader in the wild.
Other London stories set around the rush for gold in this book include: “To Build a Fire,” “To the Man on the Trail,” “The Men of Forty Mile,” “The Son of the Wolf” and several more.
Award-winning author Laurel Downing Bill heard the call of her Alaska history fans and has reproduced Robert W. Service’s The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses.
This book pays tribute to one of the North Country’s most beloved poets and shares his first published collection of poems that debuted in 1907. This specially created book also features a biography of the Bard of the Yukon, written by Downing Bill, complete with photographs.
Even though he never lived in Alaska, Service helped put it on the map for most people with ballads like “The Shooting of Dan McGrew,” “The Cremation of Sam McGee” and “The Call of the Wild” – all included in this special collection of poetry, which now is part of the public domain.
Service felt a connection to the land and the people of the North and later told a newspaper that the nine years he spent in the Yukon (1904-1912) were “some of the happiest” of his life.
“All the things I am and have, I owe to the north.” Service said in the late 1940s.
Where Nothing Ever Happens
Muckluck, Alaska – Where Nothing Ever Happens, released August 2012, is written by Lisa Augustine, edited by Laurel Downing Bill and published by Aunt Phil’s Trunk LLC.
Readers will be enchanted as they travel through this 200-page fictional tale about life during 1930s-1940s in the Last Frontier. As told through the voice of 91-year-old Kate, a lifelong Alaskan, the stories ring true of small town Alaska in days gone by.