Blood Gold

( 2 )

Overview

The rush to the gold fields of California is on in the lawless year of 1849, and Will Dwinelle has joined the adventurers. Will and his friend Ben brave the shorter but more dangerous route to the West&150across the isthmus of Panama, to the sultry menace of Panama City, and then by sea to San Francisco. Astonishingly, Will is not in search of gold in California. He's out to find and bring home the man who betrayed the honor of a girl back home. Will runs the gauntlet of cholera, snakes, and bandits on his ...

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Overview

The rush to the gold fields of California is on in the lawless year of 1849, and Will Dwinelle has joined the adventurers. Will and his friend Ben brave the shorter but more dangerous route to the West&150across the isthmus of Panama, to the sultry menace of Panama City, and then by sea to San Francisco. Astonishingly, Will is not in search of gold in California. He's out to find and bring home the man who betrayed the honor of a girl back home. Will runs the gauntlet of cholera, snakes, and bandits on his quest. But the contagious greed for instant riches threatens to distract him from his intended mission of honor.

After an arduous journey, Will Dwinelle and his friend Ben finally reach California in 1849 intending to bring home the man who betrayed the honor of a girl back home in Philadelphia, but find themselves tempted by the riches of the Gold Rush.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
The gold rush is on, and Will, age 18, sets out from Philadelphia to California via the dangerous jungle route through the Isthmus of Panama, braving heat and cholera. He's seeking a young man named Ezra, who loved and then abandoned a good friend of Will's, but soon this purpose fades in importance as Will and his friend Ben get caught up in their own adventures. Ben meets a comely actress in San Francisco, while Will finds work driving a team of horses up to the gold fields, and meets Florence, a spirited and appealing girl. Will isn't the only one searching for Ezra, it turns out; several menacing men are hunting him down too, and Will finds himself in danger in the wilds of the Wild West. Cadnum, author of many other YA novels (e.g., Ship of Fire and The Book of the Lion), does his usual excellent job integrating historical research into an exciting story, and this would make an interesting supplement to a study of the gold rush era. We never get to know Ezra or Elizabeth, however, and I'm not quite sure why Cadnum needed these characters to kick off the plot—the danger of the trip and Will's adventures would have sufficed. The novel ends a bit abruptly, too, but readers will enjoy the ride. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, Penguin Putnam, Viking, 224p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Paula Rohrlick
Children's Literature
William (Willie) Dwinelle has left his home in Philadelphia for the gold-rich region in California. Leaving at first to try and find Ezra Niven, a young man who had disgraced Willie's friend, Elizabeth, Willie becomes enraptured in the rush for California gold during its first year. Before he can strike it rich, he must battle epidemics, ruffians, and unfamiliar territory, and encounter a new love interest. Michael Cadnum creates a world rich in history and realism. His characters live credibly in their historical settings and seem to come to life. Cadnum masterfully combines history and literature. 2004, Viking, Ages 12 up.
—David Lisk
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Willie Dwinelle has a score to settle with Ezra Nevin. Ezra not only compromised Willie's friend Elizabeth, but also left her unwed to go in search of gold. Always wanting to do what's right, Willie and his friend Ben leave Pennsylvania and set off for California in search of gold, and for Ezra. Their adventure begins in the Panama jungle, which they must walk across to reach the boat destined for San Francisco. There, they confront disease, thievery, bribery, and death. Halfway through the journey, Ben abandons Willie to pursue promises of wealth with a family of actors and romance with their beautiful daughter. Uncertain of their honesty and committed to his quest, "Reverend Willie" carries on to the hills of California in the company of new friends. Finally, he catches up with Ezra but instead of confronting him about Elizabeth, he is forced to face down Ezra's killer. Cadnum has an uncanny ability to formulate character descriptions through creative analogies and well-thought-out first-person perspectives. This novel is fast paced, and although it is peppered with numerous people and places, the narration is easy to follow. Additionally, the well-realized settings, which range from remote wildernesses to sprawling cities, create colorful backdrops for Willie's adventure. An enticing read.-Kimberly Monaghan, formerly at Vernon Area Public Library, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
"Every one of you will look death in the eye," warns an old schoolmaster, a veteran of the gold rush. Willie Dwinelle and Ben Pomeroy have feared serpents, spiders, jaguars, bandits, and cholera in their jungle trek on the way to Panama City, and from there they will head to the gold fields of California. But Willie isn't seeking gold; he's out to find the man who wronged his friend Elizabeth back in Philadelphia. Sure enough, he does face death in California, but the journey that began with a score to settle ends with a new place to settle, and Ben's future looks good in this rugged new land. In spite of the elements that ought to ensure a thriller-chapters with cliffhanging endings, gold, grizzlies, thieves, murderers, and disease-the first-person narrative distances the reader from the action, too often reporting events rather than involving the reader in the action. The prose is lively, though over-written at times. Still, it's a spirited introduction to the gold rush for older readers. (Fiction. 12+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670058846
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/11/2004
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.66 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Cadnum is the author of many highly acclaimed young adult novels.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2008

    The Bloody Rush for Gold

    Willie is an eighteen year old boy who is heading for California to get some gold, but he finds himself dealing with thugs and thieves. Can Willie survive the agony of the California Gold Rush, find out by reading the book Blood Gold. What I liked about this book is that it takes place in history. Another reason I liked was that I could relate to some of the problems because I have seen movies that have alike problems. The movies The Cowboys because it takes place in the same time period and it involves people who quit there jobs so they can look for gold. In this book the first couple chapters were not very action packed but by chapter three, the action was unlimited. The book Blood Gold is not part of a series but there are books like this. The people I would recommend this book to be one who likes action and adventure. You don¿t necessarily have to like history. This book is like an adventure book by Gary Paulsen and Will Hobbs because it has many details and stuff. This book is written in first person. There are about ten to fifteen characters, not hard to follow. I think you will enjoy this adventurous book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2007

    A Gold Mining Adventure

    The gold rush of 1849 is on. Will Dwinelle and Ben are in search of a man named Erza Nevinin California for betraying a friend of theirs named Elizabeth back in Philadelphia. Will and Ben make a treacherous journey through the jungle battling all the hard ships such as disease and murder. Will gets a job running people up and down the mountain that are digging for gold. While he was looking for Erza he gets distracted with all the gold. I liked the danger in the book. There were lots of occasions that Will and Ben could have gotten hurt like the jungle, Erza, and the diseases. I disliked the parts of the book that were slow like the way to California, and it took a long time to find Erza. Also after they found Erza they didn¿t do much about it. If you are an adventure kind of person you would like this book. If you like the authors Gary Paulsen or Will Hobbs you would like the author Michael Cadum. He is kind of an advanced writer from Gary Paulsen and Will Hobbs. Michael Cadum is the kind of author that leads you to believe one thing and then throws you overboard with an unexpected twist.

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