The Gold Hunter is the first novel in the Goldfinder Series by Philip Atlas Clausen that tells the story of a bunch of Gold explorers. Set up in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada and the forests and valleys during the California Gold Rush the story comes alive in the lively description of the nature by the author. The atrocities done by the white people on the native Red Indians during the European Settlement is shown in proper light. The underlying message of the story is the fact that the greed of humankind is the evil which is the cause of most of the crimes. The protagonists of the story are strong but it is not overcrowded with many characters making the story easy to follow. The ending of the book keeps the reader waiting for a ‘poetic justice’. It has a flavor of thriller in the envelope of adventure. This book has been one of my best reads so far.
Pros: I enjoyed the book! Beautiful writing, gorgeous images of colorful scenery. I really enjoyed the novel. I got emotionally invested in the entire family. I really was rooting for a full happy ending for everyone. But sadly, it all went downhill when Annabel went missing. The plot twist caught me off guard, King being Petr’s dad!?!? I hope we get to know more of his birth mom in the next installment.
I thoroughly enjoyed the fantasy element in this book. I wasn’t expecting any fantasy/mystical things when I first saw the title and book cover but I’m glad the author managed to write that in .
I’ll be eagerly waiting for the next book as I would love to continue to follow Petr’s journey and see him and Annabel reunited again. Cons: none.
The novel in its entirety is akin to the process of gold hunting itself. Filled with hope and uncertainty, you plunge straight into the darkness of a gold mine–digging, scraping and smashing until the bits of treasure start to gleam amidst the murky shadows. It’s a story within a story–an adventure within an adventure. There was a little philosophical and existential cynicism injected here and there which I really enjoyed and added an introspective dimension to the story. What stood out for me is Annabel’s story. I think it would’ve made for an inspiring children’s tale of self-discovery and growth on its own. Her bravery to venture into the unknown coupled with her unwavering tenacity to survive was emotionally stirring for an eight-year-old.
I’d love to see this adapted into a film someday. The setting, the premise, the character development–everything was beautifully narrated and conceptualized. If you want to get a compelling insight into the realities of the California Gold Rush, this is your pick.