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The Alaskan Adventures of Percy Hope

Hope City - The Goldfield Trilogy - Book 1

The Prairies Book Review:

“A sweeping, adventurous tale…

Set in 1898, Gordon’s briskly paced, highly entertaining tale focuses on a teenage Jewish boy who ventures into the wilderness of Alaskan goldfields to seek his fortune but finds himself in the middle of a war between the good and evil. When 17-year-old Samuel Rothman boarded a ship from San Francisco with his best friend Liam Kampen for Alaska to try his luck in gold mining, he had nothing else but a bit of adventure and some riches on his mind. But seeking a fortune in a small Alaskan town where the good and the righteous are relentlessly in a war with their ruthless opponents is not as easy as it seems on the surface: Samuel must tread his way carefully or risk losing himself to the wild, unforgiving Alaskan terrains.

An adventurous story at heart, the narrative goes far beyond the exploration of Samuel’s journey as a gold-digger in the small mining town: Gordon sweeps Samuel up in the turmoil of a town torn apart by a ruthless war between the good and the greedy, creating a remarkable coming-of-age story as the latter realizes his true aspirations.

Gordon’s beautifully imagined prose has clarity and dimension, and he keeps the pacing relatively quick and does justice to the impressive array of characters. Samuel’s emergence from a typical teenage self-doubt is beautifully imagined. Ripe on unforeseen twists and shocking turns, this fast-paced adventure will delight action-adventure fans as well as lovers of nuanced coming-of-age tales.

…this is a complete entertainment package.”

Book summary:

Warned by his father to conceal his Jewish heritage from the ruffians he may encounter, Samuel Rothman changes his name to the less conspicuous Percy Hope. This fateful decision gives a yet-unnamed mining village a new identity and catapults Percy into a world where the good and the righteous must face greedy and ruthless adversaries. Along a waterway known as Turnagain Arm, the newly named Hope City and the more established Sunrise are like opposite sisters. The good and virtuous Hope, with a Catholic church led by the influential Reverend O’Hara, admonishes residents against committing the seven deadly sins. In Sunrise, villainous saloon owner Magnus Vega tempts prospectors with whiskey, gambling, and women. Hope City weaves the tale of a young man falling down a rabbit hole of unexpected hardships and struggling to find his way out, amid a wild and unforgiving environment where ambitious men and women seek their fortunes. This fast-paced adventure is full of unforeseen twists and will delight all readers looking for a rich and dramatic page-turner with a shocking twist.

Hope City back story:

In 2019, I visited Hope, Alaska, a small town hugging Turnagain Arm on the Kenai Peninsula. This was not my first time to this former gold mining site, but was to become a significant one.

It was during this two-week vacation, visiting my close friends—Tom and Barbara Miller and their sons—Sam and Jack, when inspiration created a story. The tale was told by Jeannine Jabaay, owner of the fabulous Hope City restaurant—The Dirty Skillet. During our conversation over delicious wine and great food, Jeannine shared with me a history of Hope and how it got its name.

“What I know for pretty sure: Even before the Yukon, Hope is the original place that gold was discovered in the north. More than 8,000 folks came to Hope with the dream of finding their fortune in the Six Mile and Resurrection Creeks. Hotels, social halls, banks, restaurants and brothels quickly dotted the small community, with new arrivals coming daily by boat, foot and wagon. But there was no town name. Some township leaders decided that the place would be named after next person off the boat. When Percy Hope stepped foot off the boat, he had no idea that he was about to leave his legacy. Hope, Alaska is named after a young man who wanted to stake his fortune in Alaska. Little else is known about Percy Hope. His name seems to practically disappear from the history books.”

"What I’m not quite as sure of but are gonna say as fact anyways: After landing in town, Percy Hope tried his luck for many months in the waters of the Resurrection Creek and Six Mile Creek. Although he managed to pan a few gold flakes, he never did strike it rich. He did, however, gather enough gold to purchase an old dirty skillet. With that skillet, Percy Hope made his name by providing hearty, heaping, home-style cooked foods for the other prospectors and their families. Percy Hope's legacy lives on here at Dirty Skillet.”

Before Jeannine could finish, an idea for a novel was born and less than a year later, Hope City - The Alaskan Adventures of Percy Hope was published. Curious to know more of Percy’s fabulous adventures, I wrote Cape Nome as its sequel, and just this year I completed the story of this young man’s journey by publishing Denali, the final book in the Goldfield Trilogy.

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