Book: Gold - A tale of the California gold rush by Steve Bartholomewcategories: Book, Early California, Side Wheel Steamer, Sea Story, Pioneers, 19th Century, Western Historical, Historical Fiction, Gold Rush
Steve Bartholomewabout this book: I must admit that of my published novels, "Gold, a tale of the California gold rush," is in many ways my favorite story. This is in part because of personal, sentimental reasons. I greatly enjoyed researching it, discovering how much literature I could find on the subject of side wheel steam ships, and the sea route to Calfiornia. "Gold" was an Eppie awards finalist for 2009.
Imagine you're living on a small, isolated planet where you have to work twelve or sixteen hours a day just to earn enough money to stay alive, and where it's freezing cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. You're sharing rooms with maybe several other people you barely know; the future seems to offer only more of the same.
Suddenly you're given a chance. You can travel to a far distant world, if you can come up with about two hundred dollars for the ticket. This new planet is warm all the time, uncrowded, with limitless opportunity. And you can become fabulously rich by just picking up gold off the ground. Why, even the servants there are rich! Oh, there's a couple of drawbacks: You will have to travel in a ship using radically new and untested technology. You will be crowded in with a thousand other passengers and crew, but out of contact with the rest of humanity for weeks at a time. During the passage you will be eating mainly dried meat and beans, no fresh fruit or veggies. And one other thing: the ship might possibly explode at any moment.
That was the situation emigrants to California found themselves in when they shipped aboard a steam ship from the east coast. Thousands more traveled that way than came by wagon train. "Gold" is the story of a few of these emigrants, and how their lives were changed by the journey.
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