Snowbound Gold

I discovered the Far North as a teenager, devouring the novels of Jack London. The immense regions of ice and snow he described fascinated me. I said to myself: that’s where I want to be.

But when I went to Lapland, at the age of 17 for the first time, I was completely ignorant of this world. I could fish for hours without catching a thing, walk all day without sighting a partridge. I had everything still to learn.

That’s where my novel, Snowbound Gold, comes from. From this passion and from a true story which has always intrigued me: at the end of the 19th Century, Jack London, participated in the Klondike Gold Rush, an amazing adventure which saw tens of thousands of Americans and Canadians lose themselves in Alaska, in an unexplored desert of snow and ice. All of this happened simply because of a headline in newspapers announcing “tons of gold an Alaska”. These words, “tons of gold”, were the spark that set off the most incredible gold rush that the United States has ever known. From one day to the next, workers, doctors, farmers, even the mayor of Seattle, abandoned everything, their wives, their children their work, on a simple whim.

Of course, they had no idea of the horrors awaiting them. Overcrowded conditions, cold, starvation, life in the gold mines…

I imagined among them, a young farmer, who would have been, like I was, when I discovered the Polar Regions. So ignorant, he constantly puts his life in danger, but passionate and eager to learn. Very soon, he will be torn between the spell of gold and a love for this sublime country that is being devastated by overexploitation of the rivers and the forests. He must find a way to survive because he refuses to be a miner. For him, the mine is a form of slavery. Of course, he could go home, but he feels, there is a place for him in this untamed country. Because, in truth, what he really thirsts for is adventure, not gold. And at the end of his apprenticeship, the greatest of riches awaits him: he is going to become a man.

Author's interview

I discovered the Far North as a teenager, devouring the novels of Jack London. The immense regions of ice and snow he described fascinated me. I said to myself: that’s where I want to be.

But when I went to Lapland, at the age of 17 for the first time, I was completely ignorant of this world. I could fish for hours without catching a thing, walk all day without sighting a partridge. I had everything still to learn.

That’s where my novel, Snowbound Gold, comes from. From this passion and from a true story which has always intrigued me: at the end of the 19th Century, Jack London, participated in the Klondike Gold Rush, an amazing adventure which saw tens of thousands of Americans and Canadians lose themselves in Alaska, in an unexplored desert of snow and ice. All of this happened simply because of a headline in newspapers announcing “tons of gold an Alaska”. These words, “tons of gold”, were the spark that set off the most incredible gold rush that the United States has ever known. From one day to the next, workers, doctors, farmers, even the mayor of Seattle, abandoned everything, their wives, their children their work, on a simple whim.

Of course, they had no idea of the horrors awaiting them. Overcrowded conditions, cold, starvation, life in the gold mines…

I imagined among them, a young farmer, who would have been, like I was, when I discovered the Polar Regions. So ignorant, he constantly puts his life in danger, but passionate and eager to learn. Very soon, he will be torn between the spell of gold and a love for this sublime country that is being devastated by overexploitation of the rivers and the forests. He must find a way to survive because he refuses to be a miner. For him, the mine is a form of slavery. Of course, he could go home, but he feels, there is a place for him in this untamed country. Because, in truth, what he really thirsts for is adventure, not gold. And at the end of his apprenticeship, the greatest of riches awaits him: he is going to become a man.

Nicolas Vanier

Reviews

“A hymn to nature and freedom.”
Télé 7 Jeux

“The unbelievable odyssey of the Alaskan gold rush.”
Paris Match

“A hymn to wild nature, where man has to adapt or die.”
Le Figaro

“A prodigious breath of Alaska.”
Le Parisien, Aujourd’hui en France

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Foreign versions

Sold in 3 languages

  • Germany: Piper Verlag
  • The Netherlands: Oy Valitut Palat - Readers' Digest

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