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Peril Finders

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By: (1831-1909)

In California settlers are trying to make a living working as fruit-growers. Problems with blights and insects mean that the crops are failing. A prospector arrives and tells stories of ancient cities where there is a lot of gold. He then dies. Some of the settlers decide to go and search for the gold. They have long distances to travel and meet many challenges along the way. They eventually reach one of these cities and find evidence that it has been abandoned by invaders hundreds or thousands of years ago. They then get attacked by Apaches but manage to beat them off and carry on. After spending several years travelling they decide to go back to California where they find that all the other settlers have left, but the fruit farms are blossoming.

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The Peril Finders, by George Manville Fenn.

This is a long and excellent book, though a rare one, and is George Manville Fenn at his very best. It starts in California, where several settlers had been trying to gain a living as fruit growers, but the various blights and insects were getting the upper hand, and failure was in the air all round. One day an aged and deranged old prospector comes there, having walked in from the mountains and salt plains, many hundreds of miles away. He has a belt with some excellent samples of gold, and a story that there are ancient cities out there, where gold is abundant. He has a few lucid moments just before dying. Some of the settlers decide that they might as well give up, and go in search of these gold mountains and their ancient cities.

The distances are huge. There are episodes with rattle snakes which are brilliantly written. Eventually they come to one of these cities, carved into the rock. They find evidence that the city had been sacked by invaders, many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years before... Continue reading book >>

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