I came upon a list of One Hundred Best Sellers of the Last One Hundred Years, so because I am down to my last 3,000 books on my TBR list, it was only natural that see what they were. Understand, these are not necessarily the BEST books of each year, but the BEST SELLERS of each year. Well, dang if a bunch didn’t seem like possibilities, so I snagged some, and you will be thrilled to know that these early years, from 1918 are most of them on Project Gutenberg FOR FREE! I do so love free. Oh, yeah. If you would like to take a look at that list for yourself, it is here.
So here’s one of the first I have read. It is by a guy named Curwood, who, it turns out, was a prolific writer of wilderness adventure stories, and an avid environmentalist. Some of his books were even made into movies as late as the nineties!
The plot to this one I lifted whole from a reviewer named Tweety, who has my undying love because I didn’t have to come up with the plot myself. hahaha
John Keith has been hunted like a fox for the last three years by a man named Derwent Conniston, a Monty hunter. Three long years of cold, starvation and abject misery. He camped with Eskimos who were themselves in dire straits and was only stopped from going mad by being caught by Conniston.
In the weeks that follow however, Keith and Conniston bond in a friendship stronger than death. The two have more in common than just being the same age minus a few weeks, they look enough alike to be twins. Conniston has a frostbitten lung and a short time to live so Keith ‘dies’ and a ‘new’ Conniston is born. But Conniston dies before he manages to utter one final important message about his past, and Keith must bluff his way either to a new life or the hangman.
A great many complications come up, Keith fools most, but can he pull the wool over the discerning eyes of Shan Toug? And whatever will he do when Conniston’s sister shows up? Worse, blackmail, murder and a sinister plot unfold from Shan Toug’s kimono. A sweet love story is also part of the plot, but what does one do when the girl believes you are her brother? And will she want a murderer?
It is not a particularly original plot, even for 1919 when it was published, but it was certainly a fun read. I have a couple more of his books, which I intend to read, seeing as how this one was a great antidote for the dreariness of Edgar Sawtelle.