NOTE: This is the originally published version. Some minor details have been changed in later revisions. The story, though, remains the same. SEE REVIEWS FAR BELOW.
It is 1883 and you are about to plunge into the peak of nineteenth century lumberjack life in northern Wisconsin. Meet sixteen-year-old Tor Loken, whose father owns a remote lumber camp, the Namakagon Timber Company. Join the fight when a sinister lumber baron takes control of the river, threatening the future of the camp. Learn the way of the woodsman from your mentor, Chief Namakagon. This old hermit just may show you the way to his secret silver mine.
Be at the cook shanty table before dawn for breakfast with the men. Then it’s out into the cuttings where, knee deep in snow, you will help your camp harvest a hundred thousand giant pine logs this season. Hook up the Clydesdales to the water tanker and ice down the trails for the big timber sleighs. Take the train to the city for camp supplies but keep an eye out for cunning charlatans intent on an easy swindle. Spin a yarn or sing along with the other jacks in the bunkhouse. Go to town for a Saturday night of lumberjack merriment but dress warmly; it’s a six hour sleigh ride back to camp at twenty below zero. Come spring, you’ll help drive your camp’s timber down a thundering river, jumping from log to log as they rush downstream. Then it’s time to celebrate. But keep your pocketbook buttoned up when in town; there are bandits and thugs who want to separate you from your generous dollar-a-day wages!
Put on your red wool mackinaw and your calked boots. Grab your peavey or a pike pole. You’re in for a good look at life in the pinery in the 1880s . . . and a twisting, turning, fact-based adventure story that will often leave you breathless.
The legendary lost silver cache of Chief Namakagon will, most likely, be re-discovered one day. It's out there, waiting to be found. This book offers some clues about where to begin your search.
The Treasure of Namakagon is based on history. References to the Namekagon River log drives, life in the logging camps, and fraudulent timber sales are based on true events, as is the gun play that resulted from a ploy to charge for timber floated past the dam. Many historical references help make this tale as close to real life as can be found in a fictional adventure. Although many still search for Chief Namakagon’s secret silver mine, it has yet to be rediscovered.
Publisher’s Weekly Magazine
“… A fascinating tale.” “… Rip-roaring action …” “… So well-written.” “Difficult to put down; a great read.”
“The writing style of this piece is its greatest strength.” “The flow of the words is like an old fashioned song.”
“Wonderfully written …. Compelling …. Captures the reader’s attention and keeps us reading.” A good piece of writing with suspense and action …” Jerry Apps, award-winning Wisconsin author
"Vivifies the tumultuous nature of 19th-century life in the legendary north woods."
Michael Perry, NYT bestselling Wisconsin author
"Open with caution. You won't want to put this one down."
LaMoine MacLaughlin, President, WI Writers Assn.
“It’s the dialog and characters that drive The Treasure of Namakagon. It appears as if author James A. Brakken is determined to make a go of this series, and … he’s made at least one fan of this reader.” Judge, Writer’s Digest Book Awards
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