Jack London is perhaps best known for his much-loved tales of the great outdoors in novels such as "The Call of the Wild" and "White Fang", for which he drew on his experiences of the harshest environments as a seaman and as a prospector in Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush. London became seriously ill due to the privations of life in Alaska and returned home to Oakland, San Francisco, where he embarked on a career as a writer. His first novel, "A Daughter of the Snows", was published in 1902 but it was his second novel, "The Call of the Wild", that made him truly famous. Published without any great expectations for commercial success, the story of the pet dog turned wolf pack leader became a huge bestseller. "White Fang", like "The Call of the Wild", explores the theme of contrast between civilization and savagery when a wild wolf cub is brought up by humans only to become a champion fighting dog. "The Game" revolves around London's favourite sport of boxing. Joe Fleming is a prize fighter and, on the eve of his wedding, his fiancee agrees to watch his last ever fight.
"The Scarlet Plague" was first published in 1912 but tells of a disease that wipes out most of the world's population in 2012. The story is set sixty years later as one of the survivors attempts to pass on a lifetime of wisdom and experience to his grandsons. "The Star Rover" is a prison tale in which the main character endures torture sessions, surviving by entering a trance-like state, when he walks among the stars and experiences past lives.
Jack London was born in San Francisco in 1876. As a young man, London was to work on seal hunting ships, in a jute mill and in a power plant before becoming a vagrant and spending 30 days in Erie County Penitentiary. Deciding to complete his education, London earned a place at UC Berkeley, although he was to quit school after only a year and head for the Klondike Gold Rush. Still only 22 when he had his first work published, London's writing career was to span 18 years up to his death in 1916.