The Elephant's Grip
by Raymond Lowrie
The Wild Rose Press

"Gold filled my thoughts, and the word sprang from my lips. Just saying gold made me feel good."

People are always looking for a way to strike it rich, whether it be by playing the lottery, giveaways, or other types of get-rich schemes. In Lowrie’s novel, Jeremy is no different. Living in a small town during the gold rush of the 1800’s, Jeremy dreams of becoming rich quickly. It consumes his thoughts until, against his father’s practical views and wishes, Jeremy goes in search of gold at Pike’s Peak with his estranged and rather erratic step-uncle Daemon. What Jeremy envisions as an easy road to affluence turns into an unexpected, difficult adventure that will forever leave an impression.

Lowrie paints a vivid, fascinating picture of Jeremy’s world: the mad dash and hopes of a gold seeker. In painstaking details, the reader sees the hardships that Jeremy encounters—slavery, the hardships of the environment, conflicts with other gold seekers, thieves, and, eventually, love. This is a classic story of a young man’s call to adventure, focusing more on Jeremy’s development from a naive farm boy to an experienced, world-worn adult with the gold rush serving as a backdrop.

Lowrie does a wonderful job of weaving in historical and technical details surrounding surveying, mining, and prospecting, which meld nicely with the development of Jeremy’s character. In the end, when Jeremy returns home, he is the wiser for his experiences out in the world. The dynamic between him, the people in his town, and even his own father, changes. More importantly, Lowrie shows that while Jeremy has grown and changed due to his circumstances, he is not corrupted by the greed of the other gold seekers. The author’s book should appeal to readers who enjoy Early American historical fiction, particularly those who desire books focused character development.

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