Jack London in Paradise
The name stands for adventure.
Explorer. Social activist. Romantic. Self-educated genius. White Fang. Call of the Wild. Martin Eden. The Sea-Wolf. Generations worldwide have been thrilled by his tales, probably never realizing how true to life they really were. He did not imagine the hardships and brutality of life in the Yukon, on the high seas, or in the back alleys of Oakland. He lived them. Few men were his equal and only one woman ever fully captivated his heart. By the time he was forty, no American was more famous. And in the winter of 1915, the great writer set sail on one last adventure.
But in this story of that adventure, he is being hunted.
Hobart Bosworth -- an aging matinee idol and filmmaker -- is desperate for one more Jack London picture to save his career. Hollywood machinations have driven a wedge between him and his old friend. He has tracked Jack and his wife, Charmian, from the mysterious ruins of their once-magnificent Wolf House across the Pacific to the volcanic islands of Hawaii. The Jack London he finds here is a man half mad with visions, a man struggling with the ghosts of his past, the erotic temptations of the island paradise, and his own wolflike nature.
Now Hobart's original goal -- to save his studio -- has become a desperate struggle to save his friend and preserve the icon he has become. With or without Charmian London's help.
A romantic novel of sweeping passions and raw adventure set against an unforgettable, sultry backdrop, Jack London in Paradise vividly imagines the last year in the life of a legendary man nearly everyone knows about, but few actually know.
The salad days of Hollywood intersect with Jack London's final days in this spirited but loquacious imagining of the author's volatile relationship with real-life actor and filmmaker Hobart Bosworth. It's 1916, and Bosworth, director of half a dozen highly successful films of London's works, is desperate for a hit to bail out his sinking studio. His only recourse is to travel to Hawaii and ask his estranged friend for an original script to film. London offers a somewhat unlikely adaptation of his prehistoric epic, Before Adam, for which Bosworth gives a dry run as a short-lived stage vehicle cast with the local natives. Malmont (The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril) crafts an entertaining buddy story, but as the novel's focus shifts from Bosworth to London, the plot wanders distractingly all over the map and dissipates its dramatic impact in a surfeit of subplots. Some judicious edits could have made this novel as taut and lean as one of its subject's tales.