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Gold Fever
San Francisco 1851

Ken Salter
Gold Fever: San Francisco 1851 by Ken Salter

In 1851, Frenchman Pierre Dubois’ company sends him to San Francisco and northern California. They task him with investigating the plight of several shiploads of poor French workers who have been sent to California by a French mining company, then abandoned with none of the support they were promised for their first two years of mining.

Dubois and his sexy girlfriend Manon sail on the American Clipper, Flying Cloud, for San Francisco at the height of the Gold Rush. It happens to be the trip on which the Flying Cloud sets the record for fastest time from New York to San Francisco, a record which stood for all types of ships until 1989. Manon strives to open a restaurant in California, something she would not be allowed to do in France under the laws of the time.

They arrive in San Francisco with most of the easy to mine gold gone, and boatloads of new gold seekers arriving weekly. The City is a lawless, raucous, dangerous place in 1851, where quarrels are settled by a gun, men outnumber women 100 to one, and crooks rule the streets, bordellos, and gambling palaces. Dubois’ and Manon’s odyssey leads them through Little China’s opium dens, brothels, and gambling lairs, Little Italy’s charming trattorias, and on to the gold fields of the Yuba River where Americans and foreign miners compete in hostile conditions for the rare chance to strike it rich.

After San Francisco is torched by the predatory Sydney Ducks gang and a Committee of Vigilance seeks to hang them, Pierre and Manon must make their way and earn their keep, or return home defeated and impoverished like most who risked life, health and family debt for a dream of riches.

This compelling story is filled with rich historical details, bringing to life all the legendary excitement and chaos of the California Gold Rush: the many ships abandoned in the Bay; the crowded and dirty City filled with immigrants off all kinds; the high prices, shortages of goods, and predatory con artists roaming the City; and the drudgery, rivalries and lawlessness of the mining districts.

“Gold Fever depicts in vivid detail the plight of new immigrants, women and scoundrels in the Gold Rush.”
— Annick Foucrier, professors of North American History at the University of Paris, the Sorbonne, and Director of the Center for North American Research

“...a deftly written historical novel and one in which the author pays close attention to getting the background details right. The result is a riveting, entertaining novel from first page to last. Very highly recommended reading...”
Midwest Book Review

322 pages, 6" x 9", color cover, 4 maps, 25 other illustrations, bibliography. Published by Regent Press.
ISBN 978-1-58790-240-6. Trade paper

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Gold Fever: San Francisco 1851 by Ken Salter inside image

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