Buck, a huge, four-year-old half-Saint Bernard and half-Scottish shepherd dog, is living a life of civilized ease in California’s Santa Clara Valley in the home of Judge Miller. It seems to be the best of all possible worlds, for Buck is the most prized animal that the Judge owns. Around this time, however, gold is discovered in the great North, and large dogs suddenly become tremendously valuable because these types of dogs are needed to haul the heavy sleds through the deep snow fields.
Tragically, for Buck, one of the Judge’s servants (an addictive gambler) steals Buck and sells him to a ring of thieves who are making a great deal of money by buying and selling dogs to northern traders. He is then passed from one owner to another, often being treated harshly, until he is taken in by a nice man named John Thornton who treats him with love and respect.
After John Thornton’s death, Buck is free of all his attachments to civilization, and so he joins the wild wolves, and as legend has it, he becomes the sire of a new breed of wild dogs which still exists in the wild places of the Great North, loping through the cold nights, with Buck leading them, singing “the song of the pack.”
I usually dislike books with animals for main characters, but I felt like this book was written so well that I did not have trouble getting sucked into the story. What happens to Buck often broke my heart, but I really enjoyed the journey with him in the wilderness and it ends really well. – Jessica, Teen Librarian