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Being a genealogist and family historian, any book that takes people in history and attempts to tell their stories, from their perspective, is one that I want to read. The Floor of Heaven: A True Tale of the Last Frontier and the Yukon Gold Rush by Howard Blum immediately caught my eye. Having been to the base of the Chilkoot Trail and seen the Slide Cemetery and Dyea, to read about some of the characters who lived and fought for survival in these very places was amazing.

The Floor of Heaven follows three historical figures up to and during the Yukon Gold Rush. George Carmack is the one who started the frenzy and made the biggest gold strike in American history. Charlie Siringo, a cowboy-detective, became best known for solving difficult and perplexing cases. Soapy Smith was a con-man gang leader who bamboozled his way to fortune and infamy. Without giving anything away, to see how and when these three figures merge and how the author treats it within the overall story was positively brilliant. I would love to say so much more, but you will have to read for yourself – let me just say that you simply won’t believe it!

At times, the story introduced more characters and details about them than was necessary. I especially found the amount of background information given about characters that only make a quick cameo appearances in the overall story to be overwhelming.

The book has given me a greater curiosity about the Yukon Gold Rush and I am looking forward to finding out about some of the major Canadian players and how they interacted with Carmack, Siringo and Soapy Smith.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5.

I received this book free from Crown Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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