Henry and Bill are mushing with their dog team in the frozen snow-blanketed wilds of the frosty Northland. Six dogs, six fish, except they're one fish short. How can that be? Then, seven dogs, and how can THAT be? Then five, then four, then three.
There are starving wolves about, a dozen at least, stalking them, growing hungrier by the hour. One more dog is lured by a she-wolf and devoured, along with Bill. Soon, only Henry remains. The pack disperses, eventually only the she-wolf Kiche and her mate, Old One Eye, remain. Eventually, there are five more ... little bundles of fur; one, the fiercest of the litter, as gray as the old one.
He is White Fang. In time, only he and his mother are left, the other pups claimed by famine and the old one by a hungry lynx. The older he gets, the braver he becomes, first breaking through that white wall of light at the end of the den, then experiencing the thrill of his first kill, the deception of water's surface, and the value of caution. He grows, and he learns.
Comes the time when they stumble upon Gray Beaver, the Indian who once owned Kiche, and who now reclaims her, along with White Fang, as his own. Adjusting to a domesticated life, he encounters Lip-Lip, a bully pup who uses him as his personal whipping boy. When Kiche is sent away as debt repayment, White Fang loses his personal protector.
Through the harsh realities of living with humans, White Fang develops his values – devotion to his master, obedience, protection of his master's child, bravery and dominance. When Grey Beaver succumbs to the clench of alcohol, White Fang has to a deal with two new masters, one cruel, the other every canine's dream.
White Fang and master move to California, where he proves his worth to his master's father, and a female sheepdog to whom he offers his troth. Life, as they say, is good at last.
Jack London writes about White Fang through the use of anthropomorphism, aka personification, in which human qualities are conferred upon non-human creatures. Thus, we are able to discern the wolf-dog's state of mind through its very thoughts. This technique adds so much to the story, helping us identify with the animal character instead of simply observing it from afar.
It was most enjoyable to re-read White Fang, having first read it when I was a lad in intermediate school. It was gripping then, and it’s gripping today.
Although the publication date of this eBook edition is noted as 2012, White Fang was first published as a 1906 serial in Outing magazine. It is a companion novel to Jack London's Call of the Wild.
Amazon Digital Services, Kindle edition (.99 list)