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Book release: The legend of Jake Howell by Charles A Reap Jnr. One of the world's richest and most admired men.

BIO & PERSONAL INFORMATION: Retired dentist. Published: Two textbooks, adjunct dental lecturer. Two novels, two e-books, plus an award-winning illustrated e-book for children. “” ( Former newspaper staff writer and columnist. Stage/screen actor/scriptwriter.

BOOK SYNOPSIS: When he picked up that shiny stone from the small stream, nine-year-old Jake Howell would not have believed that it would trigger America's first gold rush and that he would become one of the world's richest and most admired men.

March, 1803 Jake and his dog, Frisky, had been out on the hunt for nearly four hours, but it had been a frustrating day for the stocky nine-year-old. Much hard labor on his father’s farm had already finely tuned his muscles. Earlier that morning Jake had roamed cautiously through the snow-covered forest, where he had checked each of his rabbit traps and found nothing. He was disappointed that he had shot only three squirrels. Although the weight of his father William’s Kentucky long rifle tested Jake’s muscles, his father had been a stern taskmaster. “Now Jake,” he had said, “Brace against a tree or rock, aim real careful like, take a deep breath, then shoot. Be sure you squeeze the trigger slow.” Jake had often been reminded to handle his father’s inherited rifle with extreme care, because the cost to buy a new one would have been well beyond William’s financial ability. Usually Jake was an accurate marksman, but this just wasn’t his day. There was a stiff wind blowing from

The southwest. He was happy that at least the sun was out, with only an occasional wisp of cloud overhead. Much of last week’s snow was melting and exposing rich moist earth. Perhaps his missing five other squirrels this day was caused by his pique and frustration. He was somewhat angry that his father had sent him into the forest to “bring home some meat.”

“Why didn’t pa come out here himself,” Jake said to Frisky. “Seems to me I could have tended to chopping that firewood instead of him doing it.” Frisky flicked his ears and chased off after a hawk that he had spotted circling closely over a dead field mouse. Jake knew that if he didn’t bring home at least a few rabbits, squirrels or perhaps a small deer, it would mean more biscuits and molasses for tonight’s supper as well as the next day’s meals. Jake thought to himself, I’m tired of molasses and biscuits. Although he felt like his mother was a good cook, he’d had the same boring meals two straight days. They’d eaten the last bit of chicken day before yesterday, and his pa had decreed that no more chickens could be killed until the biddies had grown to full size. Maybe if he caught enough today, he could stay around the house and play with Frisky without all the grown-up pressure of having to go out and try to find meat for the family.

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