Monthly Archives: April 2012

To the Far Blue Mountains by Louis L’Amour

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“Where go the years? Down what tunnel of time are poured the precious days?

We are young, and the fires within us burn bright. All the world lies before us and nothing is too great to be done, no challenge too awesome.

Then suddenly the days are no more, the years are gone, and the time that remains is little indeed.”

-Louis L’Amour

To the Far Blue Mountains” is my new favorite Sackett book. I knew when I read “Sackett’s Land” that I was going to love the whole Sackett series, but now I’m wondering how I will enjoy any book more than this one.

Barnabas Sackett, who was introduced to us in the first book, follows his dream to settle in Raleigh’s land, and build a family. We find him in the beginning of the book settling his affairs at home. Making sure his family’s land will be cared for until a time that a son or grandson comes back to claim it. Setting in place a network of trustworthy men to handle the business of trade he will send their way. Tying up all loose ends so that he is free to pursue his dream in the new lands.

As always, Sackett is pursued by those who are motivated by greed and evil intentions. As a result of this pursuit, when he leaves England, it is with the knowledge that he will never be able to return to his homeland. This second book is filled with intrigue and adventure. Barnabas runs into his fair share, and sometimes more, of bad luck, yet he manages to finish on top. “It was true I had done well with my fishing in troubled water, but more by good fortune than by my own efforts, although I had not hesitated when it was time to act, and sometimes that is the whole face of it.” I love this statement about “good luck.” That sometimes it’s less about whether things are stacked for or against you, but how you deal with what you’ve been presented, and how quickly you respond.

His dealings with people, especially new people, are influenced by the teachings of his father, who taught him things like this,”Be friendly with all men and censure none, tell nobody too much of your affairs and remember in all dealings with men, or women, to keep one hand upon the doorlatch… in your mind, at least.” Thoughts like these help him to escape capture on more than one occasion. But, don’t think that means he is unable to make and keep close friends. No, he is from the fens, and describes the group thus, “We of the fens were a close-mouthed lot, not given to talking to strangers, but with a strong loyalty for one another.” It is loyalty that really shines out of these books most.

Through births and deaths, harsh battles and new allies, L’Amour kept me interested and wanting more with language such as this, “So my son was born on a buffalo robe in the heat of an Indian battle, under a tree by the side of a stream in a wild and lonely land, and he was given his name by a chance remark, a name he would carry forever. For we called him Kin, and thought of no other, and kin he was to all of us, to the meadow, the woodland, and the forest.”

I fear that to tell you everything I loved about this book, would mean to recap the whole thing. This would turn into a plagiarized novel instead of a book review. Therefore, you’ll simply have to read it for yourself. This one is not just a recommendation. It is a plea. Read it. I know you’ll love it.

Sackett’s Land by Louis L’Amour

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I have started reading the Sackett books by Louis L’Amour on recommendation from my husband. Actually, the recommendation was like this, “You will get much insight into my family, especially the men in my family, if you read these books.” So, off I went on an adventure into the wild west. Well, that’s where I thought I was going. As it turns out, the Sackett books begin in England with Barnabas Sackett in “Sackett’s Land

I knew I was going to love the books when I read this in the preface, “History is not made only by kings and parliaments, presidents, wars, and generals. It is the story of people, of their love, honor, faith, hope and suffering; of birth and death, of hunger, thirst and cold, of loneliness and sorrow.” The aim of these books is to tell the History of this great country through the story of people. Namely, the Sackett family.The book begins with Barnabas Sackett coming into some unexpected treasure. In true character, he makes a plan to invest this money into his future. He reaches beyond what he was born into and sets out to a better life for himself and generations to come. He plans to trade with the natives in the New World. His plans however are hijacked by a pirate who is hired to shanghai him into service, and then drop him into a deep bit of ocean. In true Sackett form, he gives the pirates the slip, makes friends with the natives, trades his goods (which he recovered from the pirate ship) and returns to England better off than he left it; with plans to return again and settle in the lands beyond the blue mountains.
Among the things I enjoyed about this book are the ideals that are passed from father to son. Such as this: “Each man owes a debt to his family, his country and his species to leave sons and daughters who will lead, inspire and create.” In a world that so often overlooks strong parenting, it is refreshing to hear the strength and conviction of a man, even fictional, who feels the responsibility of guiding and teaching children so strongly. Even before he has any. This statement also reminds me of my father, who so often tells us that we, his son and daughters, do “lead, inspire and create.” I am grateful to him and my mother for not only feeling, but acting on the responsibility of parenthood so strongly and lovingly.
Another theme that runs through the book is loyalty. Sackett, seemingly arbitrarily, finds strong, fast friends. Often. These friends and he prove their loyalty to each other quickly and often. They are willing to risk life and fortune for each other, and are frequently required to do just that.

Barnabas Sackett reminds us of what we want to be as a nation. Of the character that we expect from our founding fathers. He reminds us of the pride we can have in our country.

“If I was to establish a family, it would be here in this land. And if they were to prosper here, it would have to be in such a way as the land demanded. I had no doubt those distant sons and grandsons would respond, that we Sacketts would establish a place for ourselves here, in this land, this America” -Barnabas Sackett

I absolutely recommend this book. In fact (even without reading them all yet) I recommend the whole series to you, but if you’re not willing to base your enjoyment of a series on my reading of the first book, then stick around. I’ll be reading and reviewing the rest of the books right here.