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North to the Rails: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 1982
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From the Back Cover
Tom Chantry vowed he would live his life without ever carrying a gun. But when he drives a herd of cattle north of Dodge, he discovers that life is treacherous for an unarmed man -- especially for one who's been branded a coward. On the drive, Chantry encounters some of the land's most dangerous characters -- from notorious gunman French Williams and the murderous Talrim brothers, to a threatening tribe of Kiowa and an enigmatic femme fatale. As the drive twists Chantry's past and present together into a tangle of guilt, redemption, and buried family history, the line between friends and enemies grows faint -- and Chantry must sort out the people he can trust from those who want to do him harm....
More About the Author
It is doubtful that any author could be as at home in the world re-created in his novels as Louis Dearborn L'Amour. Not only could he physically fill the boots of the rugged characters he wrote about, but he literally "walked the land my characters walk." His personal experiences as well as his lifelong devotion to historical research combined to give Mr. L'Amour the unique knowledge and understanding of people, events, and the challenge of the American frontier that became the hallmarks of his popularity.
Of French-Irish descent, Mr. L'Amour could trace his own in North America back to the early 1600s and follow their steady progression westward, "always on the frontier." As a boy growing up in Jamestown, North Dakota, he absorbed all he could about his family's frontier heritage, including the story of his great-grandfather who was scalped by Sioux warriors.
Spurred by an eager curiosity and desire to broaden his horizons, Mr. L'Amour left home at the age of fifteen and enjoyed a wide variety of jobs, including seaman, lumberjack, elephant handler, skinner of dead cattle, and miner, and was an officer in the transportation corps during World War II. During his "yondering" days he also circled the world on a freighter, sailed a dhow on the Red Sea, was shipwrecked in the West Indies and stranded in the Mojave Desert. He won fifty-one of fifty-nine fights as a professional boxer and worked as a journalist and lecturer. He was a voracious reader and collector of rare books. His personal library contained 17,000 volumes.
Mr. L'Amour "wanted to write almost from the time I could talk." After developing a widespread following for his many frontiers and adventure stories written for fiction magazines, Mr. L'Amour published his first full length novel, Hondo, in the United States in 1953. Every one of his more than 120 books is in print; there are more than 300 million copies of his books in print worldwide, making him one of the bestselling authors in modern literary history. His books have been translated into twenty languages, and more than forty-five of his novels and stories have been made into feature films and television movies.
The recipient of many great honor and awards, in 1983 Mr. L'Amour became the first novelist to ever to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by the United States Congress in honor of his life's work. In 1984 he was also awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Reagan.
Louis L'Amour died on June 10, 1988. His wife, Kathy, and their two children, Beau and Angelique, carry the L'Amour publishing tradition forward with new books written by the author during his lifetime to be published by Bantam.
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Top Customer Reviews
Then Tom shocks everyone with how much nerve he has. He makes a deal with French Williams, a well-known man who everyone accuses of stealing cattle though there is no proof. He is said to be able to swindle anyone out of a cow deal. Tom says to Williams that if French Williams will supply the men to help take the herd to the rails, Chantry will give him some shares of the profit. Then Tom makes the deal more interesting. He says that if he himself can't keep up with the outfit and doesn't make it to Dodge City, French Williams will get all of the profit. Williams agrees to it.
Now Tom must be sure to keep up with the herd. But everyone forgets that his father was the famous Borden Chantry and that Tom knows what he's doing. Though at first he is against having a gun, he buys himself a gun and a rifle. And not only does he know how to shoot, he knows how to fight. Local outlaws and gunmen mistake him for a victim but they were going to learn that he is no greenhorn and not a man to be trifled with.
This is a great book to read!! When I first read it, I had such a hard time putting it down when I had to do other things. I couldn't stop reading it. It's very exciting and suspenseful. The character of Tom Chantry is really likable and I was rooting him on throughout the whole book.Read more ›
NORTH TO THE RAILS tells the story of young Tom Chantry, a businessman from New York who journeys to rugged Nevada and quickly garners a reputation for cowardice when he backs out of a gunfight. This hampers his attempts to purchase a herd of cattle as most folks in the Old West hold the quality of courage in high esteem, and no one now trusts Chantry. Tom does finally end up with steer when he makes a chancy deal with French Williams, a cattleman of canny but dubious nature. The deal is that Williams and his shifty cowhands will herd the beef if Chantry accompanies them for the duration of the cattle drive. If, at any time, Chantry falls out before the trail's end, then Williams gets every last steer for himself.
Williams doesn't waste time in testing Chantry's mettle as he comes up with challenges and obstacles for Tom. But, here's the thing: just because a man doesn't believe in killing doesn't mean he won't fight for what he believes in. And Chantry may now be from the soft and civilized East, but he was born in the wild West, and his father, who had been a respected marshall, had taught him some things...
Two things about the prolific Mr.Read more ›
I probably won't review many westerns, but this is a great one if you don't know which of his dozens to choose.
"I believe a lot more can be done by reason than by guns," says the man, Tom Chantry, whose father Borden was killed by the gun (and was the subject of another L'Amour western.) Arguing against that philosophy are several nasty cowpokes, including the cunning French Williams, who schemes to take Chantry's cattle away from him even as he goes through the motions of helping him out.
That's not really a spoiler, as French is curiously upfront about what he's up to, in an amiably roundabout way. Williams is one of many welcome elements in L'Amour's 1971 novel, giving you what you expect in terms of the flavor of the Old West, but not in the expected ways.
When we first meet Tom Chantry, he's about to be dry-gulched by the nasty Talrim brothers. "This is raw country," he is told later, after he explains his policy about weapons. "The good folks are good because it's their nature, and the bad can run to meanness until someone fetches them up short."
L'Amour seems at times to be making points to modern audiences, as the early 1970s were about the time people began arguing about American firearms laws, questioning precisely those tenets of liberty and self-protection L'Amour's oeuvre espoused. For L'Amour, it's a question of circumstances. In the East, people can count on police and a code of refinement to keep them safe and unchallenged.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A bit macabre in places and some surprising twists...a little different from some of this others but still a great read.Published 6 months ago by Donna C.