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Rivers West
     

Rivers West

3.9 10
by Louis L'Amour
 

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His dream was to build magnificent steamboats to ply the rivers of the American frontier. But when Jean Talon began his journey westward, he stumbled upon a deadly conspiracy involving a young woman’s search to find her missing brother, and a ruthless band of renegades. Led by the brazen Baron Torville, this makeshift army of opportunists is plotting a violent

Overview

His dream was to build magnificent steamboats to ply the rivers of the American frontier. But when Jean Talon began his journey westward, he stumbled upon a deadly conspiracy involving a young woman’s search to find her missing brother, and a ruthless band of renegades. Led by the brazen Baron Torville, this makeshift army of opportunists is plotting a violent takeover of the Louisiana Territory. Jean swears to find a way to stop this daring plan. If he doesn’t, it will not only put an end to all his dreams; it will change the course of history—and destroy the promise of the American frontier.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553254365
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/28/1993
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
151
Sales rank:
453,591
Product dimensions:
4.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
760L (what's this?)

Read an Excerpt

A ghost trail, a dark trail, a trail endlessly winding.  A dark cavern under enormous trees, down which blew a cold wind that skimmed the pools with ice.  A corduroy road made from logs laid side by side, logs slippery with rotting vegetation from the swamp.

Here and there a log had sunk deep, leaving a cleft into which a suddenly plunged foot could mean a broken leg, and on either side of the swamp ... well, some said it was bottomless.  Horses had sunk there, never to be seen again-and men, also.

My father's house lay several days behind me, back of a shoulder on the Quebec shore above the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  For days I had been walking southward.  An owl glided past with great, slow wings, and out in the swamp some unseen creature moved, seemed to pause, listen.

Was that a step behind me?

Astride a gap between logs, I paused, half turned to look.

Nothing.  I must have been mistaken.  Yet, I had heard something.

My shoulders ached from the burden of my tools.  Straining my eyes in hte darkness, I looked for a place to stop, any place which to rest, if ever so briefly.  And then I saw a wide stump from which a tree had been sawed, a full six feet in diameter.  The tree cut from it lay in the swamp close by, half sunk.

With my left hand I swung my tools to the stump, keeping the rifle in my right, ready for use.  This was a wild place.  There were few travelers, and fewer still were honest men.  Young I might be, but not trusting.

For the first time I was leaving my home, going south from Canada into the United States.  Westward, it was said, they were building, and we are builders, we Talons.

There was a time when at least one of the family had been a pirate.  He had been a privateer in the waters of the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal, and the Red Sea, but mostly off the Coromandel and Malabar coasts of India.  He'd done well, too, or so it was said.  I'd seen none of the treasure he was said to have brought away.

What was that?  I half rose from my seat on the stump, then settled back, holding my rifle in both hands.

It was cold, growing colder.

Behind me, on the Gaspé, I had left my father's cottage and the good will of at least some of my neighbors.  My father was gone.  My mother had died when I was yet a young boy, and I had no sweetheart.

Of course, there had been a girl.  We had roamed the fields together as children, danced together, even talked of marriage.  That was before a man far wealthier than I had come to see her father.  To be wealthier than I was not difficult, for I had only the cottage inherited from my father, a few acres adjoining, a small fishing boat, and my trade.  And she was ambitious.

The other man was a merchant with many acres, a three-masted schooner trading along the coast, and a store.  He was a landed, a moneyed man, and, as I have said, she was ambitious.

She had come to our meeting place one last time.  At once she was different.  There was no fooling about on this day, for she was very serious.  "Jean!"  She pronounced it zhan, as was correct, but with an inflection that was her own.  "My father wants me to marry Henry Barboure."

It took a moment for me to understand.  Henry Barboure was nearly forty, twice as old as I, and a respected, successful man, although I'd heard it said that he was close-fisted and a hard man to deal with.  

"You are not going to?" I protested.

"I must, unless ... unless ...."

"Unless what?"

"Jean, do you know where the treasure is?  I mean all that gold the old man left?  He was your great-grandfather, wasn't he?  The pirate?"

"It was further back than that, " I said.  "And anyway, he left no gold.  None that I know of."

She came closer to me.  "I know it is a family secret.  I know it's always been a secret, a mystery, but Jean ..... if we had all that gold ... well, Father would never think of asking me to marry Henry.  He always told me you'd know where it was, and you could get some of it, whenever you liked."

So that was it.  The gold.  Of course, I knew the stories.  They had been a legend in the Gaspé since the first old man's time.  He had been one of the first to settle on what was then a lonely, almost uninhabited coast.  He had built a strong stone castle-burned by the British during one of their raids on the coast many years after, and attacked many times before that.

The story was that he had hidden a great treasure, and that he could dip into it whenever he wished, and that he had bought property, a good deal of it.  It was true that he had sailed to Quebec City or Montreal whenver he desired-even down to Boston or New York to buy whatever he wished.  But I knew nothing of any treasure, nothing at all.  If he had left any behind it was so well hiddden that no one knew where it could be.

My father had shrugged off the stories.  "Nonsense!" he would say.  "Think nothing of treasure or stories of treasure.  You will have in this world just what you earn ... and save.  Remember that.  Do not waste your life in a vain search for treasure that may not exist."

"There is no treasure," I said to her.  "It is all a silly story."

"But he had money!" she protested.  "He was fabulously rich!"

"And he spent it," I said.  "If you want me it shall be as I am, a man with a good craft who can make a good living."

She was scornful.  "A good living!  Do you think that is all I want?  Henry can give me everything!  A beautiful home, travel, money to spend, beautiful clothes ...."

"Take him then," I had told her.  "Take him, and be damned!"

Meet the Author

Our foremost storyteller of the American West, Louis L’Amour has thrilled a nation by chronicling the adventures of the brave men and women who settled the frontier. There are more than 300 million copies of his books in print around the world.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
March 22, 1908
Date of Death:
June 10, 1988
Place of Birth:
Jamestown, North Dakota
Education:
Self-educated
Website:
http://www.louislamour.com/

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Rivers West 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Angie_Lisle More than 1 year ago
The memories are what I love most about this book. I remember my grandpa - a fan of boxing and wrestling - reading this book to us grand kids while my male cousins acted out the action scenes. They loved it. I did not. I disliked the main female character, Ms. Marjoriebanks, for being a snot-nosed brat (I refused to act her part). I was apathetic to the main male character, Jean Daniel Talon, because he doesn't feel complete (and that's probably why I don't like Marjoribanks either, L'Amour didn't bother to build her up to who she should have been). My feelings haven't changed much as an adult. This book isn't finished. It feels like I'm reading a rough draft instead of a finalized novel. Maybe that's why my cousins enjoyed it so much, it's incompleteness allowed them to insinuate themselves as they acted out fight scenes, but it's hard for someone like me to read. I think about how much better this book could be, if it wasn't so bare. As a child, my grandpa told me I was clever when I pointed out that the text is repetitive. I appreciate that memory. But I still feel like L'Amour skimped out. He used a lot of key words without giving a real description. He tells without showing. The bones for a good story are here. L'Amour, acting out of character, missed multiple opportunities to work in real history; instead, he focused on this imaginary scheme he fictioned up and this scheme feels bare because it has no history to back it up. Like the main characters, the villains aren't complete either. We hear about them more than we see them. L'Amour doesn't build suspense for the big whammy he tells us about at the rushed ending. I don't even know who to blame for it - L'Amour for pushing this through to publication or the publisher for letting it go to publication as is. If the estate of L'Amour ever gets around to publishing more of his work, the first thing they should do is hire a ghostwriter to finish fleshing out this book. I want to read that book in memoriam to my grandfather.
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Yay!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: katniss or kc. Looks: brown hair cute eyes and white. Likes: my friends, magic, reading, and beaches.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
((OOC: Umm Jackie, hun, this is a HP RP; not Hollywood. There aren't reporters at Hogwarts. I know you are obviously a newbie, but all your character has done so far is put on pink *shudders* clothing and touch up your face. This is how RPs are really played:)) Lex sprinted up the staircase, rebuking herself for being so careless. Aside from DADA, Transfiguration was her favorite class. Panting, she slumped into her seat, just Prof. McGonagal entered the room, billowing black robes sweeping behind her. "Good morning class." She greeted them briskly. "Good morning Professor." Lex echoed with the rest of her year. "Please turn to page 24 of your textbook. Mr. Robak, would you read the 2nd paragraph?" Lex turned to smirk at her mate, Aya. "This should be a right laugh." "One quid says he won't get through the first sentence." Aya responded, a wicked grinn upon her face as well. Betting with muggle was a little joke they shared. "Right, because you'd win of course." Roger Robak's speech impediment had been famous since their first year at Hogwarts. And sure enough, he stumbled on the very first word. "A-a-a c-characteristic of t-the....." So it continued for the rest of class.