Book Review: Last of the Breed by Louis L’Amour (Four Stars)
“I may be the last Indian, who will live in the old way, think the old thoughts.”
Tom Clancy minus the technobabble. Despite a different setting and century, Louis L’Amour’s Last of the Breed fits comfortably into his frontier novel corpus. Set, written, and published during the waning days of the Soviet Union, the tale follows USAF Major Joe Mack’s escape from Soviet custody deep in Siberia and his adventures fleeing the country by embracing the wilderness and his Sioux roots and upbringing.
“You are being foolish about this. The man will die out there. Siberia will kill him. Let him alone, let him die.” “Your advice is usually good. But not this time. Many men will die out there; many men can die. But not this man.”
The storytelling is linear and repetitive, but peripheral characters are drawn with sufficient depth and complexity to supply cliffhangers and the necessary coincidences. The framing story diminishes rather than increases the tension. L’Amours style is a refreshing throwback to his earlier adventure novels.
“This man does not think of time. He does not think of distance. The forest is his home.”
Joe’s frontiersmanship notwithstanding, his survival hangs on an improbable amount of luck. Spread over an area larger than the continental United States, characters continual meet each other just in the nick of time.
Long ago he had learned that one could not make war against the wilderness. One had to live with it, not against it.
Old days – I recall that writer’s name from when I was younger. My mother was a voracious reader and I suppose read his books. I recall my father taking a grocery bag full of books back to the library and bringing a bagful home. A fun memory.
I have only just discovered L’Amour. I like him.