Posted by: Tyler Mills | July 11, 2011

To the Far Blue Mountains by Louis L’Amour

To the Far Blue Mountains by Louis L’Amour is the chronologically second Sackett novel. The Sackett family are the major characters in sixteen of L’Amour’s western and historical fiction novels. To the Far Blue Mountains is the tale of family patriarch Barnabas Sackett when he departs England for good and starts a new life in America. The novel is set in England and the New World sometime between 1590 and 1603. (The Roanoke colony and Spanish Armada are mentioned in the past tense and Queen Elizabeth is still ruling England).

Tough and independent Barnabas Sackett is a fantastic protagonist and I enjoyed every page watching him overcome incredible challenges to reach the New World and start a new life there. Some of the fantastic adventures Barnabas experiences include being accused of treason and pursued by assassins, breaking out of jail, sailing the treacherous seas and battling pirates. And that’s just BEFORE he arrives in the untamed wilderness that is the New World.

Mr. L’Amour has fantastic pacing and there is never a dull moment in this fantastic adventure story. I particularly love how he catches the energy and spirit of the people it takes to overcome these kind of challenges.

I first heard about Louis L’Amour from a professor in my History of the American West class. It was a wonderful class and we learned about mountain men, cowboys, indians, explorers, miners etc and it was a class that really struck a chord not only for my historical interests but my fiction interests. Near the end of the class we spent an entire day talking about the writing and art that portrays the American West and that generated an interest for me to read some Westerns. My professor recommended Louis L’Amour, Zane Grey, Owen Wister, Larry McMurtry and several others. This is the first I have reviewed on the blog, but I have read several westerns and I am excited to continue exploring the genre and reviewing the books for you here on Book Review Rants.

I picked up To the Far Blue Mountains at the library when I noticed L’Amour’s name on the cover. It was a quick read and I enjoyed following the adventures of Barnabas Sackett and his companions. I was also pleased with the historical accuracy of L’Amour’s work. If you are interested in the Sackett novels the chronologically first one is Sackett’s Land.

“Westerns” are a little bit out of style in the movie and book industry but I have found myself connecting to them easily. I love the connection and emotion the characters have to the land, even when it is trying to kill them. I love the excitement and adventure of living on the fringe and trying to tame the wilds. I highly recommend Louis L’Amour and To the Far Blue Mountains.


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