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Title: The Sky-liners
Series: Sacketts #11
Author: Louis L’Amour
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Edition
Flagan and his brother Galloway Sackett have returned from their adventures in The Sackett Brand and they’ve paid off their father’s debts. Now they’ve got to start all over and earn their own stake. In some no account little town they face down a gang of roughs who are intent on causing trouble for an Irish gypsy and his granddaughter. Said gypsy convinces them to take the granddaughter, Judith, to her father out west. They also take some of the finest horseflesh they’ve ever seen to help as breeding stock for Judith’s father. Well, the roughs, led by a man named Black Fletchen, don’t take kindly to this. Especially considering that Black was all set to marry Judith and take those horses for himself.
Flagan and Galloway and Judith all headout West, expecting trouble and they find it. Fletchen kills the gypsy, goes full on outlaw by rustling a herd of cattle, killing the owners son and begins hunting the Sackett brothers. When Flagan and company do reach Judith’s father, it is only to find that Black has already taken over the ranch and the father is being held captive.
Flagan and Galloway have hooked up with the cowboys whose herd was stolen, so when they plan on facing down the Fletchens, they’re not alone. However, Black sets a clever trap and gets Flagan, Galloway and Judith pretty much trapped on a mountain side. There is a big showdown ranging across the mountains in a thunderstorm. Fletchen gets his, Flagan gets shot and ends up being taken care of by Judith.
The book ends with it looking like Flagan and Judith will be getting married and Flagan taking on the ranch to help her father.
Heck, L’Amour has a pattern that he writes from. It works. So don’t expect anything new in any of these books and you’re all set.
For all that every single main character in each Sackett book complains about how they aren’t handsome like “Relative X” and don’t know how to talk to women, these Sackett boys sure don’t seem to have any problems picking themselves up some wives. Of course, it usually takes getting shot in some desperate battle in the worst of weather, after having ridden, walked and generally existed for 100’s of miles in even worse conditions. But still.
I like this book a lot better than the previous one. I think that comes down to having new characters. Since L’Amour writes more “archetypes” than actual characters, after a while any particular character begins to show their weakness as a growing, evolving person. The easiest way to deal with that is to constantly switch to new characters and new circumstances. That might come across as a criticism, but that is only if you are looking for deep characterization in your western. L’Amour made no bones that he was a storyteller. The characters come second. It is a way of telling a story that isn’t nearly as popular nowadays as it used to be. I think a lot of it has to do with culture shift more than anything.
The other thing I noticed is the weight of the pistols. I think it was in this book that it is mentioned that the character’s pistol weighed over 2 pounds. If not in this book, then definitely in another. Anyway, that is HEAVY! My little Sig P938, loaded with 7 rounds, weighs in at around 17ounces (16 oz to a lb for you furrenners!). So add some bullets to those old guns and you’re talking close to 3lbs. I can’t imagine doing a fast draw with something that big and heavy. I guess it’s a good thing I’m not a gunslinger, hahahahaa.
Bookstooge Sackett I am not.