Here is the kind of authentically detailed epic novel that has become Louis L'Amour's hallmark. It is the compelling story of U.S. Air Force Major Joe Mack, a man born out of time. When his experimental aircraft is forced down in Russia and he escapes a Soviet prison camp, he must call upon the ancient skills of his Indian forebears to survive the vast Siberian wilderness. Only one route lies open to Mack: the path of his ancestors, overland to the Bering Strait and across the sea to America. But in pursuit is a legendary tracker, the Yakut native Alekhin, who knows every square foot of the icy frontier--and who knows that to trap his quarry he must think like a Sioux. From the Paperback edition.
Readers of L'Amour's Westerns and his recent medieval saga The Walking Drum will not be disappointed by this contemporary epic. Proving that he is above all a great raconteur, the prolific L'Amour sets his latest in Siberia where a downed American test pilot, Joseph ``Joe Mack'' Makatozi, has been taken after his capture by the Russians. Part Sioux, Joe Mack escapes prison only to face the seemingly impossible odds of getting across Siberia to the Bering Strait, where like his ancestors, he can cross into North America. Joe Mack is a classic American hero, thrown back into the wilderness and forced to rely on his wits and his ancestral skills to survive the deadly cold and elude his Soviet pursuers, including his nemesis, a Siberian tracker. L'Amour brings the same colorful realism to this sweeping adventure that has made his Westerns so beloved. 350,000 copy first printing; Literary Guild main selection. ( July) -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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April 01, 2005
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Excerpt from Last of the Breed by Louis L'Amour
MAJOR JOE MAKATOZI stepped into the sunlight of a late afternoon. The first thing he must remember was the length of the days at this latitude. His eyes moved left and right.
About three hundred yards long, a hundred yards wide, three guard towers to a side, two men in each. A mounted machine gun in each tower. Each man armed with a submachine gun.
He walked behind Lieutenant Suvarov, and two armed guards followed him.
Five barracklike frame buildings, another under construction, prisoners in four of the five buildings but not all the cells occupied.
He had no illusions. He was a prisoner, and when they had extracted the information they knew he possessed, he would be killed. There was a cool freshness in the air like that from the sea, but he was far from any ocean. His first impression was, he believed, the right one. He was somewhere in the vicinity of Lake Baikal, in Siberia.
A white line six feet inside the barbed wire, the limit of approach for prisoners. The fence itself was ten feet high, twenty strands of tightly drawn, electrified wire. From the barbed wire to the edge of the forest, perhaps fifty yards.
No one knew he was alive but his captors. There would be no inquiries, no diplomatic feelers. Whatever happened now must be of his own doing. He had one asset. They had no idea what manner of man they had taken prisoner.
The office into which he was shown was much like a military orderly room. The man behind the table was tall and wide in the shoulder. He studied Joe Makatozi with appraising eyes.
For the first time Colonel Arkady Zamatev was seeing a man who had been the center of his thinking for more than a year. Up to this point his personally conceived plan had worked with a fine precision of which he could be proud.
When he had first proposed the capture of Major Makatozi his superiors thought he had lost his mind. Yet information was desperately needed on some of the experimental aircraft the Americans were designing, and Makatozi had test-flown most of them. Moreover, he had advised on the construction of some, had suggested innovations.
Only Zamatev knew there were three Soviet agents in the American division of military personnel assignment, no one of them aware of the others. All were Americans at whom no suspicion had been directed. The three had been carefully maneuvered into position for just such an emergency, and it was upon these three that he depended for the assignment of Major Makatozi to the Alaska command for a refresher course in Arctic flying before tests were made with a new aircraft.
It had not been difficult to arrange. A casual remark had been made about operating the new plane in sub-Arctic temperatures; a few days later the question of a refresher course had been raised, if Major Makatozi were to pilot the new plane. And the rest had been up to Zamatev.