Spirited American stories
Gathered together for the first time
From the coasts of Brazil to the borders of Tibet to the very heartland of America, May There Be a Road gathers ten previously uncollected stories that capture the magnificent scope and sense of epic adventure that epitomize Louis L'Amour classic fiction.
In these vivid settings L’Amour takes us into the pivotal moments when lives are altered forever, when men and women face a deadly enemy, find a kindred spirit, or confront their own mortality.
Among the unforgettable characters we meet here are a hard-living, hard-drinking freighter captain whose penchant for flying may change the course of World War II . . . A lonely frontiersman who unexpectedly finds himself the protector of two orphans . . . A boxer who accepts a gambler’s payoff and then must fight to redeem himself . . . A detective willing to believe an unproven story in order to discover a painful truth hidden in a small town. And in the title story L’Amour weaves the powerful tale of a young Tibetan khan who leads a band of horsemen on a daring escape across treacherous mountain terrain. At stake is the survival of a people and an ancient way of life.
Evoking the American spirit of bravery, pride, adventure, and self-reliance as few writers have, this extraordinary volume proves once again that L’Amour has set a standard yet to be matched.
From the Paperback edition.
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March 28, 2005
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Excerpt from May There Be a Road by Louis L'Amour
The gravel road forked unexpectedly and Neil Shannon slowed his convertible. On each side orange groves blocked his view, although to the right a steep hillside of dun-colored rock rose above the treetops. On that same side was a double gate in a graying split-rail fence.
He was about fifty miles northwest of Los Angeles, lost in a maze of orchards and small farms that was split by abrupt ridges and arroyos.
Neil Shannon got out of the car and walked to the gate. He was about to push it open when a stocky, hard-faced man stepped from the shrubbery. "Hold it, bud ... what do you want "
"I'm looking for the Shaw place. I thought someone might tell me where it was."
"The Shaw place What do you want to go there for "
Shannon was irritated. "All I asked was the directions. If you tell me I'll be on my way."
The man jerked his head to indicate direction. "Right down the fork, but if you're looking for Johnny, he ain't home."
"No So where could I find him "
The man paused. "Down at Laurel Lawn, in town. He's been dead for three days."
Shannon shook out a cigarette. "You don't seem upset over losing a neighbor, Mr. Bowen."
"Where'd you get that name " The man stared suspiciously at Shannon.
"It's on your mailbox, in case you've forgotten. Are you Steve Bowen "
"I'm Jock Perult. The Bowen boys ain't around. As for Shaw, his place is just down the road there."
"Thanks." Shannon opened the door of his car. "Tell me, Jock, do you always carry a pistol when you're loafing around home "
"It's for snakes, if it's any of your business." He tugged his shirttail down over the butt of a small pistol.
Shannon grinned at him and put the car in gear. Scarcely three hundred yards further along the gravel road on the same side was the Shaw place. Marjorie Shaw saw him drive through the gate and came out to meet him.
The man who followed her from the door had a grizzle of gray beard over a hard chin and a short-stemmed pipe in his teeth. He looked at Shannon with obvious displeasure.
There were formalities to be taken care of. She read the contract standing by the car and looked at his private investigator's license. Finally she raised the subject of money.
"Let's not worry about that right now," he told her. "Johnny Shaw was a friend of mine, I'll do what I can for a couple of days and we'll see where we are. I'm warning you, though, on paper his death looks like an accident. I'm not sure there is much I can do."