Louis L'Amour is an American legend, a master storyteller whose tales of action and heroic adventure echo his own intrepid exploits. Relentless suspense, breathtaking danger, riveting characters-these are the hallmarks of L'Amour's classic fiction. Off the Mangrove Coast collects for the first time in one volume nine of his extraordinary stories-some long out of print and unavailable anywhere else, some never before published.
From the jungles of Borneo to the hidden canyons of the American West, from small-town fight clubs to a Parisian café at the end of World War II, these are tales of betrayal and revenge, courage and cowardice, glory and greed, as only Louis L'Amour can tell them.
Here are vintage stories of men and women who dare what others will never attempt, who fight for justice and dreams when the odds are against them. A charismatic boxer with quick hands and a hair-trigger temper itches to fight all comers-but if he's ever going to get a shot at a championship, he will first have to fight the man who ruined his father. A beautiful movie star finds a dead man in her apartment and begs a former lover to clear her name, only to enmesh the tough private eye in a murder with ties to the mob.
Here too, are tales of high adventure. A reluctant hero, hired to guide a diamond-hunting couple up a river ruled by headhunters and pirates, risks everything in pursuit of a legendary stone and the mysterious warlord who guards it. And in the title story, Off the Mangrove Coast, a young renegade who'd grown to manhood riding freights, prizefighting, and working mines sails the exotic South China Sea with a trio of dangerous men in search of treasure they figure to divide four ways. But when it's time to dive for the prize, can he trust any of them to guard his back?
Combining electrifying action scenes, vivid historical detail, and characters who seem to leap off the page, these spectacular stories honor the legend of Louis L'Amour. A memorable addition to the author's already impressive catalogue of work, Off the Mangrove Coast celebrates L'Amour's unequalled genius, creative vision, and humanity.
From the Hardcover edition.
Bantam has published 117 of L'Amour's books, with this collection being the second posthumous story collection (the first was Beyond the Great Snow Mountains) in a projected series of four. Duke LaMoore, as he was sometimes called, is probably best known for his westerns, but the versatile author was also beloved for his successful historical and contemporary fiction. These nine stories, originally published in magazines of the 1940s and '50s, feature typical and endearing L'Amour heroes--detectives, prize-fighters, Far East adventurers, cowboys, sailors and some hardboiled women. Only one story is a western. The others are more contemporary and take place all over the world, from Los Angeles and Paris to the jungles of Borneo. L'Amour's short stories are characterized by his legendary vibrancy, an element of mystery or suspense and recurring themes of revenge, greed, loyalty, jealousy or honor. In "Secret of Silver Springs," three outlaws unexpectedly face a tricky and deadly moral dilemma. "Time of Terror" is a clever mystery about a dead man who is not really dead, and a hapless victim whose quick wits prove that the reader should "beware of an honest man." The title tale depicts four desperate men searching for sunken treasure off the coast of Borneo, only to find greed and murder as their reward. Best, however, is "The Unexpected Corpse," a tightly woven whodunit with a "private shamus" and a delicious actress in over their heads in a puzzling murder investigation. Crisply written and fast-paced, these stories will have the author's fans clamoring for more, the sooner the better. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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May 01, 2001
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Excerpt from Off the Mangrove Coast by Louis L'Amour
Fighters Should Be Hungry
A brutal blow in the ribs jerked Tandy Moore from a sound sleep. Gasping, he rolled into a fetal position and looked up to see a brakeman standing over him with his foot drawn back for another kick. With a lunge Tandy was on his feet, his dark eyes blazing. Fists cocked, he started for the brakeman, who backed suddenly away. "Unload!" he said harshly. "Get off! An' be quick about it!"
Tandy was a big young man with wide shoulders and a sun-darkened face, darkened still further by a stubble of black beard. He chucked with cold humor.
"Nope," Tandy said grimly, and with relish. "If you want me off, you put me off! Come on, I'm going to like this!"
Instead of a meek and frightened tramp, the brakeman had uncovered a wolf with bared teeth. The brakeman backed away still farther.
"You get off!" he insisted. "If that bull down to the yards finds you here, he'll report it an' I'll get chewed out!"
Tandy Moore relaxed a bit. "You watch yourself, mister! You can lose teeth walkin' up an' kickin' a guy that way!" He grabbed the edge of the gondola and lifted himself to the top, then swung his feet over to the ladder. "Say, Jack? What town is this anyway? Not that it makes much difference."
"Astoria, Oregon. End of the line."
"Thanks." Tandy climbed down the ladder, gauged the speed of the train, and dropped off, hitting the cinders on the run.
As though it had been planned for him, a path slanted down off the grade and into a dense jungle of brush that lined the sides and bottom of a shallow ditch. He slowed and started down the path.
Astoria was almost home, but he wasn't going home. There was nothing there for him anymore. He trotted along near the foot of a steeply slanting hill. He could smell the sea and the gray sky was spitting a thin mist of rain.
At the bottom of the muddy path lay a mossy gray plank bridging a trickle of water, and beyond it the trail slanted up and finally entered a patch of woods surrounded by a wasteland of logged-off stumps.
Almost as soon as Moore entered the thicket, he smelled the smoke of a campfire. He stopped for a moment, brushing at his baggy, gray tweed trousers with his hand. He wore a wool shirt open at the neck, and a worn leather jacket. His razor, comb, and toothbrush lay in one pocket of the jacket. He had no other possessions. He wore no hat, and his black hair was a coarse mass of unruly curls. As presentable as a hobo could be, he started forward.
Of the four men who sat around the fire, only two commanded his attention. A short, square-shouldered, square-faced man with intelligent eyes reclined on the ground, leaning on an elbow. Nearby a big man with black hair freely sprinkled with gray stood over the fire.