An outlaw's legacy...In a remote corner of Utah lies the secret outlaw kingdom of Ben Curry. For fifteen years Curry has ruled supreme, as his men have pulled jobs from Canada to Mexico. But the king is getting old... he wants to turn his legacy over to someone younger, tougher. Mike Bastian is Ben's adopted son, a young man who can handle a knife, a gun, his fists, but a man who's never broken the law.Now, as treachery explodes among Ben's riders, and two honest lawmen--Tyrel Sackett and Borden Chantry--begin to zero in on the gang, Mike must choose...between his loyalty to Ben and his yearning for a different life. Yet when the guns start echoing off the Vermilion Cliffs, the time for choosing is over--and the time for battle has begun.
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December 31, 1983
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Excerpt from Son of a Wanted Man by Louis L'Amour
THE WINTER SNOWS were melting in the forests of the Kaibab, and the red-orange Vermilion Cliffs were streaked with melting frost. Deer were feeding in the forest glades among the stands of ponderosa and fir, and trout were leaping in the sun-sparkled streams. A shadow moved under the ponderosa, then was gone.
Five deer fed on the grass along the bank of a mountain stream back of Finger Butte, their coats mottled with the light and shadow of sunlight through the leaves.
It was very still. Water rippled around the roots of a tree where the soil had washed away, and gurgled cheerfully among the rocks. A buck's tail twitched, twitched again, and the regal head lifted, turning its nostrils to the wind, reading it cautiously, but the reading was betrayal, for the shadow under the pines was downwind of him.
A faint breeze sifted through the grass and stirred the leaves, and with the breeze the shadow moved into the sunlight and became a man, standing motionless not twenty feet from the nearest deer.
Straight and tall he stood in gray buckskins. He wore no hat, and his hair long. Lean and brown, his black hair loose, he waited until the buck's head lifted again, looking right at him.
A startled snort and the buck sprang away. The others followed. Mike Bastian stood with his hands on his hips, watching them go.
Another man came through the trees behind him, a lean, wiry old man with a gray mustache and blue eyes alive with humor.
"What do you think of that, Roundy?" Bastian asked. "Could your Apache beat that? Another step and I could have touched him."
Roundy spat into the grass. "No Apache I ever knowed could do better, son. An' I never seen the day I could do as well. You're good, Mike, really good. I am surely glad you're not huntin' my hair!" He drew his pipe from his pocket and began stoking it. "We're headin' back for Toadstool Canyon, Mike. Your pa sent for us."
"No trouble, is there?"
"None I know of, although things don't look good. They don't look good at all. No, I think your pa figures it's time you rode out with the bunch."
Mike Bastian squatted on his heels, glancing around the glade. This was what he liked, and he did not want to leave. Nor did he like what he was going back to face. "I believe you're right, Roundy. Pa said I was to ride out in the spring when the boys went, and it is about time."
He tugged a blade of grass and chewed on it. "I wonder where they will go this time?"
"Whatever it is, and wherever it is, it will be well planned. Your pa would have made a fine general, boy. He's got the head for it. He never forgets a thing."