In Jubal Sackett , the second generation of Louis L'Amour's great American family pursues a destiny in the wilderness of a sprawling new land.
Jubal Sackett's urge to explore drove him westward, and when a Natchez priest asks him to undertake a nearly impossible quest, Sackett ventures into the endless grassy plains the Indians call the Far Seeing Lands. Read more...
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- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
- Date: July 2005
From the cover
A cold wind blew off Hanging Dog Mountain and I had no fire, nor dared I strike so much as a spark that might betray my hiding place. Somewhere near, an enemy lurked, waiting.
Yesterday morning, watching my back trail, I saw a deer startle, cross a meadow in great bounds, and disappear into the forest. Later, shortly after high sun, two birds flew up suddenly. Something was following me.
Warm in my blanket, I huddled below a low earthen bank, concealed by brush and a fallen tree. The wind swept by above me, worrying my mind because its sound might cover the approach of an enemy creeping closer. There he could lie waiting to kill me when I arose from my hiding place.
I, Jubal Sackett, was but a day's journey from our home on Shooting Creek in the foothills of the Nantahalas, close upon Chunky Gal Mountain.
All the enemies of whom I knew were far from here, yet any stranger was a potential enemy, and he was a wise traveler who was forever alert.
Our white enemies were beyond the sea, and our only red enemies were the Seneca, living far away to the north beyond Hudson's River. No Seneca was apt to be found alone so far from others of his kind. The Seneca were a fine, fierce lot of fighting men of the Iroquois League who had become our enemies because we were friends of the Catawba, who were their enemies.
Whoever followed me was a good reader of sign, for I left little evidence of my passing. Such an enemy is one to guard against, for skilled tracking is a mark of a great hunter and a great warrior. Nor do I wish to leave my scalp in the lodge of some unknown enemy when my life is scarce begun.
What was this strange urge that drove me westward, ever westward into an empty land?
Behind me were family, home, and all that I might become; before me were nameless rivers, swamps, mountains, and forests, and beyond the great river were the plains, those vast grasslands of which we had only heard, and of which we knew nothing.
About me and before me lay a haunted land whose boundaries we did not know. What little we had heard was from the tales of Indians, and they shied from this land, hunting here but always moving and returning to their homes far away. When the night winds prowled they huddled close to their fires and peered uneasily into the night. There was game here in plenty, and when the need was great they came to hunt. We did not know what mysteries lay here or why the place was shunned, but they spoke of it as a dark and bloody ground.
Why, in such a land of meadows, forests, and streams, were there no habitations? Once it was not so, for there are earth mounds, and friendly Indians had told us of a stone fort built they know not when nor by whom.
Who were those who vanished? Why did they come, build, and then disappear? What happened upon this ground? What dark and shameful deed? What horror so great that generations of Indians feared the land?
There are rumors, also, of a dark-skinned people who live in secluded valleys, a people who are neither Indian nor African, but of a different cast of feature who hold themselves aloof and keep strange customs and a different style of living. But we know nothing beyond the rumor, for their valleys lie far from ours.
I do not come to solve mysteries, but to seek out the land.
My father was Barnabas, the first of our name to come to this place beyond the ocean from the England of his birth. Of Barnabas I was the third son, Kin-Ring and Yance born before me. My elder brothers had found homes among the hills. My younger brother, Brian, and my one sister, Noelle, had returned to England with our...