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Silver Canyon-The Louis L'Amour Collection…
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Silver Canyon-The Louis L'Amour Collection (edition 1981)

by Louis L'amour (Author)

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589633,349 (3.54)8
"You're not wanted in Hattan's Point," Matt Brennan was told moments after arriving in town. "There's trouble here and men are picking sides." But Matt decided he wasn't going anywhere. Not until he found out what the dispute was about, and not before he got to know Moira Maclaren. She considered him nothing more than a drifting ranch hand, but Matt was determined to prove her wrong. To do so, he'd have to solve a mystery that was at the center of the growing violence in Hattan's Point-a secret that could make a man rich . . . or dead. Probably dead.… (more)
Member:Stinson_Library
Title:Silver Canyon-The Louis L'Amour Collection
Authors:Louis L'amour (Author)
Info:Bantam (1981), Edition: Third printing
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Silver Canyon by Louis L'Amour

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I have read very little L'Amour -- three books, including this -- with years between them (and I think I read them in reverse chronological order of authorship), but the writing of these books was also separated by many years, and three may not be many but it is enough to get a strong sense of what makes L'Amour tick. The subtlety of his authorial voice is in its flavor, and not in its themes, after all.

I had completely forgotten the things that set L'Amour's writing apart from the many other authors whose works I've consumed, like the sparse but evocative tone, the straightforward presentation, the salty language of the genre, the stark characterizations, the compulsive motivations, and the primal, almost atavistic themes that seem to stir something in the reader almost against one's will. These are L'Amour's strengths, and while most are blissfully unaware of it some of the best sword-and-sorcery fantasy fiction out there owes as much to the influence of L'Amour as to Tolkien.

Silver Canyon is a firm representation of what makes L'Amour's writing uniquely his own. This applies to the things that count against him as an author as much as those that count for him. While the substance of some of his characters is richly portrayed not only by filling them in with an impressionistic hand that teases a lot of detail out of a very limited palette of hues all tinged brown (to stretch a metaphor), as much of it comes from what he leaves out as what he fills in, which is an admirable talent. On the other hand, the limited palette is evident in the manner in which L'Amour inspires stereotypes, and in fact his most colorful characters become stereotypes unto themselves, more remarkable for the strength of a couple of sharp details than for any depth or complexity of construction. Step a little outside the center of the action, and his sparse style leaves no room for fully developing many important characters whose entire lives are sketched out only in the broad strokes allowed by a few hundred words in the manuscript. I essentially remember only three women from the story, for instance -- one, the most central, whose development is a bit flat and unconvincing; another, who stands solidly in the background as a felt presence more than an actual individual, whose words are more often described than part of actual dialog; and a third, who is barely represented, probably never actually depicted on the canvas of the main character's perspective as described in the book's pages, and whose most remarkable features are her voice (higher than her brother's, and that's about it) and the fact that she is largely indistinguishable from the men around her. The single most interesting fact learned about the leading lady of the story, the first I mentioned, is something learned by implication from the words of a man who worked for her father, and in the end I am not sure that "fact" ended up fitting the way L'Amour portrayed her when she acted and spoke on her own behalf.

On second thought, I remember two other females mentioned in the story who were not dead or otherwise merely part of someone's past before the tale began, both relatives of the third woman I mentioned, getting even less description than her.

This is a western, through and through, at the very center of the storm of tropes that make the genre. If that is what you want to read, you're sure to be fulfilled. If you seek depth, there is some, but it runs out quickly if you want too much of it. If you want something dependably entertaining within the constraints of a particular type of tale, and L'Amour's westerns fit that groove, this book is sure to please you, and you could get the full measure of it in an afternoon of reading, but if you want great variety, with highs and lows and themes unique to every story you read, you are sure to be disappointed after reading three or four L'Amour novels -- much like the experience of reading more than three or four Dean Koontz novels, whose primary weakness is that all the characters and the development of their relationships start looking the same from one book to the next.

I enjoyed it. I may enjoy another L'Amour novel after another decade has passed to reset my expectations. ( )
  apotheon | Dec 14, 2020 |
Product Description A TROUBLED TOWN, A DEADLY SECRET You’re not wanted in Hattan’s Point,” Matt Brennan was told moments after arriving in town. “There’s trouble here and men are picking sides.” But Matt decided he wasn’t going anywhere. Not until he found out what the dispute was about, and not before he got to know Moira Maclaren. She considered him nothing more than a drifting ranch hand, but Matt was determined to prove her wrong. To do so, he’d have to solve a mystery that was at the center of the growing violence in Hattan’s Point–a secret that could make a man rich . . . or dead. Probably dead. From the Inside Flap Fueled by youth, courage, and quickness with a gun, Matt Brennan rode into Hattan's Point ready to live or die at a single challenge.  But in one day he was a changed man.  A beautiful woman had dared him to stay alive.  A powerful landowner had set him up for a beating.  And a good friend had died in his arms.  Suddenly Matt found himself owner of the Two-Bar Ranch--and the odd man out in a vicious range war.  With enemies everywhere, Matt knew that the next time he drew his gun, there would be much more than his life at stake--. ( )
  Hans.Michel | Sep 13, 2013 |
Another tightly written, fast-paced story. Enjoyed it. ( )
  JoAnnSmithAinsworth | Dec 11, 2011 |
Very typical of L'Amour's short novels. This one comes in at 166 pages of constant action. Matt Brennan, drifter, gunman and all round rowdy man enters Hattan's Point where he meets the girl of his dreams and finds himself in the middle of a range war. Finding himself suspected of killing the girl's father, he must find the truth about who is keeping the pot boiling and why. ( )
  lamour | Jun 22, 2011 |
Matt Brenner is drifting when he rides into Hattan's Point. There he finds a land war and a beautiful woman. Moira's blue eyes convince him his drifting days are over. Recruited by both sides of the land war, Matt decides to turn them both down and take his hand in a three-sided game. There seems to be a joker somewhere in the deck, and Matt had better find it, before he loses everything - including Moira. ( )
  MerryMary | Feb 24, 2009 |
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I rode down from the high blue hills and across the brush flats into Hattan's Point, a raw bit of spawning hell scattered hit or miss along the rocky slope of a rust-topped mesa.
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"You're not wanted in Hattan's Point," Matt Brennan was told moments after arriving in town. "There's trouble here and men are picking sides." But Matt decided he wasn't going anywhere. Not until he found out what the dispute was about, and not before he got to know Moira Maclaren. She considered him nothing more than a drifting ranch hand, but Matt was determined to prove her wrong. To do so, he'd have to solve a mystery that was at the center of the growing violence in Hattan's Point-a secret that could make a man rich . . . or dead. Probably dead.

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