Louis L'Amour's Lost Treasures: Volume 2

More Mysterious Stories, Unfinished Manuscripts, and Lost Notes from One of the World's Most Popular Novelists

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On Sale 2019-11-19

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“L’Amour is popular for all the right reasons. His books embody heroic virtues that seem to matter now more than ever.”—The Wall Street Journal

More unpublished works from the archives of Louis L’Amour: complete short stories, partial novels, treatments, and notes that will transport readers from the Western frontier to India, China, and even the future.


Exploring the creative process of an American original, the Louis L’Amour’s Lost Treasures series will uncover the hidden history behind the author’s best known novels . . . and his most mysterious and ambitious unfinished works.

In this second volume, Beau L’Amour examines how his father made the transition from struggling pulp writer to successful novelist and uses his father’s notes, journal entries, and correspondence to continue the process of seeking out how and why many of these never-before-seen manuscripts were written as well as speculating about the ways they might have ended.

These selections include the beginnings of a post-apocalyptic science fiction tale, a proposal for a nonfiction project based on the life of Renaissance-era traveler Ibn Batuta, and two chapters of a historical novel set in India about the origin of L'Amour's well-known Talon family.

At the other end of the spectrum are classic adventures, such as “In the Measure of Time,” a chance encounter set on the high seas, and a science fiction film treatment set in Mexico, as well as seventeen chapters of a novel that reappears throughout Louis’s journals and letters and speaks to his fascination with post-revolutionary 1950s China, leading him so far as to correspond with the Dalai Lama.

With rare photographs and commentary, this book further maps the journey L’Amour embarked upon to become one of our greatest storytellers and the diverse realms to which his imagination traveled, making him a true American pioneer.

Under the Cover

An excerpt from Louis L'Amour's Lost Treasures: Volume 2

The Bastard of Brignogan

Two Beginnings to a Historical Novel

Chapter 1

Alone upon the darkening hillside I wait for the last lights to wink out.

There stands the castle, well-guarded and strong, yet tonight I shall enter that castle. I shall scale its walls, open its doors of oak, walk down its silent halls, a sword in my left hand.

In my left hand?

I have no right hand.

My right hand is gone, struck from the wrist by the order of he who rules this castle, rules it and all the land around.

He will have forgotten me, for to him I was less than the dust beneath his feet, and the sight of my blood dripping to the floor before his eyes will have been drowned in the blood of others he has killed or maimed.

Yet tonight he will remember, and for the brief moment of his life that follows he will swallow the gall of his hatred. He will die slowly and with time for regret.

I will go alone, yet had I an army I would disdain to use it, for it is a part of my revenge that he realize my contempt of him, and of the power he wields. This must be done without help. Too long he has hidden behind his mighty walls, behind his armored men, and I will show him what a hand can do. Only one hand, and the hatred he fed into me when he deprived me of that which was all and everything to me.

My right hand . . .

You ask me . . . what is a hand? A hand is a delicate, yet a mighty thing. It can weave and weigh and strike and caress. It can grip a sword or wield a hammer, touch with tenderness or strike a blow that will crush bone. A hand can create a tapestry of silk, carve ivory or jade, create a goddess from raw marble, heal the sick or bless those who have sinned. A hand can lift a savage brute to the heights of creative skill.

Was it not the hand that created Man? A lion walks in the jungle and steps upon a stone, and from it receives perhaps two impressions, a sense of hardness, of sharpness? Of something rough or smooth? But a man stepping upon that same stone experiencing the same things, can yet lift the stone, turn it gently in his fingers, feel its various sides, judge its weight and its balance.

The lion receives perhaps two sensations, the man receives a dozen . . . perhaps more.

So it is with each thing he touches with the hand, and with each touch his experience grows, and with it his knowledge. Truly, man was shaped and created by his own hands.

Who am I? A man . . . no more, no less. Except . . . yes, there is a difference, for I am a man with a sword.

Once I was more than that. Once I had a right hand, that could carve, shape, test and create. My hands were born to shape the still wood or stone into things of beauty, and within me there was naught but the wish to create. I asked for nothing but materials and time. The materials were all about me, and the time stretched before me forever . . . I was younger then and there seemed no end to the years.

The will to create is still within me, but the left hand is not enough. The touch is there, as is the mind and the will, but a little something is lacking for the right hand was the master of art, the left only a servant to it.

With my left hand only, I am skilled. With a right hand I was . . . who shall ever know, now, what I was or might have become? Since childhood I had shaped and carved wood into animals and men that could all but speak, and then stone . . .

Apprenticed to an armorer, I learned to handle metal, to emboss, to inlay, to use a hammer with cunning. My skills increased . . .

Then he took from me my hand. He, who rules in yonder castle. Who now drinks his wine, eats his food, and prepares for rest.

His last rest.

Impregnable they say, is the castle. No army has ever taken the castle of Gingee. He sits secure behind his walls, upon his towering peak, high above all that is about him.

My boat lies by the distant shore. My men await me there. Beyond is the Bay of Bengal and a wide world of which my fellow Europeans know little.

The artist I once was is dead, but something was born from the ruins, sired by hatred, mothered by a will for revenge.

Now I am a warrior.

A warrior with but one hand? Ah, yes . . . but a warrior trained as no other was ever trained, a warrior driven by such hatred as you cannot believe.

He took from me the girl I loved. He took from me my dreams, all that I had or lived for.

Nor was ever a man trained with the skills with which I have been trained. The teacher I had, the greatest master of his craft, a teacher without another pupil but me, a teacher so skilled even his former master feared him and wished him dead. Knowing his time was brief he strove to pass on to me those skills he had acquired in a life-time.

My fingers open and close. Soon my time will come. No army has been able to storm those walls, or scale the mountain upon which the castle is built. No elephant has been able to batter down the giant gates with their steel-spiked doors. Behind those doors he sits, spinning out his evil like a great spider, hidden and protected.

Tonight I shall face him . . . and he will be alone.

Oh, he will have a blade! He will have one or I shall give him one, and it is said he is a master swordsman. Yet he will die. He will die alone with the cold steel of my blade in his guts, die in a pool of his own blood.

Who am I? I am the Bastard of Brignogan.

My father I saw once only, and well I remember the night he came to us. A night of storm fit to shiver the masts of many a tall ship when he came to our door and rapped on it with a sword-hilt to be heard above the storm.

Ours was a poor cottage though I never thought it so, for beyond the harsh granite of the rocks lay the steep cliffs I loved and the long, lonely beach with the cold Atlantic rollers coming in upon it.

Cold, did I say? Yes. But often indeed they were warm and pleasant for our shore was touched by a current I came to love for upon it were borne many odd things: strange woods, bits of wreckage, fragments of things from afar. There I splashed in the waves, tasted their salt, and there I looked upon the distance.

My father was a tall young man, but he staggered from the wind’s force and swore as he slammed the door against it. He removed his cloak with a flourish that scattered drops over the room and draped it across a chair.

He swept the rain from his hat with a gesture and looked at my mother. She was brown and strong and beautiful, but with the fires of Hell in her blood.

“There’s nothing for you here,” she said flatly, “so why have you come?”

“Nothing for me? Once it was a different song you sang.”

“Long ago. I’ve forgotten the tune. What is it you want?”

“I heard you’d borne a son of mine, and I wished to see what we spawned, you and me.”

“He is not your son. He is mine. You’ve strong lads of your own. Go to them.”

“I am his father, am I not?”

“You were the sire. It ended there, and you’ve no more to do with him.”

He looked at her and laughed, from sheer pleasure.

“Ah, girl! What a woman you are!”

He looked at me. “Is this the one?”

“There is no other. That is my son.”

The tall man dropped on his knee before me and put his hands on my two shoulders. His face was wet from the storm, and although I was scarcely three, I recall it well, for he was not a man to forget.

- About the author -

Our foremost storyteller of the American West, Louis L’Amour has thrilled a nation by chronicling the adventures of the brave men and woman who settled the frontier. There are more than three hundred million copies of his books in print around the world.

More from Louis L'Amour

Beau L’Amour is a writer, art director, and editor. He has written and produced several films, including USA Network’s The Diamond of Jeru. Since 1988 he has been the manager of the estate of his father, Louis L’Amour.

More from Beau L'Amour

Louis L'Amour's Lost Treasures: Volume 2

More Mysterious Stories, Unfinished Manuscripts, and Lost Notes from One of the World's Most Popular Novelists

Louis L'Amour's Lost Treasures: Volume 2

— Published by Bantam —