Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Westward the Tide by Louis L'Amour
Narrator: Robert Petkoff, Jason Culp, Dan John Miller
Published by Penguin Audio on October 25, 2022
Genres: Historical Fiction
Length: 7 hours, 59 minutes
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Matt Bardoul was a good man to have as a friend and a bad one to make trouble with. He was also a single-minded drifter - until he met his match in an outspoken beauty named Jacquine Coyle. She was headed into the Bighorn Mountains with her father and an expedition in search of gold. After Matt signs on to join them, he discovers that there is a group of outlaws in the party, gunfighters and thieves that Matt wouldn't trust for a minute.
At first it's unclear what they are planning, but before long Matt realizes that he's the only man standing between innocent people and a brutal conspiracy of greed, lust, and cold-blooded murder.
Westward the Tide has the distinction of being Louis L’Amour’s first full-length novel. Everything he wrote previously was published as short stories or serials in magazines. And, oddly, it was released in the UK first and didn’t publish in the US until 1977. Traversing parts of the Dakotas, Montana, and Wyoming of the 1870’s, this latest Lost Treasures Audio western brought a wagon train and gold prospecting adventure with a rugged gun-fighting hero, intrepid heroine, and lots of gutsy skirmishes to be won along the trail.
Matt Bardoul took one look at Jacquine Coyle and he was well and truly hooked. So, when he arrives in Deadwood and learns from an old mountain man friend that her father is one of the partners heading up a secret gold hunting expedition into the Bighorn Mountains, he deals himself in. The group of wagons include a motley crew of hard-bitten pioneer types, old buffalo hunters and explorers, cowboys, prospectors, and, oh yes, a pack of outlaws with their own agenda for the trip. Matt senses trouble, as do a few others, but what form it takes isn’t revealed until the wagon train is well along on the road and out of sight of any town or fort, in rugged Sioux and Cheyenne country fresh after the Little Big Horn battle, Fetterman Fight, and other encounters when two ways of life clashed.
As usual, I appreciate L’Amour’s vivid description of the location, the historical backdrop, the colorful and diverse characters, and the gritty adventure full of gun fights, wilderness survival, bare-knuckle boxing, and even some intrigue. There were a couple times when I felt a lag in the story, but it didn’t take long to pick up the pace again. The romance was back burner, but a sweet element weaving through the rest that culminates in the usual exciting blockbuster climax fight.
Incidentally, the extras included Beau L’Amour talking about the story behind the novel and that time period in Louis L’Amour’s life. This book nearly disappeared twice before it could be published in the US.
All in all, I love these new Lost Treasures editions and particularly on audio. Westward the Tide was another western winner for me.
Robert Petkoff was a familiar voice who did a bang up job voicing the characters particularly Matt Bardoul and catching the tone of the writing particularly when it contrasted thoughtful to an intense action scene. Also good and familiar were the afterward Lost Treasure extra narrators Jason Culp and Dan John Miller.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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