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Reilly's Luck

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  2,730 ratings  ·  140 reviews
Val Darrant was just four years old the snowy night his mother abandoned him. But instead of meeting a lonely death, he met Will Reilly-a gentleman, a gambler, and a worldly, self-taught scholar. For ten years the each were all the family the other had, traveling from dusty American boomtowns to the cities of Europe-until the day Reilly's luck ran out in a roar of gunfire. ...more
Paperback, 218 pages
Published December 28th 2004 by Bantam (first published 1970)
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Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtryTrue Grit by Charles PortisBlood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthyAll the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthyBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
Best Westerns
1,079 books — 1,297 voters
Last of the Breed by Louis L'AmourHondo by Louis L'AmourTo the Far Blue Mountains by Louis L'AmourSackett's Land by Louis L'AmourThe Daybreakers by Louis L'Amour
Best of Louis L'Amour
100 books — 7 voters

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Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,730 ratings  ·  140 reviews

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Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2fiction, 1audio, western
I had fond memories of this novel & should have kept them. Beau Bridges read the book. His gravelly voice was OK for some parts, but the women's voices were horrible & a couple of women had very important parts in the novel. Still, he was OK for the adult male parts & was acceptable for the boy's.

Unfortunately, the plot was full of convenience. OK, the end needed to be a convenient great meeting, but there were far too many others scattered throughout the story which skipped through time like a
Oleta Blaylock
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite books by Mr. L'Amour. I have read almost all of them but I keep coming back to this one over and over. I guess in many ways it is a coming of age story. Valentine "Val" Darrant is a boy of four years at the start of the story and it follows him into adulthood. There are the typical characters for a western the gamblers, cowboys and outlaws. There are mentions of some historical characters which is very much L'Amour style, The West was a wild place and Mr. L'Amour bring ...more
May 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is one of my favorite Louis L'Amour books. A gambler takes in an abandoned child and raises him in the old west. Eventually, Rielly, the gambler is ambushed and killed. The boy goes east, and gets an education, but eventually returns to the west, ultimately finding himself up against a formidable opponent--his birth mother, a ruthless womanh.

I don't go to Louis L'Amour for deep, world changing thought, but fun, adventure, and some history lessons on the old west. This is a title I go back
Kelly Russell
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
My second book by Louis L'Amour, this was a terrific read. I research most of my choices pretty well and I expected this to be pretty good after reading Shalako last year. When it comes to my fiction reading, I wasn't really interested in the Western Genre. But I found out that my dad enjoyed reading old Western paperbacks in the last years of his life. I was never close to my dad, my parents divorced when I was six years old. So I had picked up Shalako in a bit of an effort to maybe connect wit ...more
John Anderson
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm biased about Louis L'Amour, so take my review with a grain of salt, but I love everything about his stories. They're easy and predictable and they're romantic and reassuring. You know who the good guy is and you know he's gonna triumph in the end. But he also creates a rich world that you can get into and pretend you're in this rose tinted wild west where there's hope and good feels all around even when the situation seems bleak. I grew up reading these western fairy tales, and this has alwa ...more
Scott Lyson
Sep 05, 2015 rated it liked it
The library was dimly lit, which irritated him. One cannot make a dramatic entrance into a darkened room. He was announced, and he strode in.
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's easy to pick apart the weaknesses in a book like this. I mean for one thing L'amour does not know how to write a four-year-old character, he talks and thinks more like a fourteen-year-old. And the pace was sometimes blurry, hard not to be when you're writing a two-generation epic tale in 200 pages. But whatever, this was fun. The characters were likeable, with some historical figures thrown in for added interest. Easy read, good story.
Anna Richey
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: western
Very entertaining and quick read!
D. E.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LA has penned a western that crosses many years of the west. It begins with a woman telling her friend to lose her son in the snow. The man takes him to a friend and they abandon the child the next day. The young boy grew up in normal environments except when it came to gambling. The father figure is murdered and the boy goes on his own. He has the ability to survive and survive he does. This is an excellent read for the genre.....DEHS
Oct 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, westerns
Reilly's Luck was a good read. It had a character to draw the reader in. The plot was inciting, even if you could tell what was going to happen. This is the first western book that I have read, and I think I will read a few more in the future. :)
Christopher Taylor
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
A five year old boy is taken by his mother's current beau to be abandoned in the wilderness to die. But despite being down on his luck and a drunkard, the man cannot bring himself to simply kill the child so he leaves little Valentine Darrant at a friend's place, for the night. Reilly is the man, a gambler and a gunslinger, a man both feared and admired. When the woman and man pull out before Reilly rises the next day, he's not surprised. But the boy is lucky for Reilly and he comes to like the ...more
Ward G
Mar 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: western
On of the things usually good with L'amour.
Are the starting set ups, and attention to detail.

This truly started out, as one maybe classic.
The spurning of a son, by a greedy mother.
A gambler taking him in, raising him into manhood.
Teaching him how to live and survive in the west.

Also including some European travels and perils.

There is much to enjoy about this.
As fates and fortunes change.
His mother becoming a ruthless, murdering wealthy society member.

The changes in Val's luck. As he becomes wise
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
DNF 50% As a kid I absolutely loved Louis L'Amour. I read everything he wrote from his stand alone novels, to his short stories, to the Sackett series. I had the idea a few months back that while I was on summer vacation I wanted to re-read as many of his books as possible. It was a terrible idea. I don't know if I romanticized his writing because of how much I loved his books as a younger child, or if I have outgrown his writing. Maybe it is a combination of both. All I know is this book was ga ...more
Nancy Palmer
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
This is the book that started my love affair with Louis L'Amour westerns. I received this book as a Christmas present from my grandmother when I was in junior high. This was the perfect story for me to start with, Val was abandoned with Will Reilly when he was 4 years old. The education that he received from Will set him up to be well rounded and successful in life. Love this story and I highly recommend L'Amour's westerns to anyone who enjoys morality tales with horses, cows, gunfights, and pok ...more
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of L'Amour's best.

Very engaging story line that follows the growth and development of a young man. Hated and abandoned by his scheming mother, he is rescued and raised by an intelligent and highly respected gambler. When the gambler is murdered by a trio hired by a vengeful prince, the young man is left alone to face the world. He ultimately makes good, gets the beautiful girl, and kills his friends' murderers.
Jay Wright
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a pretty good book. A boy is abandoned by his mother and left with a gambler by the name of Reilly. He raises the boy and they travel. The lessons taught the boy set him up to be a good man. He travels across this country and then travels to Austria and Switzerland. The descriptions of the places is some L'Amour's best and he develops several great characters. While the endings are predictable, I still like a story where the guy gets the girl.
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books of all time

I have been a L'Amour fan from a little girl. When most teenagers were reading Mills & Boon I had an impressive collection of L'Amour books especially the Sackett Series. I have read the paperback to shreds and certainly did not regret purchasing the ebook to read it again
Steve Curry
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just as good every time.

This is one of L'Amour best titles. It has all of the components that made him an icon of western writers. Coming of age, philosophy, western values, action, and a hint of romance. Reilly is one of my favorite stories from the master of western literature.
Thomas C.Curtis
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have always enjoyed a book where people can overcome incredible odds over time and can become their own person. This is one such book where time, fortune, and misfortune, shape a man into the person that he needs to be.
Andrew Haile
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. The characters and the story were great. I liked and disliked the "small world" parts of the story. I think the ending was the weakest link (Not the ending I envisioned) And some parts seemed rushed. But overall it was great and I'm excited to read more Louis Lamour adventures.
Mindy Gordon
Jan 05, 2018 rated it liked it
A different kind of hero for Louis L'Amour. A small child is dropped off with a gambler to be raised. To the gambler's surprise he grew to love this young man and to be a great father to him. That young man then grows into an independent good person. Good read.
Marc Charles
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard hitting western

A typical good story from the best western writer ever. This book traces the life of a young boy as he’s saved from death by his evil mother’s hand and taken in by a gambler who school him in life. Excellent!
Claire Grace
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
Louis L'Amour is one of my favorite authors of the westerns. His ability to pull tou into the story is one reason I read his books. While this book isn't my favorite of his books, I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Russell G Edwards
One of best western stories ever written by one of the best author's.

Story of an unwanted child, slated for death, who is rescued, saved from sure destruction, educated in all the wiles pertinent to survival and lives.
Paul B. Jorgensen
One of Lamour's Best

I've been reading Louis Lamour novels since my teenage years. In this story Lamour weaves a tale that involves 4 main characters that lives are intertwined with love, hate, deception, and greed. It is masterfully written and told. Highly recommend
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
high in my top 10 westerns.
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of my all time favorites. Sad---need a good story; this is one to get lost in.
Amy Allen
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reminds me of East of Eden. Slow to get going, but I'm glad I stuck with it.
Mark Pasquini
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reread from years ago. One of my favorite L'Amours. Great. Recommended.
Mason S
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very good book with many lessons to learn from, I learned that you defend yourself even while acting like a gentleman and more. Definitely a re read so I can get more from it.
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Louis L'Amour was an American author. L'Amour's books, primarily Western fiction, remain enormously popular, and most have gone through multiple printings. At the time of his death all 101 of his works were in print (86 novels, 14 short-story collections and one full-length work of nonfiction) and he was considered "one of the world's most popular writers".

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