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Law of the Desert Born by Louis L'Amour
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it was amazing

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Law of the Desert Born is a beautifully illustrated retelling of one of L'Amour's short stories - based more upon an audio version by L'amour's son Beau and Katherine Nolan. This is the first graphic novelization of a L'Amour novel and the attention to detail really shows.

The story is set in 1887, New Mexico territory. A pervasive drought in an already dry area means there is very little grassland left for cattle. Cattle Rancher Tom Forrester was allowing his cattle to graze on a neighbor's land next to their river - a rare grassy area. But the son of that neighbor (whose father was Forrester's good friend before he died) feels there's not enough grass for his cattle as well. So he puts up a fence and a feud ensues. What starts as a simple act of revenge against the neighbor spirals into two murders. Forrester's cattlemen, Shad Marone and Jesus Lopez, find themselves on opposite sides of a posse. Marone's on the run, Lopez is leading the chase to find him, and the New Mexico countryside is their battleground.

The story changed from the original novel by being more of a study on how no one is wholly good or bad. More back story was given to the characters and quite a few ironies were born subsequently. As a result, the short story is fleshed out and a bit of L'amour's life is interjected as well since the posse chase was based upon a memoir by L'Amour when he traveled the area as a younger man.

To say the artwork is breathtaking would be an understatement. This is one of the most beautifully illustrated black and white graphic novels I've read in a long time. The panels are clean and the artist/authors were judicious in avoiding making the story too wordy. Surprisingly so considering this came from an audio version.

This is a new way to enjoy L'Amour's work. Not a retread of the short story but a new perspective that is interesting, fresh, full of dimension, but still paying homage to the original.

Received as an arc from the publisher.

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Reading Progress

July 25, 2013 – Shelved
Started Reading
July 26, 2013 – Finished Reading

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