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Sitka (2001)

Sitka (2001)

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4.46 of 5 Votes: 4
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0451203089 (ISBN13: 9780451203083)

About book Sitka (2001)

Sitka is one of three Louis L'Amour books published in 1957 and the 12th book of his I've read in my quest to read them all them by year of publication.Sitka is a bit different from the typical L'Amour book that I've read so far. Up until now most of L'Amour's stories have taken place in the US Southwest and follows the pattern of a tall dark stranger rides into town, suffers some injustice and commences to, with either fists, six-guns a blazing or both send the bad guys on their way all while winning the heart of the local fair maiden. Sitka starts in the US East prior to the Civil War with an orphan boy, Jean LeBarge, who heads west growing up to become an astute hunter, trader, seaman, fighter, and adventurer. Hearing of the riches to be made in the Russian territory of Alaska LeBarge buys a schooner and makes plans to sail north and avail himself of these riches while avoiding the Russian Alaska territorial authorities.Amongst that backdrop there is political intrigue as factions within the Russian government work against one another in their administration of their Alaska territory with LeBarge coming to work under contract with the legitimate government of the Czar (giving him the cover to head to Alaska legitimately). The other faction is the local Russian territorial administration and rogue Russian Navy officials skimming from the proceeds and riches of the territory. It is this faction that LeBarge engages with in a game of cat mouse; LeBarge conducting legitimate business as an agent for the Czar and using that cover to engage in trade and commerce with the local population while eluding the Russian Navy and territorial officials.Along the way LeBarge falls for a married Russian princess and engages in his own political intrigue in furthering the sale of Alaska to the United States. Just shy of 250 pages it is a bit longer than the usual L'Amour novel up to this point and has a larger tapestry for its story. Much more of a long form story as opposed to the short story format of the previous books I have read.A side to story to my review; I was on a deadhead flight with my crew to Atlanta and I had pulled out this book to read on the flight and my captain noticed the book and was very excited to see it and loved the story himself. What made the book special to him was that he was born and raised in Hungary and when he was a teenager he and his family made a bold escape from what was then Communist Hungary and the from behind the Iron Curtain to eventually make it to the US. Sitka was the first book in English that my captain had read using his Hungarian/English dictionary to make his way through the story.

Book club selection for July. I'm trying to keep an open mind, but my expectations are quite low for an adventure novel written by the King of Pulp in 1957, when men were men and women were, well, mostly props.UPDATEI'm embarrassed about how grumpy I was when faced with reading this book. I certainly wouldn't have chosen it on my own, but I was pleasantly surprised by it, especially the second half, which focused more on the purchase of Alaska from Russia. This first half is more of a standard adventure story - not bad, but not really my cup of tea. Dialogue is not his strong suit, but he evokes the time and place quite vividly, with some passages that are quite lovely. Kudos to the female character too - I expected her to be just a prop, but she was a charming and decent woman, and quite respectfully represented. Overall, a fine book. Aside: I must admit, I thought of my father the whole time I was reading - he was a huge fan of L'Amour and probably read everything he wrote.

Do You like book Sitka (2001)?

I liked the beginning but it drug on a little long until we get to a grown up Jean LaBarge. L'Amour writes great action stories and there was quite a few times I didn't want to set the book down. I also like how LaBarge respects the marriage between Helena and the Count. I like that this is considered a Western and yet it's more a sea tale set between San Francisco and Russian Alaska with trips through Siberia and Czar Alexander's Court. This is just another book that shows that you really can't pigeonhole L'Amour's writing.

What a rousing adventure story from start to finish! Louis L'Amour is noted for writing westerns, but Sitka doesn't necessarily fall into that category. This story has it all: sea adventure, land adventure, outlaws and theives, high speed chases, duels, a frame tale of sorts, Alaska, and political as well as international intrigue. The hero, Jean LaBarge, seems a little too perfect, but I guess heroes sometimes are. Louis L'Amour's writing style is extremely poetic, and he makes the adventure come to life.
—Ruthie Jones

An orphan lives in a swamp, near the Susquehanna River, making a meager living selling herbs in the local village.His mother has died and the father becomes a mountain man, in the wilds of the Rockies.Jean LaBarge, has only one friend Rob Walker, a shy little boy from a good family.Who of course, don't want their son hanging around with a worthless kid ,who's mother is rumored to have been a gypsy!A group of thieves return to the area.Planning to rob and kill Captain Hutchins, a wealthy merchant, leaving soon for the West. The 14 year old Jean and Rob about a year older , follow a stranger into the spooky swamp, as night falls.In a stonehouse the thief enters. Jean sees three men inside the house, through the window.He bravely gets closer, in order to hear what they're saying.Captured by the gang, LaBarge is lucky when the unknown to the thieves Rob, returns with Captain Hutchins and some villagers.Pennsylvania, before the Civil War was still not quite civilized.The very grateful captain, takes Jean out into the West with him.Fur trading and crossing the U.S. many times, they become rich.With the gold rush in California Jean travels to San Francisco, selling supplies to the miners.Buying a schooner, renamed the "Susquehanna" and heads north to Alaska.A childhood dream but a Russian colony.Having met a Russian Princess and falling in love with her but this fairy tale has a catch, she's married.Illegally buying pelts from the Indians and escaping the pursuing Russian warshps.Eager to see Princess Helena again ,he goes to Sitka the capital of the territory, bringing much needed wheat.If only the beautiful niece of the Czar was single...but Jean is a patient young man, he can wait and maybe happy ending do happen outside of a book.
—Henry Avila

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