SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 1153 The Walking Drum, by Louis L'Amour Book Review |

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The Walking Drum, by Louis L'Amour
Genre: Alternate History
Publisher: Bantam
Published: 1985
Review Posted: 3/18/2008
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 8 out of 10

The Walking Drum, by Louis L'Amour

Book Review by Pete S. Allen

Have you read this book?

Louis L'Amour made quite a name for himself in the genre of Western fiction, beginning with stories sold to a variety of styles of pulp magazines at the end of WWII, and moving mainly into westerns for economic reasons -- western pulps bought more of his stuff. In 1953, he published his first novel, "Hondo," and began a prolific career, publishing over a hundred novels before his death in 1988.

L'Amour's storytelling style was smooth and accurate -- the technical and historical details of his stories were always meticulously researched. This is very apparent in his departure from the western realm, The Walking Drum.

The Walking Drum is set in the 12th century, spanning Europe and the Moorish Middle East. Its hero, Kerbouchard, is pure L'Amour -- probably an ancestor of the Sacketts. After raiders sack his village, we follow Kerbouchard as he begins to find his father, a famous travelling merchant. Turns out the villain behind the raid was an old enemy of his father's, and he has Kerbouchard is captured by slavers not long after his quest begins.

By ingenuity, bravery, and some luck, our Kerbouchard quickly overcomes this, and many more obstacles thrown his way. His responsibility to his slain relatives, his thirst for revenge, and his legendary father's favour drive him on in his search.

This book would be quite a departure for L'Amour simply because of its setting, but the interesting part is the detail and admiration given to medieval Moorish culture by the author. L'Amour takes pains to paint the Renaissance going on from Moorish Spain to Constantinople, while the Darkest of Ages prevails in Europe, contrasted quite effectively by our hero. Kerbouchard fits right in as an eager student of the arts, becoming quite an accomplished poet. The advances in astronomy, medicine, and the other sciences are given a great deal of the author's attention, further impressing the reader with L'Amour's unbiased presentation of history.

But don't let that distract you -- this is an adventure tale of the highest order. Young Kerbouchard is the bravest of heroes, inspiring courage and admiration from the other characters and making his father proud.

L'Amour had hinted at the end of this book that there would be a sequel, but he was claimed by lung cancer before he could write it. This is very much a shame, because The Walking Drum certainly leaves the reader craving a return visit.
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Comments on The Walking Drum, by Louis L'Amour
Posted by Kathi Cahoon on 9/10/2016
I am a little over half way through the book and I LOVE it! I like the taste of 11th century history and have been looking up many of the terms that I didn't know. What an epic tale told by an incredible writer. Like many of the other readers, I wish there was a sequel.
Posted by poe on 11/25/2015
I believe this to be LL finest work, Ive read alot of his books and i love his attention to true historical facts, as for anne and amanda , not everyone has the same sense of adventure and as for the damsel in distress,i think he was "teasing " her and she finally caught on. In those times a lady such as suzanne would have been very fortunate to find mathurin who only teased her. i really wish someone would do a movie on this book that would compare to like say lonesome dove. really wish there was a sequel to this book.
Posted by Kevin on 7/21/2011
If one prefers an honestly historical novel, this one seems to be one of the best. LL appears to have taken great effort to fit his characters into a proper place in history--a history rarely told in the western world. Recommend
Posted by Kara on 5/3/2010
I am 33 yrs and have been a Louis L'Amour fan since junior high. The Walking Drum, along with The Lonesome Gods, is one of my favorite books of all time. I don't think promiscuity is overly emphasized at all and men of any age could learn from Louis L'Amour's many characters about honor, respect, fairness, courage, and kindness. Kerbouchard is not just a big strong oaf. Intelligence, wisdom, and learning is much respected. I have four boys ages 13-7. I hope they read all of LL's books, from The Walking Drum to the Sacketts for some valuable character lessons!
Posted by Damian on 3/25/2010
Louis Lamour was the by far and large the hardest working historical writer of our time. in his many years searching for historical truths, he collected thousands of rare books from around the world. I don't think his intention was to offend, but rather to depict Mathurin with historical accuracy... the truth is that most of us would be offended by the very ancestors we admire, if we were to meet them in person today.
Posted by Trey on 12/2/2009
Dear Anne and Amanda,
Your missing a big important detail. I dont recall Mathurin being in love, as many times as I have re-read this book. He says it himself about how these girls drive his loins crazy and all. He is a young man lusting for adventure and women. As it was in those times, In all honesty, the way he treated alot of the women was like a man who loved them in that time period. Hard to make a believable book about that time period, while romanticizing about some kind of twilight teenage love affair.
Posted by Amber on 8/5/2009
This book was amazing...amazingly boring that is! The fight scenes were good but the dialouge and following where Kerbouchard goes was not worth my time. I had to read it for school so there was no avoiding it but i wish i could've because it was a waste of time. 2 stars!
Posted by Unbelievable! on 7/16/2009
This was a fantastic book set in a different time, and depicts people who had a different social and moral standard than we have today. The characters in this book are as they would have been in the setting and social climate of the setting.

You can not apply 2009 political correctness to a book that takes place centuries ago.
Posted by Manswer on 4/18/2009
Oh Anne and Amanda, I am having a hard time believing you actually read the book in it's entirety. Just want fact check you here, Kerbouchard didn't leave suzanne...he was fighting for her when the petchnegs, or people of the black tent, came to wipe out the caravan....hopefully this jogs your memory because I would love to go into a full length description of how absolutely wrong you are about this book but I am refrained because I don't want to spoil it for anybody else.
For recommendation sake, This book is a great read, if you like this time period and want some pretty accurate historical data in fictional story form then this is great, I highly recommend.
Posted by Jake on 4/8/2009
Anne and Amanda. you are the kind of closed minded individuals I have avoided all of my life. This book was amazing. I have read it Seven times. You are a fool if you think it is anything but extraordinary. Mathurin is in love with suzanne and she him. Also They are alone for so long because they are in danger they have no other option but to be alone with each other. Broaden your Horizons. PS. This is by no means a childrens book so don't tell me it is teaching our children bad morals. Be a responsible parent and don't let your children read it.
Posted by Anne and Amanda on 3/16/2009
We see where you are coming from, but not everyone idealizes those celebrities that set incredibly bad examples for our children. Some, however, are good people that should be looked up to. But that's besides the point. We disagree that Mathurin stood up for the womens' honor and integrity. Had we been in Suzanne's position, we would have felt degraded and insulted! Not to mention, she was alone for hours with Mathurin while he hinted at innapropriate actions. Put yourself in that position and then tell us he defended their honor and integrity!
Posted by Me myself and I on 3/11/2009
I would like to respond to Anne and Amanda's comment. In regard to the morals portrayed by the book, it is no worse than our celebrity "heros" we have today. This book was incredible, and i would easily recomend it to anyone. Also if you remember he never did make love to any of the woman he came across, but instead stood up for their honor and integrity. As I said this book was very well written, and I found it to be very informitive and historically accurate. I deeply regret that L'amour did not have the chance to write a sequal, and hope that someday someine will be able to re-create the book into a motion picture.
Posted by Anne and Amanda on 2/24/2009
This book was boring, repetitve, and taught us bad morals. Not only did Mathurin go through the same flirting cycle with several women, he alludes to sexual relations with a woman in his past, as well as tries to get another woman to bed with him. This is incredibly inappropriate. Mathurin is not married and this sets a bad example for young men today. We were severely offended by this book. As women, we do not appriciate a main character being celebrated for his lusty tendencies. As well as being offensive and innapropriate, it was boring. We're not going to lie, it was a struggle to read this book, and we did finish it. We do not recommend for anyone who appreciates a plot line that makes sense, as well as gripping suspense. Again, we did not like this book.
Posted by Mike on 2/8/2009
Easily one of the worst books I;ve ever had to endure reading for a history class. The repetative plot lulls you into a pit of boredom while attempting to read this novel. I certainly would not reccomend this book to anyone; don't even waste your time with it.
Posted by Karen W. on 10/18/2008
A great adventure tale, but very improbable. Great if you are looking for a perfect, manly hero overcoming long odds.
Posted by Jason on 3/18/2008
Enjoyed it, always wished there was that next one. LL was a national treasure and I'm glad to have read close to 95% of everything he published.