Book: Kilrone

Author: Louis L’Amour

Cover Illustrator: Gregory Manchess

Publisher: Bantam, reprinted 1981

ISBN-13: 978-0553248678

ISBN-10: 0553248677

Related websites: (author), (publisher)

Language level: 3

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Ages 16 and up

Rating: *** 3 stars (FAIR)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

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L’Amour, Louis.  Kilrone (published in 1966 and republished in 2012 by Bantam Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House Inc., New York City, NY).  Barnes (Barney) Kilrone, a former U. S. Army captain who does some scouting for the cavalry, rides to a post at Cave Springs in the Nevada Territory to tell the officer in charge that a Bannock war party under Medicine Dog has massacred one of his patrols under the post’s commander Col. Webb, and a second patrol under Capt. Charles Mellet riding to meet up with them may be headed for the same fate.  Besides, Lt. Gus Rybolt is returning from Halleck with a guard of six men to escort the pay wagon and is also in danger of ambush.  So the officer in charge is the adjutant, Major Frank Bell Paddock.  When Kilrone and Paddock were dashing young officers in Paris, they both fell in love with the same beautiful woman, Denise de Caslou. But she married Frank, who at first thinks that Barney has come to take her away from him.  Paddock makes a fateful decision to lead his company of soldiers in pursuit of Medicine Dog and hopefully save Mellet’s troop.  But that leaves the post, with its store of ammunition and supplies practically undefended, and Barney is convinced that the Bannocks’ real goal is to take the post.

So, with next in command Sgt. Tim Ryerson sick with pneumonia in the hospital, Kilrone is left behind with a few men, some of whom have to be freed from prison, to guard the post’s women, including Denise Paddock, Stella Rybolt, Betty Considine who is a niece of the post’s doctor Carter Hanlon, and a Shoshone Indian woman Mary Tall Singer who works as a clerk for the post’s sutler, along with the children.  He also finds evidence that someone related to the post has been colluding with the Indians.  Where will the attack take place—on the troops or the post?  What happens to Kilrone and Paddock?  And who is tipping off the Indians?  A few references to drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco occur.  The “d” and “h” words are used quite frequently, and phrases like “My God” are found as interjections.  I can understand why L’Amour was one of my mother’s favorite authors.  His plots are very suspenseful and exciting.  If only the language were better!

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