Last of the Breed
By Louis L’Amour
This story follows the events of
What would a L’Amour book be without proper enemies? (Spoiler Alert!)
Joe Mack’s enemies are Soviet Colonel Arkady Zamatev and his Yakut henchman Alekhin. They are intelligent characters with the experience necessary to trap Joe Mack again. It takes all that Joe Mack could possibly posses within him along with the knowledge that he is from a lineage of pure bred survivors. He uses every skill he ever knew and he endures beyond that in order to overcome, Alekhin, the Yakut scout. The race for escape and survival is on for Joe Mack and the orders to track and capture him begin for Alekhin.
Filled with suspense artfully done, Joe Mack has thoughts that he needs no one and avoids all contact with others. Soon, he is forced to humble himself and take shelter from a lovely Romanian woman, Natalya, and her father. I liked Natalya for her mystique. Perhaps, because between her and Joe Mack, they silently fall in love or maybe there will always be a warm memory of good friendship. I felt this scene gives the book a rare glimpse of humanity to Joe Mack’s character. For most of the book, Joe Mack is isolated undergoing a rough transition to merge himself with the wilderness. There is nothing insularly noble about him or the way he conducts himself throughout the story but it is riveting just the same.
An interesting note is that this book was published in 1986 and was written to take place sometime in the 1980's. This means that this story was possibly written during the Cold War but that it took place before the opening of the Iron Curtain revealed the kidnapping of American pilots by the Soviets.
A lot of speculation has been mentioned about a sequel because of the limited amount of closure in the ending. I am personally glad to find out that L’Amour had supposedly never planned or has ever written a sequel. I prefer it that way as sequels can be mundane. I think Last of the Breed stands on its own.