This western from Louis L'Amour first saw light-of-day in 1962 as a Bantam soft cover, and has since been reprinted in both soft and hard covers. The action of the novel takes place in the year 1882 with the main character, Shalako, being as lean as 'a famine wolf', a person who could be 'a brooding man, a wary man,' who had little trust in him. He was the quintessential loner of the west, especially the Apache west. He was strong as many of Louis' most memorable characters were, and I believe him to have been patterned on Louis' himself.
With Louis L'Amour's death in June, 1988, we have no further 'new' material from his pen. But thankfully we have many westerns such as this one that can be read, and reread.
And after innumerable readings, this is yet one of my favorite ones. The character appeals to me, as does the time frame of the Apache wars in Arizona, and the international European collection of people. For me this book has as much character development as you will ever find in any of L'Amour's work. But again, I read Louis L'Amour for fun, for adventure, for escapism, not for a lesson in literature such as I found in college. I think too many people look for things in L'Amour's writings that he never, ever intended.
As a man who really knew the desert from experience, books such as this one come across reeking of love of desert and experience. Sometimes when reading a L'Amour such as this one, I pull out one of my hundreds of Arizona Highways magazines to soak up the visuals of his desert writing.
If you read this L'Amour and do not find it favorable, I find it hard to think that any of his writings could please. This is pretty much what the man was and did.
Read this one of the Sonoran Desert and the Apache and enjoy. Take a full bandoleer of cartridges and full canteen along though, for it can get mighty dangerous and thirsty out there in the desert, roaming around with the Apaches on the rampage.