Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Walking Drum

The Walking DrumThe Walking DrumNot soon after my marriage I quickly discovered that to truly understand who my husband was I needed to read some Louis L'Amour.

Since my husband happens to have L'Amour's entire collection this was no problem. In actuality the problem came from stopping... once I had opened the pages to those crisp old copies my husband pounced.

"Try this one," he would say with a sparkle in his eye. "You'll really like this one, too."

And that is how I came to read 'The Walking Drum' by Louis L'Amour and I'll admit... it's good. It's probably one of my favorite books.

Last week I asked my husband, "I need a book/song combo; do you have any ideas?"

He smiled and said, "Yes!"

So here I am introducing you to my husbands first music/book recommendation.

The Walking Drum is essentially the story of a boy searching for his father. Set in Europe during the Dark Ages the book is an epic tale of adventure. Swords and romance can be found at every turn.

The boy, Mathurin Kerbouchard, is the son of a great man respected, feared and admired throughout all the land. At the very beginning of the story Mathurin is found sitting in the remains of his home struggling to come to terms with what has just occurred:

"Nothing moved but the wind and only a few last, lingering drops of rain, only a blowing of water off the ruined wall. Listening I heard no other sound. My imagination was creating foes where none existed.

Only hours ago death had visited this place. This heap of charred ruins had been my home, and a night ago I had lain staring into the darkness of the ceiling, dreaming as always of lands beyond the sea.

Now my mother lay in a shallow grave, dug by my own hands, and my home was a ruin where rainwater gathered in the hollows of the ancient stone floor, a floor put down by my ancestors before memory began."

The song my husband recommends is The Ballad of Paladin by Johnny Western

Paladin, Paladin
Where do you roam?
Paladin, Paladin,
Far, far from home

Mathurin goes in search of both his father and the people who destroyed his home. Yet the mere mention of his surname is enough to silence a crowd:

"How many are in the castle," I said, "who plundered the manor of Kerbouchard?"

There was instant stillness, the eyes of all three were upon me. If frightened before, they were doubly so now.

"Kerbourchard is dead," the fat man said.

"He lives," I replied, "and soon he returns. Now an answer to my question."

. . .

"He lives," I said, "and I am his son."

"Hah! The cub! The old wolf's cub!"

Have Gun Will Travel reads the card of a man.
A knight without armor in a savage land.

His fast gun for hire heeds the calling wind.
A soldier of fortune is the man called Paladin.

When my husband finally found "Paladin" online and played it for me I admit a smile crept across my face. I especially like the part where the song talks about 'the legends of the Paladin' because in The Walking Drum the name of Kerbourchard holds a lot of weight.

Speaking of his father Mathurin says:
"Taking the charcoal he drew a line north to south across Brittany and through the camp of Tournemine. "If you dare to raid west of that line I shall come back here and hang you from your own battlements."

Tournemine's face was rigid with mingled anger and fear, but my father was a man to make men tremble.

My father picked up the table, and with his own hands he broke off the legs and tossed them aside. Picking up the table with it's rude sketch, he placed it on the mantle above the fireplace.

"Leave it there," my father said. "If I ever hear it has been taken down, I shall come back to see you. Do you understand?"

Tournemine, his jaw stiff, struggled for the words. "I understand," he muttered.

"He travels on to where ever he must
a chess knight of silver is his badge of trust
There are campfire legends that the plainsmen spin
of the man with the gun
of the man called paladin"

"I let out a savage yell: "A Kerbourchard!" And sprang at them.

My shout startled them, that unexpected but feared cry stopped them where they stood.

. . . .

I shouted, "A Kerbourchard!" The old war cry of my father's men. It seemed to strike fear into those opposing me.
Paladin, Paladin
Where do you roam?
Paladin, Paladin,
Far, far from home.
Far, far from home.
Far, far from home.

I highly recommend this book, but I must note that this was supposed to be the first of a trilogy that was never finished (due to the death of L'Amour). My husband failed to mention that when I started the book so I had no way to brace myself for his riding off into the sunset for another adventure.

Books: The Walking Drum by Louis L'Amour
Songs: The Ballad of Paladin by Johnny Western


Roxie said...

I keep handing books I love to my husband, but he and I read so differently, I devour books and he takes his sweet time, that he hasn't made much headway on most of them.

Cannwin said...

Thankfully I have been blessed with a husband who loves books as much as I do. We generally like the same stuff as well so we read them together. That's one of the best past-times ever, I would recommend it to anyone.


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