Sackett's Land

Sackett's Land

by Louis L'Amour

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After discovering six gold Roman coins buried in the mud of the Devil’s Dyke, Barnabas Sackett enthusiastically invests in goods that he will offer for trade in America. But Sackett has a powerful enemy: Rupert Genester, nephew of an earl, wants him dead. A battlefield promise made to Sackett’s father threatens Genester’s inheritance. So on the eve of his departure for America, Sackett is attacked and thrown into the hold of a pirate ship. Genester’s orders are for him to disappear into the waters of the Atlantic. But after managing to escape, Sackett makes his way to the Carolina coast. He sees in the raw, abundant land the promise of a bright future. But before that dream can be realized, he must first return to England and discover the secret of his father’s legacy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553899733
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/30/2003
Series: Sackett Series , #1
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 19,846
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Our foremost storyteller of the American West, Louis L’Amour has thrilled a nation by chronicling the adventures of the brave men and woman who settled the frontier. There are more than three hundred million copies of his books in print around the world.

Date of Birth:

March 22, 1908

Date of Death:

June 10, 1988

Place of Birth:

Jamestown, North Dakota



Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
It was my devil’s own temper that brought me to grief, my temper and a skill with weapons born of my father’s teaching.
Yet without that skill I might have emptied my life’s blood upon the cobblestones of Stamford, emptied my body of blood … and for what?”
Until that moment in Stamford it would have been said that no steadier lad lived in all the fen-lands than Barnabas Sackett, nor one who brought better from his fields than I, or did better at the eeling in the fens that were my home.
Then a wayward glance from a lass, a moment of red, bursting fury from a stranger, a blow given and a blow returned, and all that might have been my life vanished like a fog upon the fens beneath a summer sun.
In that year of 1599 a man of my station did not strike a man of noble birth and expect to live—or if he lived, to keep the hand that struck the blow.
Trouble came quickly upon me, suddenly, and without warning.
It began that day near Reach when I slipped and fell upon the Devil’s Dyke.
The Dyke is a great rampart of earth some six miles long and built in the long ago by a people who might have been my ancestors. These were the Iceni, I have been told, who lived in my country long before the Romans came to Britain.
When I slipped I caught myself upon my outstretched palms to keep the mud from my clothing, and I found myself staring at the muddy edge of what appeared to be a gold coin.
Now coins of any kind were uncommon amongst us, for we did much in the way of barter and exchange. Merchants saw coins, but not many came our way. Yet here it was, a gold coin.
Shifting my position a bit I closed my fingers over first one coin and, then, yet another.
I stood up slowly, and making as if to brush the mud from my hands, I knocked and wiped the mud from the coins. In a pool of muddy water at my feet, I washed them clean.
They were old … very, very old.
No English coins these, nor was the wording English, nor the faces of the men upon them. The first coin was heavy, of quite some value judging by the weight. The second was smaller, thinner, and of a different kind.
Slipping them casually into my pocket, I stood there looking about.
The hour was before dawn of what bid to be a gray day. Clouds were thick above, and during the night there had been heavy rain. It was a lonely place, where I stood, a place about half the distance from Reach to Wood Ditton. We had worked in the quarries at Reach, some of us, and slept the night on a tavern floor to be near the fire.
Long before day I awakened, lying there thinking of the distance I had yet to go, with the work now ended. So, quietly I had risen, put my cloak about my shoulders, and took my way to the Dyke, the easiest route in any weather.
It was a time when few men got more than a mile or two from their door, unless following the sea or the fishing, but I was a restless one, moving about and working wherever an extra hand might be needed, for it was in my mind to save money, buy a bit more land and so better my position.
Now I had come upon gold, more than I was likely to earn with my hands in a year, although it was little enough I knew of gold. Had my father stood by me he could have told me what each coin was worth.
I made a thing of brushing my knees, which gave me time to look more carefully about.
I was alone. There were willows yonder, farther away oaks and a hedge, but nowhere in the vague light of beginning day did I see movement or sign of men. Carefully I studied the ground where I had fallen. For where there had been two coins there might be three … or four.
Something had scarred the slope here, and rain had found it, as rain will, gouging a small ditch to escape over the Dyke’s edge. Where the trickle of water was, I could see what appeared to be the rotting edge of a leather purse, or sack. A bit of a search with my fingers in the mud and I held three more pieces of gold, and a moment later, another.
That was the lot. I kicked mud over the spot, turned about a couple of times, then walked slowly on, plodding as if tired, stopping a time or two to look about.
At a pool of rain water I paused to wash the mud from my hands. Six gold coins! It was a fortune.
Two of the coins were Roman. Likely enough some brawny legionnaire had come this way from the fighting, and when about to be overtaken had buried them. It was likely he must have been killed then, for he had never recovered his coins.
Such a strong leather purse, if well buried, would need years to rot away, and it might have been some later traveler. Whoever it was, his ancient loss was my present gain.
Yet if I appeared with six gold coins, what would happen?
By some manner of means they would certainly be taken from me. A poor man, even a yeoman such as I, had small chance of maintaining his rights. There were many tricky laws, and the rascals would surely find one that would deprive me of my findings.
I was a freeman living on a small freeholding at the edge of the fens, a bit of land given my father for his deeds in battle. Actually, a great piece of the fens was mine, but it was of small use except for the eeling and occasional mowing.
There was a small piece of land adjoining mine, of good, rich drained land that I coveted. Now I could have it for mine, and more, too, if it were up for the selling.
But if I came forward with gold it would set to wagging half the tongues in the shire, so I had best be thinking of a better way.
It was then I remembered the man from Stamford. An oldish man, and bookish. His name had been mentioned to me in the streets of Chatteris. A curious man, he would go miles to look upon some old wall or a ruined monastery.
His name was Hasling, and sometimes he had bought some ancient thing found by a workman or farmer. It was said he wrote papers about such things and talked of them with men from Cambridge.
He had the look of a kindly man with nothing of the sharper about him, and I’d been told he paid a guinea for a bronze axe dug up in a field. So it was that I went to Stamford.
It was no great house I came to but a fine, comfortable cottage, early in the day. A cottage with fine old trees about and a deal of lawn behind. There were flowers planted and birds who made themselves at home.
When I put knuckles to the door a woman in a white cap opened it, a pleasant-faced woman with a look of the Irish about her, but no friendly smile for me, in my rough dress.
When I spoke of business with Coveney Hasling she looked doubtful, but when I said it was an old thing I had to speak of, the door was wide at once, and the next thing I knew I was seated with a cup of tea in my hand, although I’d have preferred it to be ale.
The room had papers and books all about, a skull with a cleft in it giving me the round eye from black and empty sockets. Close by a bronze axe … the very one.
It was in my mind to question whether the cleft skull and the bronze axe had ever met before when he came in, bowing a short bow and peering at me with tilted head. “Yes, yes, lad, you wished to speak to me?”
“Aye. I have heard you spoken of as one with an interest in old things.”
“You have found something!” He was excited as a child. “What is it? Let me see!”
“I’d have to ask your silence. I’d not be losing the profit of it.”
“Profit? Profit, do you say? It is history you must think of, lad, history!”
“History you may think of, who live in a fine house. Profit is my concern, who does not.”
“You are a freeman?”
“With a small holding.”
“I see. Come, come! Sit you down! You get about some, I take it. Do you know the Roman roads?”
“I do, and the dykes and walls as well. Some earth-works, too, and I might even know a floor of Roman tile.”
“Lad, lad! You could be of service to me and your country as well! These things you speak of … they must not be lost or destroyed. They are a part of our heritage!”
“No doubt, but it is my own heritage I be thinking of now. I have your silence then?”
“You do.”
From my pocket I took the first coin, and he took it reverently to hand, going off to the window for light. He exclaimed with pleasure, “You would sell this?”
“I would.”

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Sackett's Land 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 119 reviews.
NookReaderAN More than 1 year ago
I've never read a Louis L'Amour book before, but now I'm hooked. I've red 4 of the Sackett novel series now and they are all excellent. Its great when you find an author that you know won't disappoint. These books have it all, action, adventure, romance, historical fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heath Jolley
Book review on Sackets Land by Louis L¿amour

I came about this book because I was looking for one to read and I asked my dad if he knew of one. So my dad suggested it to me because it was a book that he had read before. So far I am 3 quarters of the way through this book and it is most defiantly one of the best books I have ever read. The book is about a man named Barnabas Sacket who lives in England around 1600. He became a criminal when he hit a gentry man out of defense who was going to kill him, and he was forced to run from Rupert Genester and he men. Barnabas and a friend Jublain have ran away to London and they went around day to day looking for people who might be able to get them to the new world as in America. In America is where Barnabas plans to take a quick voyage across the sea where he will strike it rich and then return to England. As you read the book you will notice that the book reads very easily. L¿amour does a very good job in making the book flow smoothly. And when he writes he doesn¿t seem to hide anything he just puts it all out there which makes the reading much more enjoyable and less confusing. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good adventure book. The book is also historically correct in the fact that even though it has a fiction based story line it still refers to topics of that time. L¿amour refers to the Romans that came through England and even refers to the Globe Theater and Shakespeare. Louis L¿amour is an American classic who has written more than 40 books of this type. Sackets land is the 1st one of this type and is probably one of the better ones.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good clean read for the introduction to the Sackett books. I enjoy this author a lot. I am older and a woman and read every book of Louis L'Amour I can find.
CharlesPiercey More than 1 year ago
This was a second time around for me, having read all of Mr. L'Amour's books during a 20 year Navy career that ended in 1989 when I went do sea for my last time. I first read one of the Sackett's stories when I was 21 years old and ran across one of the books when I was in the Mekong Delta in 1972. I was still reading Mr. L'Amour over 15 years later on a Med deployment with Commander Cruiser Destroyer Group Two aboard the USS Iowa. I never met a Navy Chief who didn't read Louis L'Amour. He entertained Navy men all over the world, more than any USO Show or Hollywood star. His books filled our loneliest hours offering us rest and respite from long days at sea and thoughts of home. His stories of the "Sackett's" brought to us a little of the history of our Nation, that Men like me served and reminded us what sort of men we wanted to be. I know Presidents thanked him and rewarded him, but I regret he passed before I ever got to say Thank you. Funny a gift of a Nook at Christmas in my 60th year has brought me back to this, one of the greatest story tellers who ever lived. Sackett's Land is a quick and very entertaining read; quick largely because it's so difficult to put down, this tale that begins the series. If you have a child, especially a teenager who doesn't like to read, I encourage you to start them here, where they can be entertained and educated. Excellent read...even the second time around.
yarnspinner More than 1 year ago
I've read quite a few lamour novels, but Sackett's Land (which is the first book in the sackett series) and To The Far Blue Mountains (which is the second) are the best of his work I've read yet, not to mention, just two of the best books I've ever read, period. If you love action, this book's full of it. Not to mention it's a period piece. So many of louis lamour's books have been put to film, i am baffled why this one and the second as well have not been made into movies. If they were, they would be even better than Mel Gibson's Patriot. Hey..... mayble Mel should make these into movies?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
ok i know this may sound common place, but this book and series really rocks. sackett sets a bold name in this series. its an awesome introduction to the sackett family.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book starts out boring, but as you read into it you won't be able toput it down! When you first start out the book it is really legnthy, then as you keep reading Sackett keeps running into more troubles.
Poemyhero on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well, I picked this one up because Louis L'Amour is said to be one of the classic Western writers and I had to read a western for my class. This was my first western and I didn't like nor dislike it. He writes in a much older writing style. He does keep the pace going but I found it rather predictable. I wonder if I read it when it came out (70s) that I may have a different opinion of it. Overall, it was okay, but mostly I didn't care for it. Though I'm glad to have tried a western read. I won't swear off all westerns, but if they are of similar structure to this one then they are not on the top of my list to read.
jcdemo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed all Louis L'Amour's books, but the Sackett novels are my favorite. I love the straight forward presentation of setting, character and story all in the same style across his books.
yesssman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a fun read. I typically enjoy epic storylines and historical fiction, both of which form the basis of this book.
gregcuba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fair but dated. Short book that really didn't keep my interest much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Sackett series is comprised of 17 books, and Sackett's Land is the first one. Although they are "stand alone" books, reading them in order will familiarize the reader with the names of the Sackett family clan. The series begins in the late 1500's and ends in late 1870's. I first read the entire series about eight years ago, and I just finished #17 today. They are timeless, and there's no such thing as a bad Louis L'Amour book! Also, there was a mini-series of the Sackett brothers starring Sam Elliott and Tom Selleck, among others. Very good adaptation from several of the books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If only his character were not such Mary Sues. Still, other than that, masterfully written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A simple story about a dangerous time. A classic story that begins a historic journey by an author. It is full of wonderful characters and expertly detailed locations. The moment I read the last sentence I could not wait to start the next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started reading the Sacketts back in the '70 s. Still worth reading as time goes by.
RandyTramp More than 1 year ago
Barnabas Sackett, an English landowner flees his home for American wilderness. It's hard not to like L'Amour's book. This one, filled with adventure, continually moved. Sometimes I found myself wondering what's going on and had to go back because I missed a key sentence. Sackett, like so many of L'Amour's characters, is loyal. He never backed down from a fight, which there were a lot of them in this read. It's a tough new land and Sackett intends on conquering it. I look forward to the next books, hoping the next one has a little more time on the ocean.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MysM More than 1 year ago
Swashbuckling Adventure Sackett's Land is a solid, junior/intermediate historical, swashbuckling adventure set at the beginning in the fens of Cambridgeshire, Britain and later in the rough, new world of America. It is a time of seafaring, sword fighting, and a sometimes fickle and vain ruling class used to having its own way. Our young hero, Barnabas Sackett, narrates the story of how his rebellious nature brought him to have an urgent need to escape England, and with a few accidentally discovered old gold Roman coins and a sturdy companion, he decides to become a merchant in the colonies. Son of a soldier and brought up on tales of adventure and honour, Barnabas is resourceful and brave as well as cautious and suspicious. He also has a temper which is what lands him in difficulty in the first place. Barnabas faces many dangers along the way and has many close calls but also is able to forge strong alliances that help him in his quest for freedom and a new life. First in a series from prolific author Louis L'Amour, this is an engaging book full of the atmosphere and details of the early settling of America, the American Indian, and the early pioneers. It is based on a real family "with true and factual experiences" from the Isle of Ely in Cambridgeshire. I think it is a book (and series) that will hold great appeal for young people, especially boys, and will bring this time period with its class system and seafaring exploration to life in a very compelling way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a relly good book. Its adventures and has some good cliff hangers. It starts off low but the it turns relly good. Its now my favorit book. I recomend it to everyone. Eli's out!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Angie_Lisle More than 1 year ago
My grandpa read L'Amour's frontier stories to me when I was a wee gal sitting at his knee on the back porch of his West Virginia home so this is technically a nostalgic re-reading for me. This is the story of Barnabas, the grand-sire of The Sackett legacy, and how forces beyond his control wrangled the young man from the English fens to set him on the western path to America. An evolved dime-novel with fast-paced action and a hero whose can-do attitude always helps him win. L'Amour never intended to write literary wonders but told stories reminiscent of campfire tales or oral folklore. Sometimes outrageous and requiring suspended disbelief, this is a foray into pure imagination of bygone times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I injoyed this book i read all kinds of stories i mix them up and always come back here always a refeshing change and will continue to do so can not go wrong one of the best authors
Anonymous More than 1 year ago