Law of the Desert Born: A Graphic Novel HC
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Price: $25.00
Creators: Original story by Louis L'Amour.  Adapted by Charles Santino from a script by Beau L'Amour and Katherine Nolan.  Artwork by Thomas Yeates.
Format: 160 pgs., B&W, 12.2" x 8.3", Hardcover
ISBN: 978-0-3455-2812-4
Age Rating: N/A
ICv2 Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5
Louis L'Amour is one of the most recognizable names in western fiction, and this is the first authorized graphic novel based on his work.  Loosely based on one of his short stories, this is a dark story of escalating revenge that eventually consumes lives.  In New Mexico in the 1880s, the second wave of the building of the west was taking place.  The old frontier was being fenced in, both physically and metaphorically, as more people and a greater level of civilization arrived.
In this story, an older rancher comes into conflict with a younger rancher, the son of an old friend.  They have always shared grazing land and water, but by law the younger man owns key parts of both, and when a drought hits, disaster follows.
This type of story is comparable to "noir" crime novels, in that you see events unfold, and the harm they cause, but what you’re really following are the people, as their lives crumble.  As the reader, you view an apparent murder, then flash backwards and forwards through time in order to show you what really happened, and the consequences of the act.
Thomas Yeates was an excellent choice for the artist for this project.  His portrayal of the west was very convincing.
The graphic novel was adapted from a screenplay, rather than directly from the short story, but Beau L'Amour certainly knew his father's writing well enough for that script to be a good one.
It will appeal mostly to adults, but is suitable for older teens.

--Nick Smith: Librarian Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.