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Publisher's Summary

Louis L’Amour’s long-lost first novel, faithfully completed by his son, takes listeners on a voyage into danger and violence on the high seas. 

Fate is a ship. 

As the shadows of World War II gather, the SS Lichenfield is westbound across the Pacific carrying 80,000 barrels of highly explosive naphtha. The cargo alone makes the journey perilous, with the entire crew aware that one careless moment could lead to disaster.  

But yet another sort of peril haunts the Lichenfield. Even beyond their day-to-day existence, the lives of the crew are mysteriously intertwined. Though each has his own history, dreams and jealousies, longing and rage, all are connected by a deadly web of chance and circumstance.  

Some are desperately fleeing the past; others chase an unknown destiny. A few are driven by the desire for adventure, while their shipmates cling to the Lichenfield as their only true home. In their hearts, these men, as well as the women and children they have left behind, carry the seeds of salvation or destruction. And all of them - kind or cruel, strong or broken - are bound to the fate of the vessel that carries them toward an ever-darkening horizon.  

Inspired by Louis L’Amour’s own experiences as a merchant seaman, No Traveller Returns is a revelatory work by a world-renowned author - and a brilliant illustration of a writer discovering his literary voice.

With the preface and afterword read by Beau L'Amour

"A highly entertaining nautical adventure.... Beau L'Amour has done his father's fans a service by showcasing the future best-selling author's already developed storytelling and mature insights into human nature." (Publishers Weekly

"Although L'Amour's name will be forever linked with the American West, fans should welcome the opportunity to read some of his early work.... The insight into each character is typical of everything L'Amour ever wrote." (Booklist)

©2018 Beau L'Amour (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"L'Amour is popular for all the right reasons. His books embody heroic virtues that seem to matter now more than ever." (The Wall Street Journal)

"A master storyteller." (Kirkus Reviews)

“A highly entertaining nautical adventure . . . Beau L’Amour has done his father’s fans a service by showcasing the future bestselling author’s already developed storytelling and mature insights into human nature.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)  

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • dc
  • 22-11-2018

Insightful to fans of Louis.

This book is very insightful to me. His description and obvious love of the sea, as well as his thought processes outlined by the writing of several different interactions between people, shows so much about many of his other novels. "The walking drum." the far blue mountains." "Sacketts land." and several of his short stories are all reflected here. Many of the sayings and the beliefs he expressed in his books are reflected here. But what I liked most, was the insight into his mind.

In all, an outstanding novel for people who are fans of Louis. I dont know if people would enjoy if they were not fans of louis, or at least not to the extent I did, but they might.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David S Stanley Jr.
  • 04-12-2018


I’ve always loved the Western Novels of Louis L’Amour. After reading this novel of the Merchant Marine I’m saddened that he did not continue to write in this venue.
Having severed in both the Merchant Marine and US Navy I found the book both factual full of memories of ships and the men who go to sea in them.
I’ll be forever grateful to Beau L’Amour for his finishing this novel. My only regret is that it ended to soon, and that there will be no more.

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  • Phillip A Kelley
  • 27-11-2018

Captivating, deep, complex and contemplative!

Is it the masterful storytelling of Louis L'amour, the brilliance of Scott Brick's narration, or the careful, guiding, intuitive hand of Beau L'amour that make this book great?

The answer is a resounding 'yes' to all.

It is difficult to write a review of this book without any spoilers, but I shall try.

Let me begin by saying nearly everything that can be said about the story is meticulously told us by the Foreword and Afterward by Beau L'amour. There is no way to concur with his assessment more. It was spot on. (You will have to listen to both, as well as the book, to understand.)

In my view, this book is more about Louis L'amour than anything I have ever read by him. It IS him. This story is the code book to nearly every question that you ever entertained about who Louis L'amour WAS and how he became who he remains to this day.

Gripping, real, complex, deep and more. If this was completed and published in its day, it should have been a classic work, much along the lines of Herman Wouk's "The Caine Mutiny". You are THERE. You are on the ship. You are in the berths with the men, you feel their pain, their joy, experience their dreams, crushed and resurrected, only to be crushed yet once more. You begin to know them, really know them, their backgrounds, their lives, their mindset, their character and who they might have become. The story take you deep into each of the 33 living, breathing crew members lives. As it is with the plight of a total stranger, empathy is difficult, but it is impossible to pass this story without empathy growing and growing for even the roughest of characters (except maybe one or two ;-). These are men, real men. This is the story of men as they were, as they lived and as they strove to live in the 1930's upon the sea, but more truthfully, also on land and the balance they strove for between the two. More the literary sentimental type, I found myself very gripped with emotions, hopes and sympathies for these men who didn't exist, but most certainly lived in that time. "No Traveler Returns" is a top shelf piece of literature and makes me resent just slightly the difficulty Louis L'amour had in gaining acceptance as a serious writer. As he is the master of storytelling, if this had been published early on, he would have become a master of classic literature. The writing flows, yet leaves no salient detail without description, it draws you in and it sits you down by the fire to hear a story in Louis' exceptional way.

In my opinion, there was no one else that could have done this story justice as Scott Brick did. His amazingly unhurried, yet not ponderous fashion of narrating the story...told it! (What can I say, he is Scott Brick!). One minute he was the German, the next he was the Irishman, the next the officer, the next an Aussie, the next the perfect hobo, the next the reserved officer, the next the passionate seaman. A true master of his craft. His voice trailing with that signature hint of sadness beneath its depths at just the right times. Great job Scott!

Beau L'amour has paid his debts to his father with this work! (Assuming there were any left!! Thank you Beau for carrying on your father's work and sharing him with the world! :-) What a tribute! This work is Louis L'amour. As Beau points out, you can see him at different times, at different scenes, in those unique forays into philosophy and by his classical lines of dialogue. The ending was difficult for me, though I saw it coming and tried to prepare, I see that it was necessary, but with the 'closing' of this book, you see the 'closing' of a short era of time never to return; the men who made it, the men it made, the men it left behind and the men it buried. "No Traveler Returns" is a deep and complex work as Beau tells you ahead of time. If you listen, truly listen, to every voice, every life, you, yourself will never return...The next book you read by Louis L'amour will always have this backdrop in your mind.

If you are a Louis L'amour fan, this is one you cannot pass up!

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  • Larry
  • 30-11-2018

Gave up after 3 chapters

Might be historical but I like his westerns and didn’t care for this story at all

0 of 1 people found this review helpful