World Fantasy Award nominee 2008.
Wyatt Earp. Doc Holliday. Ike Clanton.
You think you know the story.
Tombstone, Arizona in 1881 is the site of one of the richest mineral strikes in American history, where veins of silver run like ley lines under the earth, a network of power that belongs to anyone who knows how to claim and defend it.
Above the ground, power is also about allegiances. A magician can drain his friends' strength to strengthen himself, and can place them between him and danger. The one with the most friends stands to win the territory.
Jesse Fox left his Eastern college education to travel West, where he’s made some decidedly odd friends, like the physician Chow Lung, who insists that Jesse has a talent for magic. In Tombstone, Jesse meets the tubercular Doc Holliday, whose inner magic is as suppressed as his own, but whose power is enough to attract the sorcerous attention of Wyatt Earp.
Mildred Benjamin is a young widow making her living as a newspaper typesetter, and—unbeknownst to the other ladies of Tombstone — selling tales of Western derring-do to the magazines back East. Like Jesse, Mildred has episodes of seeing things that can’t possibly be there.
When a failed stage holdup results in two dead, Tombstone explodes with speculation about who attempted the robbery. The truth could destroy Earp's plans for wealth and glory, and he'll do anything to bury it. Meanwhile, outlaw leader John Ringo wants the same turf as Earp. Each courts Jesse as an ally, and tries to isolate him by endangering his friends, as they struggle for magical dominance of the territory.
Events are building toward the shootout of which you may have heard. But you haven't heard the whole, secret story until you've read Emma Bull's unique take on an American legend, in which absolutely nothing is as it seems...
Emma Bull (born 1954) is an American science fiction and fantasy author. Her husband is author Will Shetterly. Bull and Shetterly live in Arizona.
Bull's best-known novel is War for the Oaks, one of the pioneering works of urban fantasy. Her science fiction novel Bone Dance (1991) was nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards.
Bull was a member of the writing group The Scribblies, which included Bull, Shetterly, Pamela Dean, Kara Dalkey, Nate Bucklin, Patricia Wrede and Steven Brust. With Steven Brust, Bull wrote the novel Freedom and Necessity (1997).
Photo: Will Shetterly and Emma Bull at home in Minneapolis 1994. Source: Wikimedia Commons.