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by Emma Bull

      Jesse Fox, a drifter from an Eastern college, enters Tombstone, Arizona just as a foiled stage coach robbery has occurred.  Here he meets Mildred Benjamin, widow typesetter of the Nugget, who is submitting stories of Western derring-do to a  magazine back East. Together they help free Luther King, a young wrangler believed to be part of the gang who attempted the stage coach robbery.  King is caught again and killed and his severed arm is dropped in the street of Tombstone as a warning. Mildred and Jesse are alarmed and must find the source of the warning. Precious minerals are discovered and a struggle for power, for control of these riches, develops between the Earps and the law and the Clantons, the outlaw cowboys.  A dark magic seems to be manipulating people for selfish ends.  Jesse and Mildred must decide what they can and should do about it.

This is a compelling mix of history, detective and fantasy.  Bull makes the place and people real before the supernatural forces appear.  The characters are lifelike.  The plot is well constructed, packed with suspense, romance, violence and action.  This is an intriguing narrative based on the legend of the Earps, Doc Holliday and the shoot out at the OK Corral, including the unexpected and unexplained role of the Earp women in the tragedy.  This is a book which will leave the reader with many unanswered questions and perhaps a few doubts about what we had believed about the past.

The Book

July 2007
Western fantasy
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The Reviewer

Barbara Buhrer
Reviewed 2008
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