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Territory Hardcover – July 10, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. World Fantasy–finalist Bull (War for the Oaks) takes huge chances and achieves something distinctively wonderful with this subtle reworking of a western legend. The taming of Tombstone, Ariz., by Wyatt Earp, his brothers and their pal Doc Holliday is a cherished American myth of stoic heroism. Bull approaches the story from a different angle, considering matters that may or may not have escaped Wyatt's chilly attention. When tough-minded widow Mildred Benjamin and drifter Jesse Fox realize that dark magic is manipulating people for a sorcerer's selfish ends, they must decide what they can and should do about it, in the process discovering who they truly are. Mixing fantasy with Old West lore is risky, but Bull takes time to make the place and the people real before undeniably supernatural forces appear. The magic is less flashy than in many fantasy novels, but it's vivid and deeply felt. Readers will think about the story long after it ends, savoring the writing and imagining what the characters might do next. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Territory retells the story of the 1881 shootout at Tombstone's O.K. Corral, but no writer has yet approached the event with the same compelling mix of history and fantasy as Emma Bull. She blends historical and fictional characters to great effect; although the story is packed with suspense, romance, violence, and action, the psychologically deep, larger-than-life characters drive the narrative. Bull's spare use of magic and sorcery adds a welcome dimension to this often-told story. Simply put, says SciFi Weekly, Territory is "a classic in the making." The only complaint? Readers may not be aware that the novel is the first in a two-part series, so the narrative ends abruptly.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (July 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312857357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312857356
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,884,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I write science fiction and fantasy, both novels and... Well, I'd say short stories, but they often wind up as novelettes. Or novellas. Usually novellas. My parents observed early on that I was a yakky kid.

I was born in Torrance, California. After that, my family moved to Houston, Texas; Beloit, Wisconsin; South Plainfield, New Jersey; and Rockton, Illinois. Since I was still short a few states at that point, I moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota after graduating from Beloit College. From there, I moved to Los Angeles, California; Bisbee, Arizona; and Tucson, Arizona.

Hmm. Still short a few states.

I'm married to author Will Shetterly. I have two cats: Toby, the best cat in the world; and Barnabas, the worst cat in the world.

I'd list my published work, but hey, this is Amazon.com! If there isn't already a link to everything somewhere around here, just search for me!

In addition to my solo writing, I'm the Executive Producer of Shadow Unit, the best science fiction thriller TV show in prose form ever. So far, at least. My Co-Producer is Elizabeth Bear. Writing staff includes Will Shetterly, Sarah Monette, Amanda Downum, Leah Bobet, Chelsea Polk, and Holly Black. We're in our third season as I write this. Check it out at www.shadowunit.org.

As my Amazon Wish List shows, I'm a Man from Uncle and Wild, Wild West fan. I crochet. I sew. I like cowboy reenacting and Victorian dress-up and dancing. I also play guitar and sing, and was proud to be a member of Minneapolis band Cats Laughing and goth-folk duo the Flash Girls.

I'm just a little bit obsessed with coffee.

Customer Reviews

Beautiful writing, delightful characterizations.
Brenopa
The story moved a bit slow for me though and in the end there were too many things left unresolved.
K. Eckert
I am going to twist the arms of everyone I know so they will read this book.
Sharon C.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By R. Kyle TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
There are now less than a handful of authors whose hardcovers I will pick up without reading at least to Chapter Two. Emma Bull is one of that handful. She's only produced a few books in her literary career, but I find her writing to be as finely honed as Damascus steel--with a terrible beauty to match. If I had checked and realized that "Territory" was a Western, I might not have even read it.

That would have been a big mistake.

Most people who know my book habits would describe me as a voracious reader. If I like a book, I'll devour it in one sitting. In this case, I took a week to drink in the setting and the people and to occasionally read back.

"Territory" takes place in Tombstone, AZ, circa 1881. The town is barely in its toddler stage, born of greed and men's need to find a new life.

Bull's point of view characters are Mildred Benjamin, a recent widow, who works as a typesetter for the local paper and writes serial fiction on the side. Jesse Fox is an Eastern educated drifter who started out training to be a mining engineer til he discovered he had a talent for horse training. Fox has been told by a Chinese physician, Chow Lung, that he has a gift for magic and should use it. Til now, Fox has postponed that suggestion.

Mildred and Fox both discover there is dark magic afoot in Tombstone. More than once magician is fighting over the land rights. For certain, they know that one of those dark magicians is Wyatt Earp, brother to the Deputy US Marshal, Virgil Earp.

Along the way, we experience Western life firsthand. Ironically, fire breaks out in one of the hotels while the town's mayor is away trying to purchase a fire wagon for the town.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first discovered Emma Bull shortly after her fantasy novel, War for the Oaks, was released in the 1980s. In WftO, the protagonist was a rock-and-roll musician (not the then-common folk/earth mother) who is unwittingly brought into a war between opposing forces (both fairie). I've read that book so many times that I can recite whole passages from it.

Emma Bull's Territory is set in the months before the famous "shootout at OK Corral." In this novel, the two protagonists are unwittingly caught in the crossfire between two opposing forces -- the Earps and those who want to wrest away their control over the mining boomtown. As in WftO, the characters are people who don't quite accept the roles society expects for them: a young widow who's a typesetter at the newspaper and a horse tamer with an unacknowledged magical gift.

And it is absolutely marvelous.

Emma Bull is a brilliant storyteller who simply does everything right. She creates characters who, after only a few pages, you believe are real, and whose fate you care about desperately. The setting captures the climate, in both the weather and political senses; you're brought into a world of social proprieties, in which people are loathe to call friends by their first names, even during emergencies. The story... well, I'm rather blown away by Bull's ability to write around the "known facts" of the Tombstone era. Nor could I put the book down.

If you're a fantasy fan, you may fret a little bit about reading a "western." If you're a western or historical fan, you might be concerned about adding unrealistic-sounding fantasy to this story.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K. MacAlister on July 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've never yet passed up an Emma Bull novel, and after this one, I'm glad I haven't. Ms. Bull has written fantasy here but it doesn't resemble any other of her books, but then she has never written the same type of book twice. I was almost to the end of the book before I fully realized what was happening, so subtly was the fantasy woven in. On the surface the book is about Tombstone, Wyatt Earp, and Doc Holliday. The historical research is spot on--it's the fantasy that gives the whole story its twist. The historical characters are not who they seem to be. I read the book over the better part of two days and was disappointed that I had finished so quickly. I've heard that this is the first of two books--I only hope she gets the second one out soon. We haven't seen the alternative story of the gunfight at the OK Corral yet!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sam Sattler on December 27, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Territory broke new ground for me. I have long been a fan of realistic western fiction, the grittier the better, but have never much enjoyed fantasy writing of the type filled with magicians, superheroes, or magic kingdoms. Fortunately, this time my love for both factual and fictional accounts of the Earp brothers, and their association with Doc Holliday, overrode my reluctance to spend reading time on the fantasy genre. That is because Emma Bull has pulled off what I would have considered impossible before reading Territory: a near perfect blending of a realistic western with a healthy dose of magic thrown into the mix.

That Bull's use of magic is key to the development of her novel's plot and characters but still not overdone, makes for an enjoyably off-center look at some real-life characters already very familiar to fans of Old West novels. The action all takes place in and around Tombstone, Arizona, just a few months before the infamous (and still mysterious) "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" as all the usual suspects gather there to feed on the hatred they feel for each other.

On the one side are Wyatt Earp, his brothers Virgil and Morgan, and the equally famous dentist who calls himself Doc Holliday. On the other side are gunslinger Johnny Ringo and the Clanton and McClaury brothers, a bunch of part-time cowboys and rustlers. What makes this portrayal of the historical events of the day so different is that several of the key players have more than simple charisma working in their favor; they are secret magicians with the power to influence events as much with their minds as with their pistols.

Into this mix, Bull blends several fictional characters that get caught up in the events of the day.
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