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Territory Hardcover – July 10, 2007

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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: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.1 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: #1,878,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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.
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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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 Elizabeth Clare on December 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The front flap of Emma Bull's Territory states: "Wyatt Earp. Doc Holliday. Ike Clanton. You think you know the story. You don't." I realized when I opened the book that I must be one of the only people in America for whom this tagline doesn't apply. I'm not sure why, but I don't believe I've never read a thing about the events in 1881 that led up to the famous "gunfight at the O.K. Corral" in Tombstone, Arizona, and I've never seen any of the movies either. My only previous exposure to the subject would have to be the Star Trek episode in which the Enterprise gang is forced to reenact the incident.

So what an introduction! Territory is a highly original work that takes the known historical facts about Wyatt Earp and the feud that tore the town of Tombstone apart, and uses them to take us into a fully realized alternate reality.

Jesse Fox is a horse trainer and drifter who finds himself drawn to Tombstone after a run-in with a horse thief. There, Fox meets up with an old friend, a Chinese doctor by the name of Chow Lung. Jesse has always known that he's a little bit different. In fact, he has a horror of ending up locked away in an insane asylum like his sister, a fear that long ago caused him to walk away from a potentially lucrative career as a mining engineer. But it turns out Jesse's arrival in Tombstone is no accident. Using supernatural means, Lung has summoned him on urgent business that will force Jesse to confront the truth about the strange abilities he's tried so hard to deny.

When she married a dreamer, Mildred Benjamin left behind her comfortable life in Jewish society in Philadelphia to come out west. Recently widowed, Millie is determined to make it on her own, and finds work as a typesetter and cub reporter for a Tombstone newspaper.
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