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Territory Hardcover – July 10, 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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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)
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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: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,980,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. Kyle VINE 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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I not only want more I need more. Jesse Fox and Mildred Benjamin and Chu and Jesse's sister have more to say. This is a world I want to wrap myself in and explore.

I have been left hanging for so long with a hunger so vast. Please Miss may I have the rest?
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't do plot summaries, so don't expect me to tell you the story in three paragraphs so you will click the "helpful" button.

This is a very fine book, with great characters, a fresh look at some historical figures (were the Earp brothers ALL pimps or only some of them) and an interesting mood and tone. The story, plot if you will, doesn't move forward at a breakneck pace and, worse, it doesn't resolve. I didn't regret reading at the time and I can't say I don't recommend it but.

I don't recommend reading it if you have something else good to read _until_ you hear that a sequel is out. This book needs more book. And it's been long enough that I doubt we will get that. If there were a sequel out, I would give this book four stars and four and a fraction would be more accurate. As it is, three grudging stars.

I have heard disturbing things about discussions in the blogverse in which the author was vilified and may have been discouraged from continuing in this project. It was something called "racefail" and sounds vile. But I wasn't there and I don't know for sure.

Also, she may have simply gotten tired of the project or found no way to continue with the material. That happens more often than one would like and one cannot blame an author if and when it does.
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