- Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Tor Fantasy; Reprint edition (December 30, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812548361
- ISBN-13: 978-0812548365
- Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 1.1 x 6.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 59 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,479,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Territory Mass Market Paperback – December 30, 2008
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
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While there are many delights to be found in this delightful book, author Bull's profound understanding of personality and the nature of the human animal are wrought with finesse, deftly inserted phrases and passags of dialogue. In this way, the reader is led to empathise with characters and to care about their experience, good and bad, e.g. "Anger was like a wildfire in him. He'd thought he was the wildfire . . . now, he knew he was only the tree;" "He felt like a plague carrier. He needed to go before he spread the infection."
Examples such as these proliferate in "Territory" and these wonderful turns of phrase capture the reader in an entirely new world of experience, e.g. "Her whole inner self skidded away from the memory, like slipping on ice." As he ages, Doc Holliday thinks, "Now (he) had less interest in greatness and more in the length of the rope."
Author Bull's lyrical prose is often sheer poetry as in these descriptions, "The trees cast a broad line of breathing shade on either side and rose above it in places like flowers in a vase." And, "In the east, the night sky seemed to be thinning at its edge, tarnished silver instead of ink." And "And sat on his heels in the freckly shade of the mesquite."
Because one of protagonist Jesse Fox's talents is breaking colts, "Territory" offers a scene of his breaking the colt "Spark." That sequence is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful passages I've ever read. Brava! Ms. Bull! Way to go!"
Like the best souffle you've ever had, Emma Bull's prose is as smooth as double cream brie. Beyond the wonderfully developed and intricate plot, her mastery of the craft of writing makes Emma Bull's "Territory" the masterpiece that it is. The book is now one of my faves--and I'll bet it will be one of yours, too.
Tombstone, Arizona is in it's infancy in 1881. Mildred Benjamin is considered an old time resident since she has been there for over a year. The town and most of its citizens are raw, earthy, coarse, and determined to carve out a permanent city from this inhospitable landscape. Finding silver, stealing cattle and gambling seem to be the professions of choice among the men folk with a few stage coach robberies thrown in for good measure. Because of its bohemian-like atmosphere it does not seem unusual that Mildred is the typesetter for the Daily Nugget newspaper. Mildred's husband has been dead for less than a year but returning to Philadelphia is not an option she ever considered. After running away to marry David she would not be welcomed back into the home of her wealthy family.
Jesse Fox is a very confused man. He has felt compelled to go to Tombstone but has fought that compulsion all the way. Finding his friend, Chow Lung, there as the doctor for the residents of Hoptown (the Chinese section of Tombstone) has at least answered the question of what was drawing him toward this location. Jesse is trying to run away from the elements in his life which make him different, the same elements which had caused his sister to be placed in an asylum. By coming to Tombstone he has found many others like himself, men who are described by Chow Lung as sorcerers. A man like John Ringo who seems to have no trouble "finding" cattle that appear to have no owner. Or Wyatt Earp who controls not only his brothers Virgil, Morgan and their wives, but also his friend Doc Holliday. As long as Doc stays with Wyatt in Tombstone he experiences a remission of his consumptive condition but what a huge price he paid for that friendship.
I found this story to be absolutely fascinating. An alternative reality for the events which made the gunfight at the O. K. Corral take place were presented in wonderful fashion. The way the author took so long to reveal what was happening with Wyatt Earp and with Jesse Fox was so suspenseful and exciting. Nothing was completely spelled out for a long while, I just had to keep reading one more page, then one more to find out how these two power sources were going to work their "magic" over the history of Tombstone. And watching the struggle Jesse had with accepting his gift, or power actually, was like watching a person mature by going through trial after trial. I enjoyed it tremendously.
All of this praise does not mean that it was a perfect book. No, I'm not going to go that far. There were many plot threads which never were tied up. Some, such as the land grab attempt by a mining company, don't actually make very much sense because they are simply dropped. Many opportunities to expand on the relationship of Jesse and Mildred didn't materialize. The horse training episode with Jesse and the horse owned by Virgil Earp was wonderfully interesting but didn't seem to be utilized to its fullest potential for the story. The book simply ended. No resolution, no explanations, no happily ever after, not even a hint of the momentous event yet to happen. I can certainly see why some people thought this was the first in a series of books. And it would have made a wonderful series, but that never happened. And yet, the writing just absolutely drew me in and kept me spellbound -- by magic, do you suppose?
Most recent customer reviews
Territory is an enjoyable novel and delivers on what it is sold as. This is very much a western with fantasy sprinkled in, which is what I expected.Read more