Bull, Emma -- Territory

A retelling of the Matter of Tombstone (the author's term, not mine). The primary viewpoints are original characters -- a widowed newspaper reporter and a wanderer with a knack for magic -- but nearly equal weight is given to Doc Holliday and his girlfriend Kate Elder. ("Mrs Holliday by courtesy", one narrator acerbically or thoughtlessly comments.) Bull is telling the story of the women of Tombstone as much as that of the men: Kate, the wives of the three Earp brothers, the writer Mildred Benjamin. She also ties in a glimpse of the town's Chinese community.

This volume does not reach the infamous gunfight (a sequel is forthcoming) but it sets up the situation, with twisty chains of magical influence creeping up and over the historical facts. It's not quite the mode of Tim Powers: we learn the underpinnings of magic early on. But it does the same job in the end, revealing truths about Tombstone through explanations that could have been true.

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