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    Review of TERRITORY by Emma Bull (see her Blog)

    Tor, July 2007

    It doesn't take horse trainer Jesse Fox long to notice something strange going on in Tombstone, Arizona. It isn't just the way the town seems divided between factions--with all of them apparently controlling aspects of law enforcement and simultaneously involved in criminal activities. Although Jesse doesn't want to admit it, there's something magic going on. His Chinese mentor, Chow Lung, has been trying to persuade Jesse to unleash his magical talents. When Jesse gets involved in the conflict between Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and the Earps on one side, and John Ringo and the sheriff on the other, he soon learns he's going to need some extraordinary help if he's going to survive.

    Like Fox, typesetter Mildred Benjamin doesn't want to believe in magic. Still, her eyes are gradually opened. Wyatt Earp, in particular, has strange talents--talents that make him like a vampire to those with power--and she has just enough power of her own to be vulnerable. A widow, Mildred had thought romance was a part of her past--except in the stories she writes. But when Fox walks into her life, she has to wonder whether that part of her life just might open again.

    Author Emma Bull (see more reviews of novels by Bull) spins a fascinating tale of magic and the old west. Retelling the familiar story of Tombstone, Arizona, in the days before the shootout at OK Corral. Bull's use of magic is fascinating--magic plays an important role in motivation, but remains in background during most of the events of the story. Bull sets a mostly slow pace for the story, with the Mildred Benjamin POV moments, in particular, being low in action. But Bull's beautiful writing and her sparing use of magic make TERRITORY a fascinating and strangely compelling novel.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 10/27/07

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