ATTENTION WRITERS - Here is your chance to share your work. Send us your short stories to be published on-line. Click here for details Don't Delay


August 15
New reviews in
The Book Nook and
Voices From the Past

August 1, 2018
Updated Convention Listings

Book Pick
of the Month

July 15
New reviews in
The Book Nook
The Illustrated Corner,
Odds & Ends and
Voices From the Past

July 1, 2018
Updated Convention Listings

Previous Updates

by Emma Bull
$14.99, Tor, 318pp
Release Date: December 6, 2011

This story was originally published in 2007 and I am happy it was recently reprinted giving me the chance to know it.  Ms Bull lived very near Tombstone , Arizona for many years and obviously developed a love for its history.  But this Tombstone story is not a historical drama or romance.  This Tombstone is magical, dark and intensely populated with strange characters.

Jesse Fox was only passing through when circumstances caused him to stay a while in Tombstone .  He’d been summoned by an old friend and magician, Chow Lung.  Lung had been trying for years, only somewhat successfully, to train Jesse to accept and use his own magical talents.  And it was only when confronted with a plethora of other magicians, some experienced, some not so much, that Jesse was forced to look harder within himself to use his own magic to survive.

The main characters are Jesse and Mildred Benjamin, a widow who works at the Nugget newspaper – initially as a typesetter and later as a reporter.  I was deceived into thinking at the beginning of the book that Doc Holliday was a main character.  And while he did have quite a few pages, he wasn’t really.  He was really just a plot device to explain another aspect of the magic; which was a trifle disappointing as I always saw the character of Doc Holliday as particularly interesting.

The plot revolves around the historical event of a stagecoach robbery gone awry.  The question of who did it is key; as many believed the Earps or Holliday were involved.  The Earps are quite powerful; Wyatt, in particular, as he is obviously a magician. Jesse discovers that a magician has laid claim to Tombstone and put some sort of magical boundary around or through the town.  Disabling the magical geas draws unwelcome attention to himself but does open his eyes to what he’s capable of.  There is some effort to discern who the nasty magician is but the author didn’t really explore it much; preferring instead to introduce other dramatic events.  Jesse’s mentor is killed by a magician, whether it’s the same one or not is never clear to me.  And then the town suffers from a devastating fire, an historical event, that didn’t seem to contribute anything to the story.

One of the characterizations I was really happy with was Mildred as a woman of her time.  There were no hints of anachronistic behavior.  Jesse was substantially interesting and Doc Holliday was well-realized although his character didn’t really contribute anything to a resolution. The McLaurys and Clantons played bit parts and I’m sure anyone who picks up this book will fully expect the final climax to end up at the OK Corral. As with everything else about this Tombstone , the climax is nothing you might expect. This was an enjoyable read if you enjoy the Old West. ~~ Catherine Book

Follow us

for notices on new content and events.

to The Nameless Zine,
a publication of WesternSFA

Our Columns:

The Book Nook
Reviews of the latest in science fiction and fantasy

The Illustrated Corner
Reviews of the latest in Manga and Graphic Novels

Odds and Ends
Reviews of non-genre items our staff enjoyed
(Can be books, movies, TV shows or music)

Voices from the Past
Reviews of genre books from the past (at least 20 years old)
and those which are Out of Print but still wonderful to read

A Chat with
Interviews with people of interest
Current Interview: Brandon Sanderson

Author Appearance & News
This page lists author signings and appearances, convention news
and any other events we think might interest our readers.

Reel Talk
Reviews of current genre movies in the theater
and favorite and new DVD releases

A Tale Told Thusly
A place for new and established writers to show off their short stories

Trivia Contests

In Remembrance
Memories of those who have passed on

WesternSFA Main Page

Links of Interest

Email Us


Copyright ©2005-2018 All Rights Reserved
(Note that external links to guest web sites are not maintained by WesternSFA)
Comments, questions etc. email WebMaster