Bull, Emma: Territory

I see that Emma Bull’s first solo novel in years, Territory, is out. I read an ARC months ago, the kind gift of friends. However, for reasons that will become clear shortly, I wanted to re-read it before writing it up, and I don’t have time now. Normally I’d just wait, but there’s a very important thing people need to know about Territory before they read it. So, as a public service, here it is:

There will be a sequel.

I read the book without knowing that, and I assure you that it was a deeply peculiar experience. Don’t have that happen to you! It’s a very good book and it would be a bad distraction to get to the end and say, “What, is that it?” It’s not.

Territory is a secret history of Tombstone, Arizona, starting in 1881. There’s the Earps and Doc Holliday and John Ringo and Ike Clanton, but there’s also Mildred Benjamin, a widow who works for a newspaper, and Jesse Fox, who keeps being pushed to acknowledge his magic by his friend Chow Lung, a physician from China. Much happens (she says, in the airy manner of someone who read the book months ago), and an arc is concluded satisfactorily without cliffhangers. But, as I said, a sequel is forthcoming.

If you like Emma Bull’s prior books, I see no reason why you shouldn’t like this one. And if you’re interested in Tombstone and don’t object to secret histories, it’s certainly worth a look. I only wish I had time to re-read it now to give it the more thorough and detailed review it deserves.


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  1. I am eagerly looking forward to this. I love secret histories and historical fiction/fantasy when it’s done right.
    I also recently read _Freedom & Necessity_ and loved it. I haven’t read anything else by Ms. Bull, but I am beginning to assume that most of what I liked about the book were due to her since I have tried reading several of Mr. Brust’s books and while they are ok, they didn’t have the spark and style that I so enjoyed in _F&N_.
    I wonder if some old friends might make a walk-on in _Territory_ or its sequel given their plans for residence at the end of _F&N_?

  2. TerryL: I’ll be interested to hear what you think of Bull’s solo novels. [*]
    And your suggestion hadn’t even occured to me! I didn’t spot anyone but I wasn’t looking, either.
    [*] My favorite is _Finder_, which is urban fantasy; many people seem to like _War for the Oaks_, which ditto, better, but I think _Finder_ is a more polished work. OTOH _War_ has very good playing-in-a-rock-band bits.
    The others are _Falcon_, which is peculiar SF that I really ought to re-read, and _Bone Dance_, which is post-apocalyptic fantasy with a really interesting narrator that I think is underrated.

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