A Novel

Russell, Mary Doria

Book - 2011
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
After the burned body of a mixed-blood boy, Johnnie Sanders, is discovered in 1878 Dodge City, Kansas, part-time policeman Wyatt Earp enlists the help of his professional-gambler friend Doc Holliday.

Publisher: New York :, Random House,, [2011], ©2011
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 1400068045
Branch Call Number: FICTION Rus
Characteristics: xvi, 394 pages ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

After the burned body of a mixed-blood boy, Johnnie Sanders, is discovered in 1878 Dodge City, Kansas, part-time policeman Wyatt Earp enlists the help of his professional-gambler friend Doc Holliday.

You may think you know the story of Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp, but think again. Based on historical research, follow the story of John Henry Holliday, a consumptive southern dentist. Constantly on the move west to find relief for his lungs, Doc Holliday finds he can make more money playing car... Read More »

From the critics

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May 14, 2014
  • axeman rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A novel created around the character of Doc Holliday. This was a really good read that would appeal to anyone who likes westerns, historical fiction or American folklore.

Apr 24, 2014

John Henry Holiday ‘Doc’ Holiday gambler, dentist, and gun fighter of OK Corral fame comes to full, fascinating, and colorful life in this fascinating historical novel. Well written and true to place and time you can almost taste the dust as Doc Holiday, suffering from consumption(tuberculosis) struggles to navigate the smoky saloons and gritty streets of Dodge City Kansas. Filled with many colorful historical characters this is a wonderful ‘western’ that everyone will enjoy.

Mar 07, 2013

This was a great read. Probably my first "western." All the characters were so rich and full, that you felt like you knew what made them all click.

And ultimately this book is about friendship and loyalty and the many challenges that can try to tear folks apart.

Great story, great characters. And fun to boot!

Feb 14, 2013
  • arbolito rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Good read if you like getting a more realistic look into what has become an overly simplified gunfight story...
Doc introduces us to some very interesting characters, and mde me want to read more of Mary Doria Russel's work. I am reading Sparrow now which so very different.

Feb 07, 2013
  • sschwa rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A good book, but not as rich as A Thread of Grace.

Oct 18, 2012
  • EndsWell rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This was an absolutely fabulous book - one of my Top 10 for 2011.

Oct 05, 2012
  • DeltaQueen50 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Separating the man from the legend, Mary Doria Russell’s Doc is an extraordinary read about John Henry Holliday, better known as Doc Holliday. This book kept me glued to its pages for days. Taking the information that is known, she builds a story that rings with conviction and passion. The plot is concentrated mostly over the year of 1878, the year Holliday met the Earps, and with the part-time prostitute who was often by his side, Kate Harony, lived in the notorious Dodge City, Kansas.

First and foremost, this is a story of loyalty and friendship. The care and camaraderie between the Earps and Doc Holliday is exceptional. As Morgan once states about Doc, “He didn’t have any brothers of his own, so we took him as one of ours.” The contrast between Wyatt Earp, a masculine, strong and willful man to the frail, weak, slowly dying Holliday is beautifully drawn and highlights the charismatic nature of both men.

This is far from a rip-roaring, lead pumping western. Doc is a beautifully drawn, character-driven story that is told with wit and skill. A secondary plotline featuring the murder of a coloured boy, helps to define the nature of these interesting men and, brings us a clear, sharp picture of the dirty politics that were behind the way Dodge City was being run.

I found Doc to be a deeply moving story, and one that I will remember for a long, long time. Highly recommended

Sep 25, 2012
  • Urbano rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Engrossing. I loved it.

Sep 22, 2012
  • rhys33 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Well written, but the story seems to wander along aimlessly without any real direction. It has a few moments here and there, but what a snoozer! I expected much more after reading Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow (which, by the way, is an amazing book).

Aug 17, 2012
  • Suzanne_Library rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Beautifully written. A moving portrait of human beings struggling in dehumanizing conditions, forging compassionate links with each other in spite of the difficulty and despair in their lives.

Who would have imagined that a novel about gunslingers in the Old West could depict the redeeming power of love?

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Jun 22, 2011

1878, Dodge City, Kansas Doc Holliday is given an awful choice at age 22, die with in months in Atlanta or leave and move to dry air and sunshine in the west. Friendship develops btwn Doc Holliday and Wyat Earp- Holliday becomes a gamble and lives with Kate and Hungarian whole who can quote Latin classics right back to Doc Holiday.


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