A Novel

Book - 2011
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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: 9781400068043
Branch Call Number: FICTION Rus
Characteristics: xvi, 394 pages ; 25 cm
Alternative Title: Eight to five, against


From Library Staff

Selection for 8/8/17

Doc Holliday should have just been a genteel Southern dentist. Wyatt Earp and his brothers should have just been big, strapping farm boys. This incredible novel uses exhaustive historical research to imagine how they became Western legends instead.

Pair with "Riot" (YA) by Walter Dean Myers. Those who are persecuted and outcast eventually fight back.

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 »

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Sep 30, 2016

Really wonderful historic fiction - so well written. It was total entertainment in my opinion, the author did a superb job with her characters. It also made me curious to read an actual biography of this legendary man.

Dec 28, 2015

My new reading tastes lean toward WESTERNS recently. Starting with this superb retelling of an old, familiar story. Takes place before everybody leaves for OK. A good story about a privileged young Southerner who can't stay in the South any longer due to his aliments.

Oct 29, 2015

engrossing story about a complex gunfighter who may not have been a villain at all

Oct 12, 2015

Mary Doria Russell is a gifted storyteller. She presents her characters based on historic research and then creates a compelling life narrative for them. This book is not about Tombstone and the OK Corral rather it's about the period before, when the Earp brothers and John 'Doc' Holiday first meet in Dodge City. Russell creates a fully fleshed and suffering Holiday who is slowly coughing his way to his early death because of TB. She points out that like many a historic figure, if it weren't for a notorious incident, in this case the OK shootout, Holiday and the Earp's would have passed unremarked into history. As it is, she captures the life of 'Doc' and his times in a work of exceptional creation.

Aug 25, 2015

Having read two of Mary Doria Russell's previous books, both science fiction, I approached this with caution. My previous knowledge of Doc Holiday was at best a caricature.

This book focuses on Doc's life in Dodge City, but touches on everything before and after. Plenty of spotlight is also shone on Wyatt Earp, which is perhaps why the author decided to write a sequel of sorts that focused on him and the famous OK Corral. These and other characters are complex and well fleshed out.

Have read three of Mary Doria Russell's books, encountering Jesuits three times. Is there a pattern here? I may have to read another just to find out.

Jul 21, 2015

Excellent fictional work about Doc Holliday that actually dispels many of the tall tales and legends that have sprung up around this consumptive, card-dealing dentist. The action is set in Dodge City, Kansas, years before the infamous shootout at the O.K. Corral. There's a rich cast of characters, and a realistic, compelling portrait of life in the notorious Dodge City. Not your typical shoot-'em-up Western!

FederalWayEdna Jun 19, 2015

Excellent book delving into the personal life of Doc Holliday by showing him not as the gunslinger we all assumed her was but as a progressive dental surgeon, a loyal and dedicated friend, a responsible community leader and an intelligent and generous card-counting gambler. Our book group loved Russell's writing style which brought human kindness in a town that was run by big money and big guns.

May 14, 2014

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.

KCLSLibsRecommend Apr 10, 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!

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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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