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by Mike Resnick

Pub Date: Dec. 10th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-61614-861-4
Publisher: Pyr/Prometheus Books

Another of Resnick’s Weird West fantasy yarns (The Buntline Special, 2010, etc.) starring consumptive dentist/sharpshooter Doc Holliday and an eye-popping selection of other historical characters.

In 1885, the peace treaty signed by Theodore Roosevelt and Apache medicine man (read: wizard) Geronimo has opened up the West to white men. Two of the latter, unfortunately, are now desecrating Comanche burial grounds by digging up bones. The bones in question, however, are dinosaur bones, and the diggers are brilliant paleontologists Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh, bitter rivals united only in their mutual loathing. The outraged Comanche medicine men are threatening to reanimate the dinosaurs to get rid of Marsh and Cope, but Geronimo fears that the dinosaurs won’t be satisfied with eating or squashing paleontologists but will imperil Comanches and Apaches, too. So, Geronimo visits Doc Holliday, presently gasping and coughing out his last days in a sanitarium, and offers Doc one year of restored health in exchange for removing the white men. That’s pretty much it as far as plot goes, but Resnick paints in the scenery with extraordinarily vivid brush strokes, adds a palette of bigger-than-life-sized characters—including Roosevelt, Edison, Buntline, Cole Younger and Buffalo Bill Cody—and tops it all off with dazzling conversations, rhetorical flourishes, and Holliday's trademark dry wit, fast reflexes and legendary capacity to drink all day without getting drunk. Oh, and there are no less than nine appendices to explore.

Delightful—a potential blockbuster lacking only a hearty plot to match the highly impressive personalities and setting.