Doc by Mary Doria Russell

I have enjoyed several books by this author. She is impressive not only in her stories and writing, but also in the variety of topics she writes about, from science fiction to historic fiction and now to stories about “the old west”. But the Doc Holliday that Russell portrays is not the typical gunslinger, rather, a southern gentleman forced to move west due to poor health. Having inherited bad lungs from his mother, Holliday heads for the Texas frontier. Accompanied by his high-strung, classically educated Hungarian gambling partner Kate, Doc settles in Dodge City and tries to make a living with his skills both as a dentist and more lucratively, at the poker tables in the saloons around town. Constantly struggling with his illness, his inflammable partner and his financial difficulties, Doc nonetheless manages to present a flamboyant appearance.  Russell shows Doc’s friendship with the Earp brothers in a different light as well, through the everyday aspects of their lives. Her description of Wyatt Earp quailing in fear in the dentist’s chair, show a different side to these tough guys, more normal and human than as they are normally portrayed as glamorous, overblown characters. This is an epic tale of the west and a good one. I look forward to the rest of the story. 15.00