A Novel

Audiobook CD - 2011
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The year is 1878, peak of the Texas cattle trade. The place is Dodge City, Kansas, a saloon-filled cow town jammed with liquored-up adolescent cowboys and young Irish hookers. Violence is random and routine, but when the burned body of a mixed-blood boy named Johnnie Sanders is discovered, his death shocks a part-time policeman named Wyatt Earp. And it is a matter of strangely personal importance to Doc Holliday, the frail twenty-six-year-old dentist who has just opened an office at No. 24, Dodge House.

Beautifully educated, born to the life of a Southern gentleman, Dr. John Henry Holliday is given an awful choice at the age of twenty-two: die within months in Atlanta or leave everyone and everything he loves in the hope that the dry air and sunshine of the West will restore him to health. Young, scared, lonely, and sick, he arrives on the rawest edge of the Texas frontier just as an economic crash wrecks the dreams of a nation. Soon, with few alternatives open to him, Doc Holliday is gambling professionally; he is also living with M ria Katarina Harony, a high-strung Hungarian whore with dazzling turquoise eyes, who can quote Latin classics right back at him. Kate makes it her business to find Doc the high-stakes poker games that will support them both in high style. It is Kate who insists that the couple travel to Dodge City, because "that's where the money is."

And that is where the unlikely friendship of Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp really begins--before Wyatt Earp is the prototype of the square-jawed, fearless lawman; before Doc Holliday is the quintessential frontier gambler; before the gunfight at the O.K. Corral links their names forever in American frontier mythology--when neither man wanted fame or deserved notoriety.

Authentic, moving, and witty, Mary Doria Russell's fifth novel redefines these two towering figures of the American West and brings to life an extraordinary cast of historical characters, including Holliday's unforgettable companion, Kate. First and last, however, Doc is John Henry Holliday's story, written with compassion, humor, and respect by one of our greatest contemporary storytellers.

From the Hardcover edition.

Publisher: New York : Books on Tape, p2011
ISBN: 9780307877888
Branch Call Number: RUS
Characteristics: 14 compact discs (16.75 hrs.) : digital ; 12 cm
Additional Contributors: Bramhall, Mark


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Apr 03, 2018

I really enjoyed this book. The reader is fantastic. I’m sure I enjoyed it more listening than I would have if I had read it. But I had a kindle copy as well. It’s great that the author listed the entire cast of characters at the front of the book, indicating which ones were fiction. The authors comments at the end, attempt to clarify which portions of the book were true & which were fiction.

Oct 11, 2016

Do you know the story of Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp and the O.K. Corral? I knew of it, sort of, but none of the details. I certainly didn't know anything about the Earp Bros. and Holliday when they lived in Dodge City, Kansas years before the shootout in Tombstone. This book, Doc, is a half fiction, half non-fiction retelling of how their lives became entwined trying to eke out a living on the dusty Kansas frontier.

For the first third of the story I had difficulty connecting with the characters—everyone's motivations seemed so disparate, which I suppose makes sense given the story's historical basis—but by the end I was in love with all of them. Mary Doria Russell has a blessed gift for dialect. The banter from late 19th century pioneer days is spot on, at least as far as I can tell.

And while the story's epilogue was one of the most satisfying I've read in a long while, the part that sealed the deal for me, strangely enough, was the Author's Note at the end. Mrs. Russell relates how she came by telling the story of John Henry "Doc" Holliday, intrigued to explore the man apart from the myth, and if, like me, you find yourself wondering just how much of this story is true, her answer is curiously illuminating, "More than you think."

Apr 02, 2016

I loved this book on several levels:
1) Russell's writing is delicious. She can do it all - make you feel the grit of a dusty, southwest Kansas cowtown, get at your heart, make you laugh. Oh, to write like that!
2) By the time you're a little way into the book, the main characters feel like people you know in your everyday life. Some of them you'd want to spend time and have deep conversations with; some you'd gossip with your friends about; some you'd dislike but observe closely because of the power they wield in your community; some you wouldn't understand but would admire. In short, Russell gives flesh and bone and breath to her characters.
3) I spent a few years in Dodge City myself, and "getting to know" historical figures that are still a point of pride there was a treat.
4) Listening to the audiobook only enhanced this story. Mark Bramhall could read the phone book and make it riveting.

Outstanding! I hated for this book to end.

Nov 27, 2012

One of the best listening experiences!

Apr 02, 2012

A very enjoyable book although not what you might expect. This is a great story about Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp. It reads more like historical fiction than a western. I found the audio production to be so entertaining. It really pulls you into the time and setting. The dialogue among the characters was excellent and it was narrated perfectly. There are moments of tenderness and moments of humour. My only complaint was that I thought it dragged just a bit in a few places but it wasn't a major issue. Overall, a good book.

Dec 06, 2011

I really, really, really enjoyed this book! I have always loved Doc Holiday and it's always helpful when the voice actor has the gift of story telling.

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