30 Seconds to Immortality

30corral

Just when you think you have heard or seen enough about the gunfight at the O. K. Corral, along comes a writer who takes the overworked story and makes it seem fresh and vital.
Mary Doria Russell
is no amateur when it comes to writing about the Wild West. Her 2011 novel, Doc was a New York Times Bestseller and garnered praise from reviewers at the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, the Seattle Times, and others. Delving deeply into the character of the enigmatic Doc Holiday, friend of the Earp brothers and companion at the infamous gunfight at the O.k. Corral, the novel was described as “deeply sympathetic”, “intoxicating” and “fascinating.”
Now, in her new book, Epitaph; a novel of the O. K. Corral, Ms. Russell takes a step back to survey the larger picture of that event. We see all the circumstances that led up to it, the people involved and the aftermath - which is still being discussed 134 year later.  In particular, we get an inside look at how and why this thirty-second gunfight has become part of our American consciousness in books, movies, television, re-enactments and folklore.
But this is first, and foremost a novel, full of unforgettable characters and events. Ms. Russell hooks us from the first sentence and never lets us go until the end. The novel is presented as an American Illiad, and as strange as that may seem, it works.
This is a story that has been told and retold in many ways, some good, some great and some bad. But it is the skill of Maria Doria Russell as a narrative writer that makes her story so compelling. Even though you already know the end of the story, you care about the people and you want to see it through to the end, and isn’t that after all what makes a book great?
But you can check it out for yourself at your nearby Harris County Public Library branch!