Bestselling author Mary Doria Russell (The Sparrow, A Thread of Grace) has written a follow-up to 2011’s award-winning Doc, originally designed as a stand-alone historical novel about the life and times of Doc Holliday.
In Epitaph, Russell returns to Tombstone, Ariz., for a fresh take on the often-retold Wild West tale of the O.K. Corral, which she calls “classic revenge drama.”
“For 133 years, the gunfight at the O.K. Corral has been a story about men, written by men, told to men...” Russell said in press materials in an interview with Shelf-Awareness.com, the book-themed website. “I bring a whole different perspective to the subject, and not just because I have two X chromosomes....I wasn’t willing to accept cliches about good guys and bad guys.”
Her extensive research was driven by finding out why, after “a century of mythologizing,” Tom McLaury became the bad guy and Wyatt Earp became the hero. She discovered that Josie Marcus Earp, the woman behind Wyatt Earp, was largely responsible for cleaning up her husband’s image and, in turn, raising him to mythical proportions befitting the last man standing after the gunfight.
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“I wanted to tell both sides of the story, with all its ambition and stupidity, all its bravery and honor, all its love and grief,” Russell said. “If you read Epitaph and mourn Tom McLaury as much as Morgan Earp, then I’ve done my job. I’ve laid the ghosts to rest.”
— Celeste Williams
Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral
by Mary Doria Russell