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Reviewed by Steve Leshin for Readers' Favorite
Promised Land by Mark Warren concludes the well-researched and satisfying trilogy on the life of Wyatt Earp. Promised Land refers to Tombstone, Arizona in the early 1880s, "the town too tough to die", where Wyatt and his brothers hoped to make their fortunes. While Promised Land is a novel, anyone who knows the history of Wyatt Earp will appreciate the detail Warren incorporates in the telling of the story, with an authentic western cadence through the dialogue of the characters. It presents the reader with a wiser, more mature Wyatt Earp who must deal with Tombstone politics, a deteriorating relationship with his common-law wife, Mattie Blaylock, and the criminal activities of the Cow-boys. Juggling his work for Wells Fargo, his job as a faro dealer, as well as a deputy Marshall for his brother Virgil, and as a hopeful candidate for town sheriff, Wyatt had a lot to contend with in the booming mining town.
With a flair for storytelling, Mark Warren sets the tone in such a way that you feel right there with Wyatt in the saloons, the campfires, the desert locales, but especially in the town of Tombstone. Reading Promised Land, we are witnesses to events leading to the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, which the author describes in intimate detail. I am still in awe at the cool, calculated way Wyatt knows who he must shoot first when the gunfight begins. Next, we witness the aftermath. We learn how this incident bodes ill for the Earps and their wives. The shooting of Virgil Earp and the murder of Morgan Earp, leading to the Vendetta Ride, are artfully told. The author also introduces us to a young Sadie Marcus and how she might have met Wyatt in Tombstone, eventually leading to a future romance for them. Along with the first two books in the series, Adobe Moon and Born to the Badge, Warren gives a dramatic as well as historical study of Wyatt Earp, who could earn the loyalty of a diverse set of men like Doc Holliday, John Clum, and rancher Henry Hooker, and how he could make enemies of Ike Clanton, Curly Bill Brocius and a corrupt sheriff of Tombstone named Johnny Behan. I recommend Promised Land for any fan of Wyatt Earp and his times. It is an entertaining and thorough study of an extraordinary man.