The Doctor and the Roughrider by Mike Resnick
It’s August 19, 1884. The consumptive Doc Holliday is preparing to await his end in a sanatorium in Leadville, Colorado, when the medicine man Geronimo enlists him on a mission. The time the great chief has predicted has come, the one white man he’s willing to treat with has crossed the Mississippi and is heading to Tombstone - a young man named Theodore Roosevelt. The various tribes know that Geronimo is willing to end the spell that has kept the United States from expanding west of the Mississippi. In response, they have created a huge, monstrous, medicine man named War Bonnet, whose function is to kill Roosevelt and Geronimo and keep the United States east of the river forever. And War Bonnet has enlisted the master shootist John Wesley Hardin. So the battle lines are drawn: Roosevelt and Geronimo against the most powerful of the medicine men, a supernatural creature that seemingly nothing can harm; and Holliday against the man with more credited kills than any gunfighter in history. It does not promise to be a tranquil summer.
The Doctor and the Roughrider is the third installment in the “Weird West” tales, the first books being The Buntline Special and The Doctor and the Kid. My first encounter with this series was very much out of curiosity and looking back to the first book of the series I must say that the second and third books are moving towards a different approach and trend.
The Weird West tales are about an alternate early 1900’s where the U.S. border stops at the Mississippi line and several Indian medicine men are putting a stop to it, and it is up to Edison to find a solution to break through the magics of the medicine men. The main protagonist of the story is not Thomas Edison, but another famous character Doc Holliday and as in the first two books he again plays an important role.
As already mentioned, the story has progressed quite a time, it started in 1881 and now in the last book it's 1884. Some of the big historical events that have been retold are the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral in The Buntline Special featuring a zombified Johnny Ringo that is send out to kill Doc Holliday but is protected by magical power of one of the medicine men. In the second book we saw the appearance of the famous Billy the Kid who Doc Holliday has to kill in order to pay for his last days in the sanatorium where he wants to get some rest in his final days. But in these two books there is also another aspect and that is the threat of the Indians. Firstly there was Geronimo, who wants hinder and get rid of Edison and the rest. Soon however, things changed: Geronimo is now on the side of Holliday and they team up against the other Indian tribes. Now, in book three, everything that has been built-up comes to a final clash!
The Doctor and the Kid sees the introduction of one of the famous icons of U.S. history: Theodore Roosevelt. And like what Mike Resnick does with every character that you read about in his series is that he portrays them with a certain unique flair with humour and seriousness combined. This unique characterization makes them all very enjoyable. Roosevelt’s role in The Doctor and the Kid is to defeat - in co-operation with Geronimo - the last of the other medicine men in order to allow passage across the Mississippi. But this of course does not go without hassle for both them and Doc Holliday.
The opposing force does have a trump card that they are playing against Roosevelt and Geronimo. With Hook Nose gone, Geronimo is the most powerful individual medicine men around, so the opposing ones bundle their powers to create the War Bonnet, a strange and magical apparition with the singular purpose, which is to kill Roosevelt and Geronimo. War Bonnet is not affected by mundane firearms (Holliday tested this and failed) but not without its own flaws… But in order to defeat War Bonnet Roosevelt has to enlist the help of the famous inventors Edison and Buntline, and like in the first and second books leaves it up to them to find out a clever, creative and ingenious way to combat this problem!
I must mention that The Doctor and the Roughrider was just too short for me. With only 262 pages it felt that I was just into the story when it came to an ending. It is a great universe that I had hoped to explore a bit more in this book, especially with the building up of the story-line. Looking a bit at the lay-out I do think that the intention of the stories of Mike Resnick are more about providing an easy and entertaining read, and hereby especially focusing on the characters and how they interact with the world and each other instead of showing a flashy display of other events. This was shown in the ending, which was only one and a half pages in length. I was a bit disappointed in the end but overall I do still think that The Doctor and the Roughrider is a funny, witty and clever story. I also do not think that this will be the last tale, some problems were resolved along the way but one huge new one was introduced and I am eagerly waiting to see if Mike Resnick will pick up on this, I do hope he does. I for one cannot get enough of this series.
This The Doctor and the Roughrider book review was written by Jasper de Joode
All reviews for: A Weird West Tale
The Buntline Special
A Weird West Tale #1
The year is 1881. The United States of America ends at the Mississippi River. Beyond lies the Indian nations, where the magic of powerful Medicine Men has halted the advanc...
The Doctor and the Kid
A Weird West Tale #2
The time is 1882. With the Gunfight at the O. K. Corral and the battle with the thing that used to be Johnny Ringo behind him (see The Buntline Special), the consumptive Do...
The Doctor and the Roughrider
A Weird West Tale #3
It’s August 19, 1884. The consumptive Doc Holliday is preparing to await his end in a sanatorium in Leadville, Colorado, when the medicine man Geronimo enlists him on...
Have you read The Doctor and the Roughrider?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Doctor and the Roughrider reader reviews
8.8/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Mortal Engines Quartet
Long before the days of Mortal Engines, London is poised on the brink of apocalypse. Huge armoured fortresses are advancing across the wastelands - a new and terrifying kin...
Gareth L Powell
In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain’s best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed ‘Ack-Ack Macaque’. The troubl...
Captain Nemo: The Fantastic Adventures of a Dark Genius
Kevin J Anderson
The young Verne and his best friend Andre Nemo stow away on a ship bound for the high seas, but Jules' father catches Jules and forces him to come home in total disgrac...
In Dark Service
Jacob Carnehan has settled down. He's living a comfortable, quiet life, obeying the law and minding his own business while raising his son Carter ... on those occasions...
Art and his family are invited on a fantastic free holiday to the exotic Asteroid Belt, in a remote part of space near Mars. Taking the train, they arrive to discover that ...
A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences
Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
Evil is most assuredly afoot - and Britain’s fate rests in the hands of an alluring renegade... and a librarian. These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s Englan...
Grandville Mon Amour
The beefy badger DI Archie LeBrock is languishing in self-pity, driven to drink (as every good copper should be) by the guilt of Sarah’s murder. When his partner, Rod...
The Steampunk Adventurer's Guide
Bringing together an action-filled story full of automatons, airships and a dastardly plot to take over the world and instructions on how to make your own gadgets, The Stea...
A Tale of Langdon St. Ives
James P Blaylock
It is the summer of 1883 and Professor Langdon St. Ives – brilliant but eccentric scientist and explorer – is at home in Aylesford with his family. However, a f...
The year is 1914 and Europe, armed with futuristic machines and biotechnology, is on the precipice of war. Prince Aleksandar is fleeing for his life, having discovered that...
The Falling Machine
Andrew P Mayer
In 1880 women aren’t allowed to vote, much less dress up in a costume and fight crime… But twenty-year-old socialite Sarah Stanton still dreams of becoming a h...
Tales of the Ketty Jay
Frey is the captain of the Ketty Jay, leader of a small and highly dysfunctional band of layabouts. An inveterate womaniser and rogue, he and his gang make a living on the ...
As the serialisation beings we meet 12-year-old schoolboy Alex who, just before Christmas, receives an old toy robot from his globe-trotting grandfather. It doesn't see...
Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
With Phoenix Rising, Phillipa Ballantine and Tee Morris have created a great addition to the growing steampunk genre and have given a new take on fighting crime. For me, th...
It was the last great science hero fight, but the energy blast ripped a hole in reality, and birthed the Empire State – a young, twisted parallel prohibition-era New ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Best of 2016
Journey to the Black City
On an Earth that is very much like our own, the civilizations of ancient man have been crushed; the giant glaciers that cover the northern part of the globe continue, even now...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the common foe. And even if the clans can join forces, how will they defeat an enemy whose magical prowess renders them indistinguishable from gods?The answer lies across the...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...
The Shadow Crucible
Taking humanity back to their primordial beliefs and fears, Estella confronts Mikhail’s faith by revealing the true horror of the lucrative trade in human souls. All ...
The Dog Stars
Hig, bereaved and traumatised after global disaster, has three things to live for - his dog Jasper, his aggressive but helpful neighbour, and his Cessna aeroplane. He's...
Beren and Luthien
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien wil...
Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall - named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn h...