It;s 1884 and Doc Holliday expects to die of consumption any day. All he wants is to die in a sanitarium in peace. But then Geronimo, the greatest medicine man of the Apache tribe, arrives with an offer he can’t refuse. Geronimo is willing to break the spell that has kept the United States from crossing the Mississippi River.
He is willing to do this, however, only if he can meet with Theodore Roosevelt, who he considers an honorable man. But four other medicine men from other tribes do not want this to happen, and they have created a monster especially designed to kill Geronimo and Roosevelt.
It is up to Doc to protect Roosevelt, and, with the help of Thomas Edison, Net Buntline and a bunch of ragtag “shootists” who become “Rough Riders,” to help find a way to defeat the monster.
No one does this sort of twisted alternate history better than Mike Resnick. He mixes fantasy and fact, adds a dash of humor, and creates thoroughly enjoyable fiction. The stories are far-fetched, but the personalities and much of the history is absolutely accurate. Roosevelt is true to life, and so is Doc Holliday.
Resnick even provides appendices full of factual information about the historical characters in the back of the book.
The result is that not only is the story entertaining, but you will feel as though you know Doc Holliday and Theodore Roosevelt and the Wild West in general when you finish the book.
The Doctor and The Rough Rider is the third in the series of Weird West Tales featuring Doc Holliday and other historic characters, which can all be read independently. Hopefully, Resnick will continue to write the series for a long time to come. They are a fascinating combination of steampunk and history featuring some of the West’s most colorful characters.