Adobe Moon: Wyatt Earp, An American Odyssey

Written by Mark Warren
Review by Tom Vallar

A boy becomes a man when he faces down a crisis and resolves to stand for a cause. This biographical novel of Wyatt Earp follows him from age 14 in Iowa until he is 25 in Kansas. The “odyssey” of the subtitle refers to the nearly 5000 miles he covers, primarily on horseback, during that decade.

In 1862 Wyatt is put in charge of his family’s farm while his older brothers fight in the Civil War. Leaving home to forge his own future, he endures brawls in railroad camps, the loss of a wife in childbirth, ten days in jail for a wrongful arrest, and the dubious distinction of being the best bouncer in any brothel. His stand for right over wrong in a frontier town presages his fame as a lawman.

This is unlike any Western you’ve ever read. It’s lyrical and philosophical, yet the action scenes are fulfilling and you gain insights into this American legend. The rich detail speaks to the depth of Warren’s research, and the planned trilogy of Earp’s life could not have had a better beginning than Adobe Moon.