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Publisher's Summary

Marshal Apostle Richardson faces off against bloodthirsty outlaws, flesh witches, ruthless vigilantes, and more in this gritty, magical re-imagining of the Old West.

Almena Guillory, better known as the Grizzly Queen of the West, has done plenty to warrant the noose, but US Marshal Apostle Richardson enforces the law, he doesn't decide it. When a posse tries to lynch Almena ahead of her trial, Apostle refuses their form of expedited justice - and receives a bullet for his trouble. Almena spares him through the use of dangerous flesh magic but escapes soon after saving him.   

Weeks later, Apostle fears the outlaw queen has returned to her old ways when she's spotted terrorizing Kansas with a new gang in tow. When cornered, however, Almena makes a convincing case for her innocence and proposes a plan to take the real bandits down. Working with a known killer opens Apostle up to all sorts of trouble, not the least being his own growing attraction toward the roguish woman. Turning Almena away from vengeance may be out of the question, but if he doesn't try, she'll wind up right where the law wants her: at the end of a rope.

And if Apostle isn't careful, he'll end up joining her.   

If you like Red Dead Redemption and Lila Bowen's Wake of Vultures, you'll love this gun-blazing weird Western.

"A marvelously written tale, with a unique voice, strong characters, and a well-structured plot that paid off in spades in the end." (Joe Nassise, New York Times best-selling author of the Templar Chronicles

©2018 Aethon Books (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"With relatable characters and delightful prose, this magic-laced gunslinger tale will transport you instantly into the Old West." (Charlie Holmberg, Wall Street Journal best-selling author of The Paper Magician)

"Hayley writes with grit, passion, and indomitable energy. A helluva ride." (Joseph Brassey, author of The Mongoliad and Skyfarer)

"A marvelously written tale, with a unique voice, strong characters, and a well-structured plot that paid off in spades in the end." (Joe Nassise, New York Times best-selling author of the Templar Chronicles

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Book of the year... Easy.

I listened to this book in one sitting. It is brilliant. Oliver made this feel like a movie come to life in my brain. Stone paints a bleak picture of the west while creating a believable world despite the magical elements. It reads as a stand alone novel, but looks like it has the potential for more books following Marshal Apostle Richardson. I hope!

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Strong characters hold together a weird west world

If there's anything that needs to be said about this book, it's that the narration is amazingly well done. Oliver Wyman is Apostle Richardson. His voice is gravelly and rough and sounds very much like I'm listening to an old cowboy who's seen just enough of the world to be disillusioned by it. Those of you who are from the south will recognize that sort of home grown decency that's just exuded from the cheracter - and Oliver Wyman's voice. The story is short and a little slow in the telling, but I certainly can't say I minded being able to listen to Wyman - even during the slow bits.

Like I said, the story is a little slow, but that's not to say it's at all bad. My main problem is that throughout the book and until the last sections there wasn't anything driving the plot other than seeing the main characters interact, which they do beautifully, but it definitely took a few parts (the book is broken up by parts and chapters) to transform into something larger!

A lot of the story begins with establishing our characters. Apostle is what we would call in the fantasy world 'Lawful stupid.' He has a set of morals and values that would be considered just and he follows them to a 'T', refusing to besmirch the law for quick justice. Guillory, on the other hand, is a more flawed character. She has a checkered past revealed throughout the story that in a lot of ways has lead her to where she is. She's not a bad person and has her own sense of honor, often risking herself for the lawman who's goal seems to be to put a noose around her neck.

There's an interesting dynamic here and neither party can come out of it the same as they went in. And while I would have enjoyed a bit more urgency to action, the characters are strong enough to hold the overall narrative together all on their own.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Very Good Western from a Sci-Fi Lover

So - I was a little worried when I started this that ‘weird western’ would mean more magic than western and I was dead wrong.

This story is more about a Marshall and how he views the world and his ‘struggle’ to do right by his morals. There’s a good amount of action and suspense in the story and the protagonist does some soul searching throughout the book.

I’d recommend to anyone who like suspense with a little bit of action and is looking for a bit of a western theme. There’s some soul searching too.

I’m not the best at giving reviews but I downloaded this book day one and felt obligated to do so. I mainly just wanted to say for anyone else skeptical of the ‘weird’ part that they need not fret. It is a very tiny part.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Delightful!

I'd never heard of this genre, but on the recommendation of another author that I especially like, I gave this a try - and got rewarded with a delightful story set in the old West and shortly after the Civil War. The narration felt just a tiny bit slow so I set the speed at 1.05 and greatly enjoyed the whole thing. Give the classic Western song by the same name a listen to set the mood and enjoy a well told story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent Western Adventure!

I really enjoyed this book! It was a great mix of western with fantasy. It reminded me of The Gunslinger, where there is magic but the setting is still believable. I enjoyed the main characters, the action and the pace of the story! It had a satisfying ending and I hope the adventure continues!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The Weird West

This book is a great mix of your typical Western with a touch of magic. As I was listening to the book, the author did a great job in the descriptions and I could definitely see the whole story in my mind as a Western movie or TV show.

Marshall Apostle Richardson has captured the notorious outlaw Allmena Guillory, also know as the Grizzly Queen. However, this time the Marshall may have taken on more than he can handle without having his life changed forever. When a vigilante group grabs Allmena and tries to hang her, the Marshall has to decide whether to uphold the law or go along with the lynching.

The characters are well-developed and their histories are revealed as the story unfolds. Even though Allmena is a criminal, she is a very sympathetic character. Apostle is also a very deep character and deals with his fate as well as the demons from his past.

The addition of the magical elements to this story make it very unique and add a lot to the story. But, this magic does nothing to detract from the Old West feeling of the book.

The narrator does a great job and added a lot to my enjoyment of this book. I hope that the author chooses to continue this series because there is so much more that I want to know about Allmena and Apostle's histories. And, the potential romance that is only hinted at in this book has me intrigued as well.

I was given the chance to listen to this book by the author/narrator/publisher and chose to review it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Weird Western Goodness

A troubled lawman, a mysterious woman, a bit of magic and you have the recipe for something really great here. This book has the perfect combination of western action, drama, a bit of sexual tension, and bleak hopefulness that will keep you on the edge of your earbuds for 10.5 hours. There are no slow, boring parts. Highly recommended.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun Western

I’ll preface this as a few other have by stating I received a free credit to review this story. Nonetheless, I found the story to be a very entertaining listen.

The story is a little slow to get started, but picks up right around the midway point. The story’s surprise/twist was unexpected and leaves open the opportunity to expand in future books, which I wouldn’t be opposed to.

Wyman’s narration was entertaining and did an excellent job of holding the story’s mood.

A fun listen for those who are looking for a western story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Karen
  • Connecticut, U.S.
  • 11-26-18

Enveloping

Disclosure: I received this book as part of a promotion.

I'm not generally a fan of the Western genre but thought this might be a good listen, and it was! It's a suspenseful Western, although not as dark as a Cormac McCarthy story. Oliver Wyman's narration is spot on and makes this audiobook even more enveloping. I'd listen again, it was that entertaining. Recommended.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Well written western

Well written with a nice flow. The dialogue and setting were great. The story was good with enough twists to hold interest without being convoluted. The marshal was a bit cliche, but not terribly so. Everything came together well.

Oliver Wyman knocked it out of the park with is reading. Fellow might have been made to read western books out loud.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jake
  • 12-05-18

A wonderful book brilliantly performed

From the opening lines I was transported away from a rainy British winter to the blistering Kansas heat
Wonderfully performed and written
A Marshall on the wrong side of heaven must learn about the rightious side of hell

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  • Norma Miles
  • 11-30-18

All my ghosts travel with me.

Marshal Apostle Richardson's reputation precedes him: he is a man with his own clear moral code. Yes, he's killed and will kill again, but only if there is no alternative. His is not the right to say who should live and who should die. So when a lynch posse tries to take away his prisoner, he will not give her up despite her being a notorious murderous gang leader who claims she can't be killed and is looking for a dead man. She was Almena Guillery, better known as the Grisly Queen of the West, and they save each other's lives. Travelling together later, they grow to know each other's backgrounds and begin to grow closer.

This atmospheric Western is beautifully written and has a charm which belies the shootings, blood and general murderous mayhem, though it's all there and plenty of it. The characterisation is excellent, their backgrounds slowly emerging, the reader growing to know the two main protagonists as they get to know each other. On different sides of the law, both carry touch of mystery which compels a need to find out more. A romance of a gentle and unusual kind, and written from the point of view of Apostle, this is as much an introspective journey as it is an outward search for revenge and justice. And there is humour, too, amidst the gun fire.

As narrator, Oliver Wyman fully fills the persona of Apostle, his slightly gravelly western accent perfectly fitting his subject, the reading well intoned and pace perfect. He also gives excellent individual voicing to all of the other protagonists, especially that of Almena. A fine performance which further brings everything to life.

I am not usually a fan of Westerns, nor of fantasy, if it comes to it, but this book is far more than either: it is a peek into souls and choices to be made. So even if most Westerns do not appeal, give it a try. It will surprise and delight you. I do hope that there will be a sequel: it was hard to say goodbye.
Highly recommended.

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  • Jon Lymposs
  • 11-26-18

Pleasingly unusual

I throughly enjoyed this audiobook.Hayley Stone has a weird But refreshing way of story telling..Felt like the old west with great narration. For me it could have gone in to some parts of the story
In the third person for grater depth .. I hope there is a follow up
. Great Start.