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The Six-Gun Tarot by R. S. Belcher
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The Six-Gun Tarot (edition 2013)

by R. S. Belcher

Series: Golgotha (1)

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2121755,047 (3.84)17
Member:kidstaple2013
Title:The Six-Gun Tarot
Authors:R. S. Belcher
Info:Tor Books (2013), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library, Read in 2013, Top 13 of '13, Debut
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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The Six-Gun Tarot by R. S. Belcher

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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
The story has a few things that I am not really a fan of, such as third person retrospective narrative to tell us what happened to a character. Not all of them tell their story using that device though. The sheriff is still a mystery to me, even if he revealed part of his life to another. Still, as much as I didn't like that particular way of telling a story, it worked well here, but I had to read the whole book to see it. While I was reading, it was occasionally annoying to have the main story interrupted like that.

Jim, a thirteen year old is on the run from the law. He is trying to get as far away from his home as he could. His plan, as we find out, is to get to 'Virginia City and the mythical job with the railroad.' Instead, he ends up in a place a lot weirder than anything he could dream of. Golgotha is a special special place. 'Why is Golgotha the town where the owls speak and the stones moan? Why is this the town that attracts monsters and saints, both mortal and preternatural? Why is our schoolhouse haunted? Why did Old Lady Bellamy wear the skins of corpses on the new moon? How did old Odd Tom's dolls come toe life and kill people? Why do you still pour a ring of salt around that unmarked grave and how did this little ditch of a town become the final resting place of some of Heaven's treasures?' This best depicts how special Golgotha is. In the course of the story you find out what exactly Jim had done back home, you get to see snippets of Golgotha's residents' lives, their loses, their fears and their hopes. There are no boring characters in Golgotha.
The introduction of a small group of major characters is really slow. You don't realize they are the most important people until later. The author took his time to introduce us to Maude, a woman whose life turned out to be something her strong grandmother had never expected. It would take the end of the world as we know it for her to remember herself.
Two of my favourites, the sheriff and his deputy Mutt (a coyote shifter), never disappointed. I wish there were more of them in the story. "This is ridiculous! Is everyone with a badge in this dammed town crazy?" "It helps," Highfather said. There are a lot of Mormons in the town, the Mayor being one of them. At first I was afraid this story would become some kind of Mormon story, but fortunately I was wrong. They and their faith do play a role, but it isn't more important than faith of others in Golgotha. If I had to choose just one character to feel sorry for, it would have to be the mayor.

Considering the place and time it is understandable that faith is one of the most important things in the story. Other, uglier things are part of it too - the blatant racism (Mutt gets a lot of that), homophobia (well incorporated into the story) and misogyny (Maude's part of the story). I spent a lot of time being angry and waiting for some of the characters to die. All this made this story pretty real even with paranormal and horror elements. Even if it was annoying and hard to read parts of it, the story is great. If you don't like weird stories that have a touch of Lovecraft combined with various religious mythos, then you might not like this. ( )
  Aneris | Oct 31, 2016 |
So much happens in this book and it's so different and creative, I couldn't put it down! Well written with fascinating characters like a sheriff that can't seem to be killed, and a deputy that is part human and part coyote, the Six-Gun Tarot is not your average fantasy-western-horror. I love the atmosphere Belcher's writing creates, and the unspoken and mysterious hints of things still to be revealed. Highly recommended! ( )
  LongDogMom | Oct 18, 2016 |
This novel feels like it was distilled from an epic campaign from a role-playing game where the game master let the players come up with the mythological backgrounds for their characters and then had to weave a world around them. It’s clearly stitched together, and the seams show in places, but it’s done with great creativity that makes it well worth the read. Some of the exposition is a little lumpy, and the bang from the various Chekhov guns isn’t always as spectacular as the buildup demands, but I expect Belcher’s craft will improve with more novels.

The only appearance of the tarot is in the chapter headings; if you’re explicitly looking for the tarot as a plot element, try Tim Powers’ Last Call. ( )
  slothman | May 8, 2016 |
Wow. This was a great read. There is so much going on, but somehow the author made it work brilliantly. Can't wait to read the next one! ( )
  GeekGirlM | Dec 8, 2015 |
Probably more a 3.5 rating for me.

This book is quite dense in the sense that it follows a number of characters and smashes a number of genres. There's gritty spirit-touched Western; a dash of Frankenstein; zombie apocalypse; battling angels and some kind of superhero ninja woman. How effective this story is will ultimately come down to how well the genre mash sits with you. ( )
  StaticBlaq | Apr 26, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765329328, Hardcover)

Nevada, 1869: Beyond the pitiless 40-Mile Desert lies Golgotha, a cattle town that hides more than its share of unnatural secrets. The sheriff bears the mark of the noose around his neck; some say he is a dead man whose time has not yet come. His half-human deputy is kin to coyotes. The mayor guards a hoard of mythical treasures. A banker’s wife belongs to a secret order of assassins. And a shady saloon owner, whose fingers are in everyone’s business, may know more about the town’s true origins than he’s letting on.

A haven for the blessed and the damned, Golgotha has known many strange events, but nothing like the primordial darkness stirring in the abandoned silver mine overlooking the town. Bleeding midnight, an ancient evil is spilling into the world, and unless the sheriff and his posse can saddle up in time, Golgotha will have seen its last dawn…and so will all of Creation.

R.S. Belcher’s The Six-Gun Tarot is “an astonishing blend of first-rate steampunk fantasy and Western adventure.” (Library Journal, Starred Review)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:27 -0400)

"Nevada, 1869: Beyond the pitiless 40-Mile Desert lies Golgotha, a cattle town that hides more than its share of unnatural secrets. The sheriff bears the mark of the noose around his neck; some say he is a dead man whose time has not yet come. His half-human deputy is kin to coyotes. The mayor guards a hoard of mythical treasures. A banker's wife belongs to a secret order of assassins. And a shady saloon owner, whose fingers are in everyone's business, may know more about the town's true origins than he's letting on. A haven for the blessed and the damned, Golgotha has known many strange events, but nothing like the primordial darkness stirring in the abandoned silver mine overlooking the town. Bleeding midnight, an ancient evil is spilling into the world, and unless the sheriff and his posse can saddle up in time, Golgotha will have seen its last dawn . . . and so will all of Creation. "--… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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