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One Night in Sixes

(Children of the Drought #1)

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  162 ratings  ·  56 reviews
The border town called Sixes is quiet in the heat of the day. Still, Appaloosa Elim has heard the stories about what wakes at sunset: gunslingers and shapeshifters and ancient earthly gods whose human faces never outlast the daylight.

If he ever wants to go home again, he’d better find his missing partner before they do. But if he’s caught out after dark, Elim risks succumb
Paperback, 464 pages
Published July 29th 2014 by Solaris (first published July 20th 2014)
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Average rating 3.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  162 ratings  ·  56 reviews

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Dan Schwent
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016, 2016-books
In order to sell some horses, Elim and Sil cross the border to Sixes to try to sell the herd. However, things are never so easy in border towns...

I've been interested in this book for a while and was pretty stoked when it came up on Netgalley.

Weird Westerns are an easy sell for me and the world of One Night in Sixes was a very interesting one, one where some folk have magical talents. Elim is a mule, a halfbreed brave with mottled skin. Sil is a northman with cold-related powers.

While the world
Judy Lesley
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, western
My reaction to this novel is that it was unnecessarily complicated. First, the cover art immediately made me notice it because I was reminded of those wonderful western novels by Max Brand and Louis L’Amour which I absolutely devoured and still have stacked on bookshelves. I was also intrigued by knowing this was a fantasy and I love to read fantasy. So how would that combination work? I was totally receptive to being entertained. The basic plot of this novel is that Appaloosa Elim and Sil Halfw ...more
Beth Cato
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, fantasy, western
This dark and intense fantasy western follows two men across a border and into a heap of trouble. The most sympathetic of the men is Elim Appaloosa, a thoughtful man with the mottled markings of a "half." As such, he's a lesser man in society, regarded as a source of disease and disgust and likely a slave as well. His partner is Sil Halfwick, a young overly-white northman who's on his first journey to sell horses and wants to prove himself—and damn Elim and anyone else who stands in his way.

Russ Linton
Aug 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Genre mash-ups and twists are a favorite of mine. One Night in Sixes, as a Weird Western, fits that requirement perfectly. Overall it was an enjoyable read with one minor hitch which I want to get out of the way up front.

Arianne "Tex" Thompson writes in a porch-rocker conversational style that is as deceptively dense as the setting of her novel. It's another bit of prairie magic how well this style gives a voice to her fictional universe. That, and as a brand new author, her own "Tex" style is a
Apr 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
I can’t remember who picked this for the SF/F bookclub, but I’m definitely going to be interested to chat about this one and find out whether they’d read it first, or whether they recommended it because they wanted to read it and it sounded interesting. Because it’s not badly written as such, and the world is pretty interesting, but nonetheless I had problems.

For example, I don’t know what’s gotten into publishers putting glossaries and dramatis personae at the back of books — Tor did it with Th
Gavin Gates
May 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Post apocalyptic fantasy western. There could well be a trend of this setting being used as a backdrop gathering a lot of steam at the moment and Solaris are right at the forefront of the movement.
‘One night in sixes’ is a top class example of this, mixing a very sharp take on racism, slavery, justice, love and loyalty, making a very deep and involved start to a trilogy. Arianne ‘Tex’ Thomas has brought to life a very broad cast of characters together, all with very significant roles to play in
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Received through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

One Night in Sixes is an interesting but very difficult read. Ultimately unfulfilling.

The Good: Thompson can write. In Sixes she creates a fully realized weird wild west with impressive depth and color. Characters are well developed with good variety. Dialogue reads true. Reminiscent of China Meiville’s Bas Lag novels, particularly The Scar, which is high praise.

The Problematic: It’s damn hard to figure out what’s going on. Sixes featu
Eric Mesa
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I added this book to my To Read list back in 2014 after hearing Ms. Thompson interviewed on Sword and Laser. I had a slightly different impression of what the plot would be - I think the interview focused on the character of TwoBlood - but the story I got was still great. Since I really liked the world Ms. Thompson creates here so much, I want to start with what I didn't like about the book rather than ending with what I didn't like. In list notation:

-Although it's a neat bit of world-building t
Sydney Young
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Move over Lord of the Rings, Texas has our own cult classic. True to form, ours is bigger and better.

One Night in Sixes may already in fact be a cult classic, and if it isn't it deserves to be. This book takes two seemingly ordinary cowpokes, Sil and Elim, and sends them into the heart of Sixes, with all its apparitions and strangeness. Things are not as they seem to be, other than we have a world all its own and Elim is smart to be afraid to be there. As you traverse the territory of the strang
William Humble
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most intricately done exercises in world building I've ever seen. The author carefully works in diverse magic and cultures from all across a fantasy version of the American old west. It's an immersive experience like no other.

Check it out!
The Author Visits
Note - I received a copy of this book from Netgalley as I still wait for my pre-ordered copy to arrive from Amazon. The opinions stated in this review of One Night in Sixes are solely my own.

A fantasy western, the debut novel, One Night in Sixes is the first in the Children of the Drought series by author Arianne “Tex” Thompson.

I’ve never come across a book quite as unique as this. The premise isn’t complicated; two ranch workers, Sil Halfwick, a white man from up north and a very determined hor
Thomas Tyrrell
Jun 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
There is such a thing as too much world building, and this book worked best outside of the eponymous town of Sixes, when the narration is divided between Elim Appaloosa and his high-handed but inexperienced boss Sil. The conflict between them zings and the narration has a very Texan wit, while even the horses they're riding are well characterised and interesting.
Once we're in Sixes, the book is thrown open to a whole series of other narrators, each belonging to separate sets of tribes and allegi
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'm not normally a fan of westerns or fantasy novels, but this one might convert me to both. A tapestry of characters well-woven together with relatively normal conflicts in an extraordinary world. Unexpected twists and turns, and the true signal of a good story - when it was over I couldn't stop cooking-up story ideas with these characters and this world! ...more
Nov 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Liked this one, a most unusual weird western. It's not an easy read by any means but it is wonderfully written and the author has a true flair not just for great prose but for dialogue that crackles with realism. It's a very multi-layered world in Sixes and not everything is as it seems! 3.5 stars ...more
Ruthie Jones
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
The overall plot in One Night in Sixes is often cloaked in the mistaken identity of a slow and meandering story. Don’t be fooled. The reader is accorded no restful moments as the story shifts and undulates without apology. Startling events methodically unfold and reveal the fleshy underbelly of racism, hatred, greed, prejudices, and multi-faced liars. Amidst this muck and mire lies beauty in unassuming characters and bold heroes alike.

Is the story complex? Yes. Is the story confusing? At times.
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I frequently was tempted to create a scorecard to keep everyone straight, and in retrospect I probably should have. This is a big book, an ambitious book, a fascinating book. I found it maddening, often confusing, but also compelling. I'd put it down, walk away, then I had to come back and see what happens next.

And I was really glad I'd bought the whole trilogy at once, because the moment I finished "One Night in Sixes," I turned right around and started "Medicine for the Dead."

Once you figure
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
As stated elsewhere, the glossary is in the back. I went hunting for it about a third of the way in, and it didn't really help. I prefer a book to not need one, to be honest. Ms. Thompson is an exceptionally talented writer, and I truly think she could have carried this off by giving more information directly (or indirectly) in the text. As it was, I glossed over more of the world-building tribal magic stuff than I would have preferred, and that's a disappointment. I wanted very much to grasp mo ...more
M.E. Kinkade
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
There is a glossary at the end of the book! If only I had known this from the start, I may have had an easier time of it.

Sixes throws the reader into a sorta-kinda familiar Western genre--except magic is real, and developed through a bond with your ancestors. Those who have immigrated from Europe are less in-touch with their ancestors--and therefore their magic--while the native people manifest their powers in potent, and sometimes dangerous, ways.

Sixes is nominally a story about Sil and Elim,
Daniel Bensen
Jun 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Unless you've read a lot more fantasy than I have, you haven't read a fantasy like this one. Some of the familiar elements are there: a pair of squabbling friends on a quest, sneaky shape-shifters, racial magic (not so different from the magical system of the Alvin Maker books), but it's all set in a world a lot less like a standard fantasy adventure than real history.

SIXES takes place in a desert trading outpost that was built by white settlers then overrun and rebuilt by indigenous peoples. I
Kathryn McClatchy
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
One Night in Sixes by Arianne ‘Tex’ Thompson, genre: Rural Fantasy
Stars: 4.5

I confess, I struggled through the first fifth of the book. This was my first time to read Rural Fantasy, and I’m not sure what I expected. Honestly, Fantasy in general is not my go-to genre. I’m more of a mystery, thriller, historical fiction aficionado. That being said, I’m going to accept the blame for not being hooked in the first few pages. I chose to push through, though, as this book had been highly recommended by
Jul 12, 2015 added it
You can find my full review of One Night in Sixes on my speculative fiction book blog

In summary: I found it arduous, confused and boring.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: the intersection of fantasy and Western fans
Recommended to Skjam! by: author
Island Town used to be known as Sixes, when the Eadan Confederacy controlled this area. But a decade or so back, the indigenous peoples pushed the Confederacy across the river. Now Island Town is on the border, with only a handful of the old inhabitants providing continuity. Like many border towns, the former Sixes is a mix of various peoples with different customs and languages, who cooperate or clash in many ways.

Sil Halfwick knows nothing of conditions in Island Town–not even its new name. Th
Nov 15, 2017 rated it liked it

This past summer at the Willamette Writers’ Conference I heard Arianne “Tex” Thompson speak about injecting western elements into other genres. If you have never met Tex Thompson, she is a character that cannot be confined to the world of fiction. Someone so lively can only exist in the real world.

I was intrigued by the concept for her trilogy, which blended the western and fantasy genres. I call the idea “cowboys and shapeshifters.” I bought the first book in the series, One Night in Si
L.M. Hinton
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don't know what I expected when I picked up this book. I don't know if I really knew what a speculative western would look like, feel like or taste like. But I tell you, this wasn't what I imagined. Tex Thompson has a way of spinning sentences so beautiful, I'm nearly distracted by their beauty.

Many books I can read straight through and never use my highlight function in Kindle. But with One Night in Sixes I stopped every few pages to highlight sentences worth savoring. Sentences that couldn'
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, western
I loved the writing style. The concept of the book was fascinating as well. The real problem I had was confusion through most of the book. For instance, heathen gods are spoken of but not seen until near the end and I'm still not sure what they are or how they fit in. There were hints and a few clues that some of the humans there are not human, or at least, more than only human, but the only ones we get a clear idea of are the fishmen and that's not until the very end. It's like a bunch of hints ...more
Aug 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Tex immerses the reader in a really interesting "Wild West" world. There are a multitude of races, some of them with abilities that give this story a nice fantasy vibe. One Night in Sixes is well written and has moments of brilliance and hilarity. Unfortunately, I found the story to get bogged down by all the different characters and races, and *spoiler alert* by the end it felt like one huge prelude to the next book. I was kind of bummed because I really wanted to love this series! ...more
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent story with an amazing amount of detail. I haven't read a book with so much detail since my endeavors into the world of Stephen King. One whole book dedicated to a 24 hour period in a supernatural town. It took me a while to get through just for the sheer amount of detail, but the over embellishment in book one helps make book to a lot easier to read. ...more
Joyce Reynolds-Ward
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is not an easy read. Sometimes it's because an author falls down on the job. In this case, the author is working with an intense and complex story, and it takes time to unfold. The world is very intricate and detailed, with some of the best worldbuilding I've read in a long time. Not always what you expect from a fantasy western novel, but does beat the pants off of a lot of them. ...more
While initially engaging, the story was cluttered with a frustrating number of characters and I found the plot convoluted.
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Looked interesting when I picked it up but I quickly lost interest.
2.5 Stars
Did Not Finish
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Arianne "Tex" Thompson is home-grown Texas success story. After earning a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s in literature, she channeled her passion for exciting, innovative, and inclusive fiction into the Children of the Drought – an internationally-published epic fantasy Western series from Solaris.

Now a professional speaker and creative writing instructor at Southern Methodist Univer

Other books in the series

Children of the Drought (3 books)
  • Medicine for the Dead
  • Dreams of the Eaten

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