Sep 17 2008 10:50am

Free e-books from Will Shetterly and Emma Bull

With the recent announcement of the finalists for this year's World Fantasy Awards, Emma Bull and Will Shetterly scored an odd historic first: they’re the first married couple to each have a novel on the same final ballot for one of the field’s top awards. Both Emma’s Territory and Will’s The Gospel of the Knife are finalists for Best Novel.

We’d been meaning to get back into the business of periodically offering free e-books, so this inspired us to commemorate the occasion by digging into Emma and Will’s backlist. As a result, for the next month, members can download digital editions of a pair of classics from the Bull/Shetterly household:

War for the Oaks by Emma Bull:

Dogland by Will Shetterly:

These links only work if you’re a registered user and logged in, so if you haven’t joined us yet, consider doing so now. The process takes only seconds and gives you access to other useful site features as well. In future months, we’ll be offering more free e-books, but only to logged-in registered users—and as always, these offers are for a limited time.

UPDATE 21 October: As the limited time is over, these books are now no longer available for free download.

Christopher Davis
1. ckd
Has there been any thought to making these available in eReader format as well? The official Mobi reader software isn't available on the Mac or iPhone/iPod touch, and the various unofficial ones all seem inferior to eReader to me.
Jo Walton
2. bluejo
Last year's Nebula ballot had two instances -- Delia Sherman and Ellen Kushner both had Nebula nominations, and Justine Labalestier and Scott Westerfield were directly against each other for the Norton. I noticed at the time and thought it was kind of sweet.
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
3. pnh
Jo: that's why I said "to each have a novel on the same final ballot." There have been a couple of instances of both halves of a married couple being on the same ballot in different categories; I was thinking of Ellen and Delia as I wrote that.

ckd: I don't know what the situation is regarding the eReader format, but I've inquired and will let you know.
zaphod beetlebrox
4. platypus rising
Nice.War for the Oaks was one in the "always heard of but never got around a copy" category.
Jennifer Shew
5. etoiline
Thanks! Always wanted to check out War for the Oaks, and of course I picked up Dogland too ;)
Helen Wright
6. arkessian
Platypus rising, War for the Oaks is a favourite of mine. Suppose I won't get far with its first line now though!
Pablo Defendini
7. pablodefendini
@ ckd #1:
I've had decent luck with PDFs on my iPhone (granted, more often than not you have to contend with smallish type, or cumbersome pinching/zooming in and out).
Especially useful are iPhone/iPod Touch apps like Mobile Finder, for managing and moving files to and from the device. YMMV, of course.
Estara Swanberg
8. Estara
Thank you very much, especially for War for the Oaks, which remains my favourite Urban Fantasy ever. I do like the original cover better, though... ;)
Tzut Tzut
9. WillieMcBride
Timothy Habersack
10. timotheus
Can't wait to start on these! One thing, I was curious. I always download the free ebooks in mobipocket format. It would be interesting to see what the download stats are for all ebooks off the tor site based on format.

Mobipocket on my Blackberry is w1n.
Christopher Davis
12. ckd
pablodefendini (#7): I've downloaded the currently-free Air Sharing, which seems similar to Mobile Finder. I haven't tried loading any files into it yet, but probably will fairly soon.

I'm really enjoying the iPhone OS version of eReader. I can carry dozens of e-books (even huge Neal Stephenson bricks) on my new iPod touch, and the screen display is significantly better than my old Palm TX even though they're both 320x480. (I'm still adjusting to not scrolling with the Palm's "d-pad" style navigator, though.)
Kate Nepveu
13. katenepveu
It is quite easy to turn HTML into eReader format--I have a search & replace thingy in NoteTab Pro that does it mostly-automagically for me, and am happy to share it with whoever's doing the format conversions for Tor.
Chris Meadows
14. Robotech_Master
I don't know if this has any bearing on the Tor freebies, but when I asked over on the Baen Bar about making the Baen Webscription books available in eReader, Arnold Bailey noted that eReader's old terms of use specified that they would charge a percentage of the take for commercial titles. He said that since Fictionwise had bought eReader, he had been told that was not going to be the case anymore—but the old terms of use have not been changed yet on the website, and until that happened they wouldn't be able to go any further toward looking into it.

For what it's worth, though, for those people who prefer eReader titles, they could take the HTML and make one themselves with eReader's Dropbook. There are format conversion macros for both MS Word and OpenOffice; you just load the HTML file in and run it and it spits out a raw PML file which you can then drag into Dropbook. You do have to make sure that the chapter titles have a Header style applied to them to make the table of contents, and you will have to manually convert inline images (due to its palmdoc roots, eReader uses kind of a hinky format for images—color-indexed PNGs that have to be exactly 64K or smaller), but it's really not all that hard.

(My own conversions—including Jeffrey Carver's Neptune Crossing and Strange Attractors, and Cory Doctorow's Content—have generally been done by hand, with a text editor and lots of search-and-replacing, but then I'm weird.)

(For what it's worth, Bookshelf has worked pretty well for me with Tor/Mobipocket free titles on the iTouch so far—and it's also set up to be able to download Baen Webscription and Free Library titles directly from the net. It's $10, but I think it's worth it.)
Jason Burnett
15. JKB
I'm really looking forward to reading these, especially War for the Oaks - I get so much flak because I've lived in Minneapolis for three and a half years now and still haven't read it.
David Adams
16. TheNewsGuy
CKD - The best compromise I've found on my iphone is mobi format with Stanza (currently free). I originally downloaded all the books as pdfs, but haven't found a pdf reader for the phone that really works well for a book reading "experience".

Stanza Desktop (for windows) works well enough for transferring the files via wireless and the reading experience is great.
Gary Foster
17. gfoster
For my iPhone, I use Stanza to read all of these. It will read PRC (mobi) format as well as epub and many others. You can also use the desktop version of stanza to convert them to just about any format you desire (including the ereader format).
aaditya sood
19. aadis1
Thanks Tor. I'm in India, and finding good SF is hard here. I'm thinking of taking a subscription with as well :)
At, we've got a review for Emma Bull's War for the Oak here:
At, we've got a review for Emma Bull's War for the Oak here.
Robert Gately
22. SeattleGuy
Thanks Tor! I was hoping you would bring these free offerings back. I have enjoyed reading these on my Blackberry during my daily commute.

Well done and keep up the good work.
Paul Howard
23. DrakBibliophile
Got the MobiPocket versions but the PDFs didn't want to download.

Chris Meadows
24. Robotech_Master
The problem I have with Stanza is that the Stanza mobipocket-to-ePub converter doesn't keep italics and bold and so forth in the books it converts over. (Also, Stanza will cost $15 when it's out of beta.)
John Novak
25. jmnovak
Score! War for the Oaks is one of my favorites; I have the Ace and the Orb editions. Great to have it as an ebook! Now we just need the commercial (DRM-free!) ebook releases of everything else... :-)
Debbie Lee
26. dylee10
Two great but hard to find books! Thanks so much!
27. RobertJSawyer
Another vote for eReader format, please!
Jane Lee
28. janeylicious
At all the iPhone/iPod touch folks, there's also Bookshelf and Stanza. I'm sure there might be other readers available on the app store as well. I'm fairly sure Bookshelf supports .mobi.
Fred Kiesche
30. FredKiesche
Downloaded! And thanks!

Althought I'm beginning to wonder if my electronic Mount Toberead is "higher" than my paper Mount Toberead at this point...
Jerome Krough
31. jdkchem
ckd, FB Reader is available for Mac OSX It works well with the mobi format.
some guy
32. NateTheGreat
It's a little silly to say we can freely download Dogland "for the next month". It was released under Creative Commons about a month ago.

BTW, he also released The Gospel of the Knife under CC. You can find both titles on
Willard Cushman
33. cush619
My first post.

We have Kindles in our house so Mobi files are great.
Now if I could find "Bone Dance_... (for purchase)

Thank you, Tor
will shetterly
34. willshetterly
Patrick, Scott and Justine were on the ballot for the second Norton Award. If they set a precedent for the wife winning, I'll be very happy.

You could say we're the first on the ballot for an *old* award... Nah.

NateTheGreat, I actually released those much more than a month ago. But the Tor versions are much prettier!
Dan Reifsnyder
35. studiolicio
War for the Oaks is one of the best 'urban fantasy' books ever written. I might be biased because I've played rock and roll my entire life and in reading the book it's obvious that Emma has played live herself more than once. I visited friends in Minneapolis and we took an 'Oaks' tour of the city, photographing ourselves in every location we could find in the book and scaring innocent tourists in the process. Eternal thanks to Emma for such an incredible book, and I'm still looking for a sequel! WFTO TNG?
Alexander Gieg
36. alexgieg
What I want to know is when will open a store allowing us to purchase the "part 2" titles for all the series started in the previous free run. Then all the "part 3" ones. Then all the "part 4" ones (if any). Then... then... THEN...!!!

In the same DRM-less, multiple formats way, evidently. It works for music, it works for ebooks, you most certainly agree. Right? :-)
Chris Meadows
37. Robotech_Master
Apparently it will come sometime in the not too distant future; I'm told that it's mainly technical issues at Baen that are holding up matters on the store.
zaphod beetlebrox
38. platypus rising
I know that Emma Bull played in a band called Cat's Laughing because I remember an Excalibur (the Marvel,x-men related title)annual of 20 years ago.
Oh the geekery...
pir anha
39. piranha
thanks! i never got my copies of war for the oaks back after loaning them to people, and now that i am reading more e-books than paper books, this will be a joy to reread.

hint: the more DRM-free e-books there are, the more i will buy. :)
40. Anthuzad
A wonderful program you have running there TOR. Thank you very much. I also second piranha's thought about the DRM-free titles :D
Dennis McCunney
41. DMcCunney
Oh, goodness. A re-release in ebook format of War for the Oaks! Dogtown, too! Bless you. Bless you a lot!

These are just wonderful. Folks who like urban fantasy will love them. Folks who don't like urban fantasy might just have their minds changed.
Maria Lima
42. chickwriter
This ROCKS! I now officially have all the editions of War for the Oaks, including my original mmpb from a thousand years ago.

Emma's writing was one of the reasons I write what I do. :)

Tor rules - thanks so much!

-- Maria Lima
noyb noyb
43. noyb123
Tor - thanks for the ebooks, and thanks even more for not clogging them up with useless DRM. However, what's the deal with forcing us to register to download them? Prior to a couple of months ago, you'd email the notices with some links to them, and I'd download them.

Why do I suddenly have to log into a website just to download something? Why make us register at all? It's not like you got anything that's even remotely useful for registration information... And if you just added the right kind of link to the emails you'd be able to get metrics on the number of unique downloads, so I fail to see the reason...

Just sell the advertisers on the number of downloads you got - not on the number of bogus 'registered' users you have...

And for the record - the minute I get any spam from you, we're done - I'll blackhole your domains on my email servers... So don't let those marketing people get any bright ideas about enhancing the relationship... It is what it is, and I like it this way...
Debbie Moorhouse
44. GUDsqrl
Another vote here for eReader. I'm a long way from home, computer and library so my iphone is all I have.
David Fowler
45. model217
Thank you Tor! A couple of great books. I've heard of War for the Oaks,but never read it.
46. Prufrock
Another vote for eReader. All the other formats work, but I have infrastructure around eReader -- years of use.

@noyb123 -- Very gracious. What a pleasant thanks to offer the site managers and authors. I hope Tor and all other online communities you visit continue to benefit from your expert and infallible advice, so freely given.

Jim Rion
47. JimR
Tor, Thank you.
I LOVE it that a serious, mainstream publisher is starting to treat the web and the whole electronic publishing world like something worth a damn.
Thank you, and good work.
Marilyn Fishman
48. msfishman
Thank you so much for offering ebooks. I was not sure about buying ebooks. I buy many 'real' books, including of course Tor's each year. However, I have a new phone that can read the formats you offer. And having one or two ebooks on my phone has given me a wonderful feeling that I will never again be trapped on a train or in a doctor's office without something fun to read.
Dianne Owens
49. keikomushi
I am currently having trouble downloading both of the PDF versions. The downloads are still going after like 5 mb, in contrast to the 2:1 ratio on previous downloads of PDF:PRC. I don't know if that's normal or not so I suggest that you post the size of the files on each listing to avoid any confusion or frustration.
Michael Rideout
50. SeaGtGruff
keikomushi, they're big files-- dogland.pdf is 17.1 MB, and warfortheoaks.pdf is 13.4 MB. I'm not certain why they're so much larger than some of the other PDFs that were posted before, but they do have chapter bookmarks, color cover pictures, and nicely formatted text, so I presume that's the main reason. :)
Chris Meadows
51. Robotech_Master
Funny how no matter what they do, someone complains about it. :) You know, noyb, they had to have your email address already in order to send the notices for the original free e-books. Registering for the site doesn't make that much of a difference.
Mary Dell
52. marydell
Oh, awesome! EB and WS on my kindle at last, woo!
Cora Buhlert
53. CoraBuhlert
Thanks for those. I am particularly happy about "War for the Oaks", because it is on the long list of books I still have to procure for my PhD.
Arachne Jericho
54. arachnejericho

@marydell #52 - you can also have EB and WS on your Kindle through the unofficial Shadow Unit eBook that exists around and abouts. That's how I got them on my Kindle a little while back.

@SeaGtGruff #50 - I think it's the cover images that's the bulk of the size for the PDFs. They're glorious, in color, and at nice resolutions.

ePub format is something that should be readable by the Sony Reader, and it's an open standard for anybody to use (just a zip file of special HTML and any images/stylesheets)---and also not under the eReader license. I got totally mixed up on reader formats. My bad.
Hugh Blair
55. hblair
Thank you, Tor. You hit another home run.
Rick Rutherford
56. rutherfordr
Thank you thank you thank you for the Sony Reader versions! :) :) :)

BTW there are a couple of things that you might want to look into in the Sony Reader files of these two books:

You misspelled Will Shetterly's name in the "Dogland" file -- the author is listed as "Will Shenerly", and the title of WAR FOR THE OAKS is in all caps (just like that).
Arachne Jericho
57. arachnejericho
(P.S. -- The Tor versions are indeed much prettier. There is something to be said for having people who care deeply do the conversions, rather than just ramming the .txt through whatever.)
58. vhfer
Thanks Tor for getting it right. Although very sad I was when the books disappeared for a while. Now they are back and the current wisdom that publishing companies don't "get" the Internet finds one more counterexample, in what is still a small pool.

Now, hard as it may be for you iPhone fanbois/grrls to believe, there are other ways of going about it. I read good books (many of them from!) every day on my Palm Vx Yup, that's right, tech that's at least 10 years old. I have never had a lick of trouble with it. When I have to wait for something, and have time to read a lot, the battery often lasts several books, without a charge.

I use Plucker, CSpotRun, eReader, MobiPocket, and RoadLingua. eReader has nice features and I like it. Plucker has an autoscroller that actually works. MobiPocket it ok, but some features crash my Palm, and then I have to hunt up a paper clip. Nothing lost though.

* I transmit, therefore I am * Be radio-active! *
Jeffrey Carver
59. JeffreyCarver
War for the Oaks happens to be the book that that I am currently reading aloud to my family. (In fact, I just got the three-minute warning to come read.)

And I just recently grabbed Dogland from another site, but I'm pleased to see that this is (I'm guessing) the final version, rather than the pre-copy-edited version.

But there's a typo in the Mobipocket build. It lists the author as "Will Shenerly." Unless Will has an alter-ego I was unaware of, you might want to have your ebook-conversion people fix that. (I didn't have time to read all the comments above, so sorry if I'm repeating.)

Congratulations, Emma and Will!
60. brashley46
FBreader is awesome, it's even available on the Zaurus and the Nokia Internet Tablet; it's all the ebook reader I need. I download the zipped HTML; it reads right from that, or .fb2 format, or .mobi, or .pdb, or .prc
jdkchem wrote on
Wednesday September 17, 2008 03:34pm EDT

ckd, FB Reader is available for Mac OSX It works well with the mobi format.
Pat Knuth
61. Laina
War for the Oaks is one of my all-time favorite books. I'm delighted to have both these books available as ebooks. Thanks.
Asokan Pichai
62. rivermaker
Thanks Tor! Living in India, I dont even have access to any of these titles. SO the free books were/are the only chance for me to read.

Is there a plan to sell the eBooks?
Sherman Dorn
63. shermandorn
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Now, when I'm somewhere away from home and want to read an old comfy book, I can get WftO without figuring out how to get a wormhole to open up between our bookshelf and my hotel room! It doesn't have quite the musty order of our older copy, but it'll do quite nicely. :)
Cat Hellisen
64. Cat Hellisen
I read Dogland when Mr Shetterly put it up on his side. It immediately went on my to buy list (and now resides on my bookshelf). :D
Debbie Moorhouse
65. GUDsqrl
I bet the .pdfs are lovely :) but my iPhone choked trying to download them. Need to find a wifi connection to guest on, but the only one I turned up locally got wise after a day.
William Crawford
67. wccrawford
War for the Oaks HTML version doesn't work. It insists I need to register (I did that yesterday, and I'm logged in) and then when I click the register link on that page, it says I'm not authorized to view that page.

The HTML for Dogland works fine, and so does the PDF for War for the Oaks.
David Harmon
I was a little confused that my old Tor-beta account seemed to have evaporated, but I re-registered and everything's hunky-dory.
M.P. Titus
69. FaerieFire
Another request for eReader format. It's all I use these days. I have one book in PDF format that I really wanted to read but just can't get myself to do it. Meanwhile, dozens of eReader books later...
Chris Meadows
70. Robotech_Master
I almost find myself wanting to do an eReader conversion myself now, if only so I can put in differentiated open and close quotes and proper apostrophes.
armrow yan
71. armrow
Thanks a lot.
I really like War for the Oaks, and download it into my palm.
Helene Klungvik
72. haridasi
Thank you, I think it's great that you give away free ebooks, but I also look forward to when I can BUY ebooks from you.

Tor is doing great in understanding the current of where publishing of books needs to go, and I want to support you by purchasing ebooks (and not by buying hardcovers and paperbacks).
Michael Dolbear
73. miketor
I too suggest that the download sizes be given

13 MB for each PDF is quite a shock.

Little Egret aka Miketor
Chad Childers
74. chadnibal
Nice to see the free eBooks again, they helped get me through a lot of midnight feedings with a new baby. Since you do a lot of "book 1 of the trilogy/series", it would definitely make sense to offer the chance to buy book 2 as an eBook... I'd like to do that to support you, but it wasn't offered (or at least I couldn't find it) for the ones I looked for.
Farrell Maginnis
75. fejm
Thanks Tor!
I have War of the Oaks from when it was published in paperback. Loved it then. Looking forward to reading it again!
cathy gramze
76. rhiamom
Thank you, Tor! My Kindle is able to read the mobi format, but only if it is DRM-free. I'm another who'd like to see the second and later books in a series. Even if I have to pay.
Katie S-C
77. shenanigans
War for the Oaks is one of the best books I've ever read and I'm so happy to be able to get it in a copy that doesn't have pages falling out. Thank you Tor!
Chris Bier
78. cymorc
Awesome! Thanks for bringing back the free ebooks. I'm looking forward to buying ebooks from you soon.
Max Evans
79. marvmax
Looks like these books are winners from all the comments. Well there on my Dell PDA now and ready for reading, along with all the other freebies from you guys from last time.

I'm just going to chime in here with my hope that you guys are going to start offering even more of your books for sell. I've already bought Tor titles over at It looks like you've got some titles over there now waiting to be released. I'm hoping that you do it the way Baen's been doing it. After finding the free library there I've spent over $1000 on books from them all e-books. Of course they've set the standard pretty high. They get $15 from me like clockwork every month, and then some. I personally only buy my fiction as e-books anymore.
Dave Bell
80. DaveBell
No argument, those PDFs are huge. Which is a striking contrast to the initial freebies.

Bit of a stumble there.

I'm not sure that I like the cover art on War For The Oaks, but considering what some artist/publisher combinations might do with rock music, elves, and urban fantasy, it's pleasantly different.
Camelia Papadopol
81. ellisera
Actually, ckd, for the iPhone/iPod Touch, Stanza is pretty good, and can take pdfs.
Eloise Johnston
82. helloello
I picked up War of the Oaks when it came out in paperback and it's an old favorite, always worth re-reading. Now I can keep it stashed on my Pocket PC to pull out whenever I like. Thanks!!
Jean Lamb
83. excessivelyperky
Thanks for the free books! I love my Palm Pilot (though I wish the spring on the off on switch wouldn't die quite so fast, sigh, need to take it down and get it fixed, again), and have read lots of books on it. I do like ereader better, but the Palm Mobi works just fine on my gadget. And my husband says his back is better now, because we don't have to take a ton or so of books on vacation any more (just a couple of paperbacks for the hot tub).

My beta registration disappeared, too, but it didn't take long to sign back up again.

Again, thanks!
Paul Howard
84. DrakBibliophile
Evil I Say Evil!

After finishing _War For the Oaks_, I just had to purchase the ebook of Territory.

By the way, will there be a sequel to Territory?

Drak Bibliophile

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