Robert E. Howard
Der Fluch des roten Gottes und andere Erzählungen
Aus dem Amerikanischen von Martin Thau
Erzählungen um Schwertkämpfer und Abenteurer. Der Erfinder von Conan dem Barbaren verstand es wie kein Zweiter, den Leser in phantastische, blutvolle Welten zu entführen.
Cover: Steve Mayer mit Pixabay
The Hour of the Dragon, also known as Conan the Conqueror, is a fantasy novel by American writer Robert E. Howard featuring his sword and sorcery hero Conan. The plot is a loosely based melange of motifs from previous Conan short stories, most notably "The Scarlet Citadel", with which it shares an almost identical storyline. It takes place when Conan is about forty-five, during his reign as King of Aquilonia, and follows a plot by a group of conspirators to depose him in favor of Valerius, heir to Conan's predecessor Numedides, whom he had slain to gain the throne. To accomplish this they resort to necromancy, resurrecting Xaltotun, an ancient sorcerer from the pre-Hyborian empire of Acheron. With his aid the Aquilonian army is defeated by that of the rival kingdom of Nemedia and occupied. Conan, captured, is slated for execution until the sympathetic slave girl Zenobia risks her life to free him. Conan's quest to retrieve the Heart of Ahriman in order to defeat the wizard and regain his throne takes him through all the lands of Hyboria. After his eventual triumph he vows to make Zenobia his queen.
"Jewels of Gwahlur" is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian, written by American author Robert E. Howard. Set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age, it concerns several parties, including Conan, fighting over and hunting for the eponymous treasure in Hyborian Africa.
Conan, following legends of this treasure, has travelled to Keshan and offered his services to train and lead Keshan's army against their neighbour, Punt. However, Thutmekri, a Stygian rogue with similar intentions, and his Shemitish partner, Zargheba, also arrive in the country with an offer of a military alliance with another of Punt's neighbours, Zembabwei, with some of the Teeth to seal their pact. The high priest of Keshan, Gorulga, announces that a decision on the matter can only be made after consulting Yelaya, the mummified oracle of Alkmeenon. This is all the treasure hunters require. Zargheba joins Gorulga in his expedition while Conan travels ahead of them.
In the abandoned city the initial atmosphere of the supernatural gives way to intrigue over the oracle. Zargheba has brought along a Corinthian slave girl, Muriela, to play the part of the oracle and tell the priests to hand all of the jewels to Thutmekri. Conan is first scared of the living oracle but quickly discovers the ruse. Intrigue and mystery follows as the imposter and the body of the genuine oracle switch and reappear. Gorulga, however, is an innocent in this, genuinely attempting to consult his oracle.
However, a fourth faction appears. A Pelishti traveller, Bit-Yakin, had visited the valley of the lost city in the past. When the people of Keshan visited the site to worship Yelaya as a goddess, Bit-Yakin provided prophecies from a hiding place. Eventually he died there; his undying servants buried him as per his instructions, and, got rid of their master's control, massacred all priests from Keshan who attempted to visit the city and consult the oracle afterwards. Bit-Yakin's servants, revealed to be large, gray-furred ape-like creatures, kill the survivors of Gorulga's party when they attempt to claim the jewels. Conan manages to acquire the chest containing the jewels but is forced to abandon them to save Muriela. They escape together and Conan ends the story by outlining a new plan.
"The Devil in Iron" is one of the original stories by Robert E. Howard about Conan the Barbarian. In "The Devil in Iron," an ancient demon, Khosatral Khel, is awakened on the remote island of Xapur due to the meddling of a greedy fisherman. Upon reawakening, Khel resurrects the ancient fortress which once dominated the island, including its cyclopean walls, gigantic pythons, and long-dead citizens.
Meanwhile, Conan — a leader of the Vilayet kozaks — is tricked by the villainous Jehungir Agha into pursuing the lovely Octavia to the island of Xapur. Jehungir Agha plans for Conan to fall into a prepared trap on the island. The unforeseen resurrection of the island demon and its ancient fortress, however, interrupts these plans.
When Conan arrives on Xapur, he must defeat not only the forces of the Agha led by Jelal Khan, but a giant serpent as well, and the iron-fleshed monstrosity that is Khosatral Khel.
Almuric features a muscular hero known on earth as Esau Cairn. He is transported through space to a world known as Almuric by unspecified scientific methods. While there, he battles with frightening monsters and beautiful women. Cairn becomes known as the Iron Hand due to his powerful punches and boxing skills. Robert E. Howard is probably best known for his character Conan the Barbarian and is regarded as the father of the sword and sorcery subgenre. Almuric shares similar elements with the John Carter of Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Queen Taramis of Khauran awakens one day to find an identical twin sister, Salome, staring her in the face. As an infant, Salome was deemed a witch due to a crescent birthmark on her chest. This birthmark was believed to be a sign of evil, so she was left in the desert to die. However, a magician from Khitai (China) found her, brought her up, and instructed her in the arts of sorcery.
Salome has conspired with Constantius, known as "the Falcon," the Kothic leader of a force of Shemitish mercenaries, to take over the city state. Queen Taramis is taken to the palace dungeon, with the implication of torture and rape. Salome assumes Taramis' identity as queen of Khauran and names Constantius her royal consort. The Khaurani army is disbanded and replaced by Constantius' Shemitish mercenaries, an event which turns violent when the captain of the queen's guard, Conan the Cimmerian, refuses to obey the order.
After putting his back to a wall and killing a number of Constantius' Shemites, Conan is finally captured and crucified for his defiance. Olgerd Vladislav, the Zaporoskan leader of a band of Zuagir desert raiders, rides by with a scouting party and happens by the crucified Conan a mile from the city walls. Vladislav does not entirely help Conan. He has the base of the cross cut, leaving it to fate and Conan's hardiness that he is not crushed by the heavy wood. Vladislav then refuses to give Conan any water, claiming the Cimmerian must wait until after a ten-mile trek to the outlaw camp to prove his worthiness to his band.
"Beyond the Black River" is one of the original short stories about Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard. A young settler named Balthus encounters Conan in the forests slaying a forest devil. Accompanying the young man back to the Fort, Conan finds the body of a merchant ensorcelled by a Pictish wizard named Zogar Sag and slain by a swamp demon.
The Fort Tuscelan Commander, Valannus, is a desperate man and asks Conan to slay Zogar Sag before he raises the Picts against the whole borderlands. Taking a hand picked team of scouts and Balthus, Conan sets off stealthily in canoes. Balthus is captured and most of Conan's men slaughtered in an ambush.
Balthus and one of the Scouts are tied to stakes and the scout is sacrificed by Zogar Sag to one of his jungle creatures. Before Balthus can meet a similar fate, Conan sets the Pictish village on fire and the two flee into the woods. Conan tells Balthus of the cult of Jhebbal Sag, now forgotten by most. Once all living things worshipped him when men and beasts spoke the same language. Over time men and most beasts forgot his worship. Zogar Sag has not, however, and can control those few animals and creatures who also remember. And they are on Conan's trail now.
Conan is able to neutralize them using a symbol he once noticed, and the pair hurry to return to the Fort to warn them of the impending Pictish assault, but they are too late.
They then go to warn the settlers that the Picts have crossed the river and are raiding. They are joined by Slasher, a feral dog formerly owned by a settler who had been slain by the Picts. Balthus is sent on to warn settlers of the coming Pict raid, and Conan parts from him to warn a group of settler who had gone to gather salt. Balthus warns the settlers, and—accompanied by Slasher—makes a stand against the coming Pict raiders. Their sacrifice delays the Picts and give the settlers time to reach safety. Conan manages to warn the salt-gathering party in time, but finds he has been marked for death by the gods of darkness for misusing the symbol of Jhebbal Sag. In the end Conan triumphs, but the fort is lost.
The story ends in a tavern. A survivor tells Conan about the courageous act of Balthus and Slasher, and how their final stand had delayed the Picts just barely long enough for the settlers to reach safety. Upon hearing of the fight, Conan vowed to take the heads of ten Picts to pay for Balthus' sacrifice, along with seven heads for the dog, who was "a better warrior than many a man."
“He was . . . a strange blending of Puritan and Cavalier, with a touch of the ancient philosopher, and more than a touch of the pagan. . . . A hunger in his soul drove him on and on, an urge to right all wrongs, protect all weaker things. . . . Wayward and restless as the wind, he was consistent in only one respect—he was true to his ideals of justice and right. Such was Solomon Kane.”
Collected in this volume are the seven stories (plus one poem) that make up the thrilling saga of the dour and deadly Puritan, Solomon Kane: Red Shadows (1928), Skulls In The Stars (1929), Rattle Of Bones (1929), The Moon Of Skulls (1930), The Hills Of The Dead (1930), The Footfalls Within (1931), Wings In The Night (1932) and Solomon Kane's Homecoming – A Poem (1936).
Together they constitute a sprawling epic of weird fantasy adventure that stretches from sixteenth-century England to remote African jungles where no white man has set foot. Here are shudder-inducing tales of vengeful ghosts and bloodthirsty demons, of dark sorceries wielded by evil men and women, all opposed by a grim avenger armed with a fanatic’s faith and a warrior’s savage heart.
“Howard’s writing seems so highly charged with energy that it nearly gives off sparks.”
“Robert E. Howard had a gritty, vibrant style–broadsword writing that cut its way to the heart, with heroes who are truly larger than life.”
In a meteoric career that spanned a mere twelve years, Robert E. Howard single-handedly invented the genre that came to be called sword and sorcery. From his fertile imagination sprang some of fiction’s most enduring heroes. Yet while Conan is indisputably Howard’s greatest creation, it was in his earlier sequence of tales featuring Kull, a fearless warrior with the brooding intellect of a philosopher, that Howard began to develop the distinctive themes, and the richly evocative blend of history and mythology, that would distinguish his later tales of the Hyborian Age.
Much more than simply the prototype for Conan, Kull is a fascinating character in his own right: an exile from fabled Atlantis who wins the crown of Valusia, only to find it as much a burden as a prize.
This collection gathers together three stories plus one poem featuring Kull - The Shadow Kingdom (1929), The Mirrors Of Tuzun Thune (1929), Kings of the Night (1939) and The King And The Oak (1939). The stories are presented just as Howard wrote them, with all subsequent editorial emendations removed.
“Howard was a true storyteller–one of the first, and certainly among the best, you’ll find in heroic fantasy. If you’ve never read him before, you’re in for a real treat.”
–Charles de Lint
“For stark, living fear . . . what other writer is even in the running with Robert E. Howard?”
–H. P. Lovecraft
"Howard was the Thomas Wolfe of fantasy, and most of his Conan tales seem to almost fall over themselves in their need to get out."
- Stephen King
"A hero of mythic proportion, fashioned by a storyteller who helped define what a modern fantasy should be. "Rogues in the House" is one of the finest tales of sword and sorcery ever written."
- Raymond E. Feist
- Fantasy and Science Fiction
Conan the Cimmerian: the boy-thief who became a mercenary, who fought and loved his way across fabled lands to become King of Aquilonia. Neither supernatural fiends nore demonic sorcery could oppose the barbarian warrior as he wielded his mighty sword and dispatched his enemies to a bloody doom on the battlefields of the legendary Hyborian age. Collected together in one volume are - besides the poem Cimmeria - A Poem (1932) and the essay The Hyborian Age - Conan's World (1936) - Robert E. Howard's tales of the legendary hero, as fresh and atmospheric today as when they were first published in the pulp magazines of more than seventy years ago: The Tower Of The Elephant (1933), Rogues In The House (1934), Shadows In The Moonlight (1934), Black Colossus (1933), Queen Of The Black Coast (1934), The Slithering Shadow (1933), A Witch Shall Be Born (1934), The Devil In Iron (1934), The People Of The Black Circle (1934), Shadows In Zamboula (1935), The Pool Of The Black One (1930), Beyond The Black River (1935), The Black Stranger (1932), Red Nails (1936), Jewels Of Gwalhur (1935), The Phoenix On The Sword (1932), The Scarlet Citadel (1933) and The Hour Of The Dragon (1935).