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‘The Low, Lurid Rampart of Sunset’
"The Pigeons From Hell" by Robert E. Howard
The reader of this audio-version of the story has a superb voice for such a dark tale.
Howard’s creeping evocation of the deep darkness of the Southern Pinelands is powerful. Did the two Negro storytellers of his childhood—both women—inculcate this sense into him as a place of dark secrets and despair, being the place of their bondage or did he have his own independent sense born of something deeper. The choice of a female reader for this story was eerily ideal.
Kirby Buckner, protagonist of the Pinewoods horror Novelette Black Canaan, appears as a supporting character in this story, which stamped this tale with Howard’s trademark in the genre, a man of action. More weakly written tales—meaning most of them—require a character like the protagonist Griswell to be left alone against the terror of the unknown and the evils clawing up out of the past. But the presence of a fighting man, like Sheriff Buckner, permits a closer view of those fearful things underpinning the story.
Joan, the Mulatto servant girl abused by her mistress, might have been based on Howard’s own nanny. The voodoo man, Jacob, is a reoccurring figure, squatting above the dark secrets of the swamp gods. Howard had many gifts as a horror writer, with his ability to conjure a sense of greater antiquity than Man can fathom being one of these.
The best phrase of Pigeons from Hell is “…this continent that fools call young.”
Below find the audio-book link and also a link to another review.
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