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Vengeance Served Piping Hot
Robert E. Howard in the Mail Chattel’s Hand, Courtesy of Nero the Pict and Deuce


Once upon a candlelit time, men of the cold distant north preserved the works of the authors of the ancient world, which surely would have surprised fellows such as Plato, Aristotle and Polybius, that their works would be snatched from Time’s ravenous maw by such recluses, living humbly on the fringe of the ruins of the civilization the authors had attempted to advance and preserve in writing.

Imagine my thrill this past Saturday when I received a parcel, delivered by the hands of a comely slave, with an insolent gleam in her eye and a lithe toss of the ample hip, to me at the very gate of the plantation, which contained the following sacred relics:

4 Vintage Howard Paperbacks

Almuric

1964, Ace, NY, 157 pages, the saga of Esau Cairn, alienated boxer/wrestler/strongman of Earth, who travels to a savage planet and finds himself

Marchers of Valhalla

1978, Berkly, NY, 215 pages, a collection of seven tales, unsold in Howard’s time, mostly set in the British Isles of the Dark Ages, including The Grey God Passes, featuring a warrior who wore a slave’s collar but wielded a king’s sword

The Last Ride

1978, Berkly, NY, 162 pages, a collection of six western shorts stories, none of which I have read and am very excited about

Black Vulmea’s Vengeance

1979, Berkly, NY, 183 pages, a collection of three novelettes set in the pirate-infested Caribbean, featuring a “black-Irish” pirate eager to avenge himself upon the hated British! I once stood at the Walden’s Book store and wondered, should I complete my Mars collection, or buy Black Vulmea’s Vengeance, Worms of the Earth and Skullface. I elected to complete the Burroughs collection and come back the next week with my school lunch money and buy the three Howard titles I did not have. When I returned the following week only Worms of the Earth remained on the rack.

Thank you, Nero!

You’re not a bad dude, for a Pict.

Deuce recently donated:

Lord of Samarcand and Other Adventure Tales of the Old Orient

The Black Stranger and Other American Tales

The Riot at Bucksnort and Other Western Tales

The End of the Trail: Western Stories

These collections should fill in all the holes in my Robert E. Howard library except for the boxing material.

Thank you, Deuce.

Add Comment
deuceFebruary 9, 2016 12:46 PM UTC

All excellent buys. The Kelly cover to THE LAST RIDE is underappreciated, IMO.

If you haven't read the REH Conan tale, "The Black Stranger", you should. Howard converted that into the Vulmea yarn, "Swords of the Red Brotherhood". In the process, he revealed that, in his opinion, Conan could be switched straight over to a 17th century Gael from Connacht. Vulmea looks, acts and speaks almost exactly the same as Conan.

In fact, Robert E. Howard actually makes Vulmea more bad-ass than Conan. Conan crosses about 500mi of Pictish territory, much of that as a captive. Vulmea crosses the North American continent, without a gun, from the Gulf to somewhere in the vicinity of of San Francisco as a free man. Sometimes as a friend to Injun tribes he meets, others not. The first modern European to cross the North American continent completely unaided by other Europeans (according to REH).

Vulmea, raised in Connacht, put such frontiersmen as Kenton or Bigfoot Wallace to shame, blazing a trail centuries ahead of other Europeans.
responds:February 9, 2016 2:15 PM UTC

The Black Stranger is reviewed in Dark Art of an Aryan Mystic, possibly my favorite Conan tale and my favorite pirate yarn.

Thanks so much for all of the Howard info you've been sending, Deuce.