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‘A Way Accursed and Not Traversed ’
The Skulls in the Stars by Robert E. Howard

Only Ezra the Miser lives along the haunted route to Torkertown. When Solomon Kane leaves a village to travel a dangerous route at night the men of the village send a boy to warn him. In this, the first Solomon Kane story, headed by a quoted verse from Hood, Howard’s most severe hero is exposed as an adrenaline junky, who just might be affecting the garb of a Puritan to cloak his thirst for adventure against evil. Most Howard bibliophiles will disagree here, so I have included the audio link and suggest paying close attention at around 4 minutes in. My opinion is that Kane was conceived as a vengeance junky cloaked as a Puritan as a means of justification—which might make him the first superhero on the modern model—but that he became convinced of his Puritan identity, coming to be that which he had imagined.

Howard crafts the setting with illusory shadows and mists, placing the wayfarer metaphorically adrift at the outset of the tale, as a man who has tasted the worst the world has to offer, has survived and actually yearns to face supernatural evil:

“...who had seen the deeds of the Spanish Inquisition and the witch-finders.”

“The form of the thing was misty and vague.”

“If he must die he would die in his tracks, his wounds in front.”

“He had never fled from a single foe...”

The moral of this story—more than a moral, but it’s bloody point—was that courage is superior to evil.

Taboo You: Deluxe Man Cave Edition

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