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With Conan the Cimmerian, Robert E. Howard created more than the greatest action hero of the twentieth century—he also launched a genre that came to be known as sword and sorcery. But Conan wasn’t the first archetypal adventurer to spring from Howard’s fertile imagination. “He was . . . a strange blending of Puritan and Cavalier, with a touch of the ancient philosopher, an With Conan the Cimmerian, Robert E. Howard created more than the greatest action hero of the twentieth century—he also launched a genre that came to be known as sword and sorcery. But Conan wasn’t the first archetypal adventurer to spring from Howard’s fertile imagination. “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, lavishly illustrated by award-winning artist Gary Gianni, are all of the stories and poems that make up the thrilling saga of the dour and deadly Puritan, Solomon Kane. 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. This edition also features exclusive story fragments, a biography of Howard by scholar Rusty Burke, and “In Memoriam,” H. P. Lovecraft’s moving tribute to his friend and fellow literary genius. Skulls in the stars -- The right hand of doom -- Red shadows -- Rattle of bones -- The castle of the devil -- Death's black riders -- The moon of skulls -- The one black stain -- The blue flame of vengance -- The hills of the dead -- Hawk of Basti -- The return of Sir Richard Grenville -- Wings in the night -- The footfalls within -- The children of Asshur -- Solomon Kane's homecoming -- Solomon Kane's homecoming (variant).


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With Conan the Cimmerian, Robert E. Howard created more than the greatest action hero of the twentieth century—he also launched a genre that came to be known as sword and sorcery. But Conan wasn’t the first archetypal adventurer to spring from Howard’s fertile imagination. “He was . . . a strange blending of Puritan and Cavalier, with a touch of the ancient philosopher, an With Conan the Cimmerian, Robert E. Howard created more than the greatest action hero of the twentieth century—he also launched a genre that came to be known as sword and sorcery. But Conan wasn’t the first archetypal adventurer to spring from Howard’s fertile imagination. “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, lavishly illustrated by award-winning artist Gary Gianni, are all of the stories and poems that make up the thrilling saga of the dour and deadly Puritan, Solomon Kane. 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. This edition also features exclusive story fragments, a biography of Howard by scholar Rusty Burke, and “In Memoriam,” H. P. Lovecraft’s moving tribute to his friend and fellow literary genius. Skulls in the stars -- The right hand of doom -- Red shadows -- Rattle of bones -- The castle of the devil -- Death's black riders -- The moon of skulls -- The one black stain -- The blue flame of vengance -- The hills of the dead -- Hawk of Basti -- The return of Sir Richard Grenville -- Wings in the night -- The footfalls within -- The children of Asshur -- Solomon Kane's homecoming -- Solomon Kane's homecoming (variant).

30 review for The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane

  1. 4 out of 5

    Evgeny

    A group read with Mark and Sarah. Slightly less known than other Howard's character - Conan the Cimmerian - Solomon Kane is a Puritan who wonders wherever he feels like trying to fight injustice in the name of his religion. The book contains everything Howard ever wrote about the guy including short poems and unfinished fragments. First stories were unusual and rare mix of classic adventures and horror. Considering Howard wrote excellent stories in both genres here the result was excellent. I was A group read with Mark and Sarah. Slightly less known than other Howard's character - Conan the Cimmerian - Solomon Kane is a Puritan who wonders wherever he feels like trying to fight injustice in the name of his religion. The book contains everything Howard ever wrote about the guy including short poems and unfinished fragments. First stories were unusual and rare mix of classic adventures and horror. Considering Howard wrote excellent stories in both genres here the result was excellent. I was ready to rate the book with 5 stars based on its beginning. Unfortunately the tone begin to change. In the beginning the tales were practically historical with some slight supernatural elements - just enough to bring horror element. As the book progressed the historical part became less and less realistic and supernatural elements became more prominent and the for some reason the horror part became less and less scary. Initially Solomon Kane traveled in Europe dealing with occasional necromancer, diabolic forces, etc. Later on he moved his base of operation to Africa finding lost cities, civilizations, dark gods - in other words doing Conan's job. We discussed the character of the main hero with our buddy readers. We all agreed that he felt a little flat. From my side I think it is understandable considering the guy was a typical Puritan: stoic and unemotional. He served his role perfectly fine. So an excellent beginning following by somewhat stereotypical classic adventures (but considering Robert E. Howard's skills even those are not boring at all) give firm 4 stars as a rating. If you like Conan make sure not to miss Solomon Kane.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dirk Grobbelaar

    The moon began to rise, lean and haggard, like a skull among the stars. In the very first few pages of reading this, I was reminded again of just how electrifying a writer Howard was. I can’t help but wonder what a legacy he would have amassed by now, had circumstances been different. (Howard passed away at the age of 30; the first Solomon Kane story was published when he was around the age of 22) What are mortals but food for the jaws of the black gods? This is a fantastic collection and I can’t r The moon began to rise, lean and haggard, like a skull among the stars. In the very first few pages of reading this, I was reminded again of just how electrifying a writer Howard was. I can’t help but wonder what a legacy he would have amassed by now, had circumstances been different. (Howard passed away at the age of 30; the first Solomon Kane story was published when he was around the age of 22) What are mortals but food for the jaws of the black gods? This is a fantastic collection and I can’t really imagine anybody not enjoying these stories (at least to an extent). They’re exciting, atmospheric, eerie and imaginative. I haven’t had this much fun since reading Who Fears The Devil by Manly Wade Wellman. Two hideous eyes flamed at him – eyes which held all the stark horror which has been the heritage of man since the fearful dawn ages – eyes frightful and insane, with an insanity transcending earthly insanity. Expect some delightfully descriptive prose as protagonist Solomon Kane goes up against all kinds of natural and otherworldly threats and explores all manner of lost cities and forgotten catacombs, across continents. The stories are larger than life and sometimes unrealistic in the extreme, but what pulpy fun! Some poetry rounds everything off nicely. Howard pays quite a bit of tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs in these tales, and specifically the Tarzan tales. I could draw some parallels with La of Opar, in particular, in one of the Africa sequences. And terrible and hideous his laughter bellowed out until the noose broke it short and he hung black and silent in the red eye of the rising sun. It’s pretty dark stuff for the most part. I actually shelved it as both Horror and Fantasy since it does straddle the line. Expect human sacrifices and dark elder gods, among other things. That should whet your appetite nicely? The sun had gone down and night spread with amazing swiftness, as if great shadows came rushing down from unknown voids to cloak the world with hurrying darkness. Some of Howard’s plotting reflects the political views of the time, but the story rarely stoops to being deliberately non-PC. If you are one of the under-privileged few who have not yet read his work, it’s time to get cracking, especially if you enjoy genre fiction. Howards was, after all, a pioneer. ”Let us hence. This place is pregnant with evil for the sons of men.” And there it is. I've long been a fan but this was the first time I'd read the Solomon Kane stories. And that at my wife's recommendation. He was a man born out of his time – a strange blending of Puritan and Cavalier, with a touch of the ancient philosopher, and more than a touch of the pagan, though the last assertion would have shocked him unspeakably. An atavist of the days of blind chivalry he was, a knight errant in the somber clothes of a fanatic. A hunger in his soul drove him on and on, an urge to right all wrongs, protect all weaker things, avenge all crimes against right and justice. 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.

  3. 5 out of 5

    ✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)

    · Jovial Puritans R Us Buddy Read (JPRUBR™) with The Overlord and my Half-Barnacled Son · Actual rating: 3.565489758965664896213 stars. Super Extra Rigidly Austere Chirpy Solomon Kane ain't as deliciously sexey as My Barbarian Cutie Pie (he'd have to whack more puny humans on their little heads with beef bones for that. And to ditch most of his clothes. Which he would probably find repulsively repulsive. Because he’s ridiculously—and most unnecessarily—rigid like that) but he's got a pretty scrum · Jovial Puritans R Us Buddy Read (JPRUBR™) with The Overlord and my Half-Barnacled Son · Actual rating: 3.565489758965664896213 stars. Super Extra Rigidly Austere Chirpy Solomon Kane ain't as deliciously sexey as My Barbarian Cutie Pie (he'd have to whack more puny humans on their little heads with beef bones for that. And to ditch most of his clothes. Which he would probably find repulsively repulsive. Because he’s ridiculously—and most unnecessarily—rigid like that) but he's got a pretty scrumptious, um, ju-ju staff with a, um, cat-head and stuff, which is kinda sorta hot and stuff, so QED and stuff. Do you think I should dance to celebrate? I think I should dance to celebrate. So dance to celebrate I shall. You're welcome. ➽ Full review to come when pigs fly, chicken have teeth and crayfish whistle on the mountain top. Maybe.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stjepan Cobets

    The dark hero Solomon Kane leads us into the world of ancient secrets and the monsters that live in the jungles of Africa. With his loyal pistol, rapier and Ju Ju staff opposes the vampire queen, damned creatures, evil men, and evil that is hiding in the old cities and ruins. Always on the side of good, he helps those that attack these dark forces, although it often is in perilous situations, with his strength and mind destroy evil in its path. Writer story of Conan Robert E. Howard, in this boo The dark hero Solomon Kane leads us into the world of ancient secrets and the monsters that live in the jungles of Africa. With his loyal pistol, rapier and Ju Ju staff opposes the vampire queen, damned creatures, evil men, and evil that is hiding in the old cities and ruins. Always on the side of good, he helps those that attack these dark forces, although it often is in perilous situations, with his strength and mind destroy evil in its path. Writer story of Conan Robert E. Howard, in this book of the guide us through the character Puritan hero Solomon Kane that although brutal with his enemies, always was there to avenge poor and innocent people. Although Kane appearance fears evil, evil person is not afraid to attack him, but he has no mercy with the creature of darkness. All in all the stories in the book are interesting and the fantasy world of Africa where they are located. If you like Conan will surely love and Solomon Kane.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    I'd like to have been able to give this 5 stars but for various reasons I can only go 4. I first read this book in spurts some years ago. The stories and the character I've known for many ears. Having discovered Conan back in the dark ages of my youth I spent time searching out many of REH's works. Back in the late '60s and '70s there were many reprints and collections of stories based on Howard's work. I like Howard and I like most of his fantasy characters...though I never really got into his s I'd like to have been able to give this 5 stars but for various reasons I can only go 4. I first read this book in spurts some years ago. The stories and the character I've known for many ears. Having discovered Conan back in the dark ages of my youth I spent time searching out many of REH's works. Back in the late '60s and '70s there were many reprints and collections of stories based on Howard's work. I like Howard and I like most of his fantasy characters...though I never really got into his sports stories, westerns and so on. I suppose to "Howard purists" that may disqualify me as an actual Howard fan, but I'll try to bear up under the disappointment. Sigh. So, anyway having read Conan, Bran Mak Morn, Kull, etc. I also read Solomon Kane...and I like the stories. This book includes all the stories plus poetry and fragments of stories. I think possibly to the modern reader the style of the writing here may come across a bit florid. The long spooky speeches by wizards, witch doctors and so on can go on and on a bit. Still the stories are dark and full of blood tinged with black magic for our hero to battle. I do want to put a warning in here as I have to do for many books of the era and before. These stories are decidedly not PC and there are words and attitudes here that I'm sure some will find offensive. Be aware of that going in and take as you care to. I think most will be able to enjoy the stories as stories but the attitudes shown will be hard to take for some and will often have to be set aside. So, why 4 stars? Lots of nostalgia for me as I read these young but I find I'm not quite as enthralled by these as I was before. A bit sad I suppose. But still good book and good stories, sort of horror/action adventure if we need to tag them. :)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Werner

    Aug. 4, 2014 Best known as the creator of Conan the barbarian, pulp-era giant Robert E. Howard enriched literature with several other memorable series characters, including Kull, Bran Mak Morn, Dark Agnes de la Ferre --and Solomon Kane. This volume collects REH's entire Kane corpus: nine short stories, three narrative poems (one of which exists in two variant forms, both of which are included here), and four partially completed story fragments, of which we have the beginnings but not the endings. Aug. 4, 2014 Best known as the creator of Conan the barbarian, pulp-era giant Robert E. Howard enriched literature with several other memorable series characters, including Kull, Bran Mak Morn, Dark Agnes de la Ferre --and Solomon Kane. This volume collects REH's entire Kane corpus: nine short stories, three narrative poems (one of which exists in two variant forms, both of which are included here), and four partially completed story fragments, of which we have the beginnings but not the endings. (The 1968 posthumous collection Red Shadows, published by Donald M. Grant, was almost as comprehensive, lacking only one fragment and having only one version of the poem "Solomon Kane's Homecoming;" but only 896 copies of that collection were ever printed.) Seven of the stories were published in the years 1928-1932; the other two, and all of the poems and fragments, were first published posthumously. The selections are arranged mostly in terms of how they appear to fit into the fictional chronology of Kane's career; the geographical settings range from England to France to sub-Saharan Africa, and the time period is the late 16th century (my initial impression was 17th century, but REH establishes the Elizabethan date in a couple of selections). So far, I've read the entire book except for the story "Wings in the Night" and one version of the "Homecoming" poem. Kane is a brilliantly conceived and masterfully drawn character: a restless adventurer and world-class swordsman with a passionate hatred of injustice and cruelty, who's also a devout Puritan (though not a plaster saint). He willingly embraces a felt duty to protect the weak and innocent against the outrages of the strong, and will go the second mile (and third, fourth, and thousandth....) to implacably hunt down and punish those responsible for outrages that he comes across; he interprets this, in terms of his faith, as a divine calling, though the author suggests that the cause is already there in his psychological makeup even without the religious justification. (I completely disagree with reviewers who regard this as a negative personality trait, and find no justification for their position. Yes, he's as tough as nails, and has the moral toughness to accept responsibility for taking human life on a regular basis without going insane. But he doesn't revel in violence or look for excuses to inflict it, doesn't convict the innocent, and has compassion even for the guilty; his moral indignation over atrocities that deserve it is real, not a pose, and he's as gentle with the innocent and victimized as he is ferocious with the victimizers. Personally, if I'm affronted by anybody's behavior, it's by those who murder, rape and rob for their own recreation and pleasure --not by those who seek to stop them.) REH himself had no particular religious beliefs that we know of, and no innate sympathy with those of his character, whom he often calls a "fanatic" (nor, probably, much real knowledge of what Puritans believed, given the fact that he has Kane address one villain as "offal of Purgatory"); so it's to his credit that he was able to present a deeply religious protagonist as sympathetically as he does. Howard's writing included both speculative and straight historical fiction, and both can be found here. Most of the completed stories (and one of the poems) have supernatural premises, but "The Blue Flame of Vengeance" (which was originally published as "Blades of the Brotherhood") and "The Moon of Skulls" are straightforward tales of action adventure, with the hero pitted against purely natural dangers. In the case of the story fragments, it's hard to tell how the author planned to develop any of them, because they're too short and incomplete (little more than a single page, in one case). In that sense, they can be frustrating. But they're also fun to read, as far as they go; and I'd love to see a modern writer complete them. I'll write more after I've finished the book, which I hope to do early next month! Aug. 22, 2014 I decided to finish this book, and review it, this week, since I was nearly done with it. Next week, I don't expect to have opportunity to write any reviews; so this schedule will slightly reduce the crush of reviews I expect will be ready to be written early next month. The story I read this time (slightly out of order) was "Wings in the Night." This one, though set in Africa, draws on Greek mythology and gives it a science-fictional rather than supernatural explanation. All of the completed stories are, IMO, well-crafted, with original and varied premises; capable plotting; excellent prose style (REH is one of a handful of writers I personally particularly admire as stylists, considered apart from any other quality of their writing); a solid good vs. evil theme, with a recognition that mankind's enemies are "the monsters in his own heart and without;" a strong, kick-butt hero I could like and admire, who makes sound moral choices and stands up for others; and the kind of exciting adventure, often supernatural jeopardies and violent action that draws me and other readers to pulp-style fiction in the first place. Kane's a very compelling, fascinating character (I actually like him better than Conan!) presented with intriguing glimpses of a rich back-story that it's a pity Howard didn't live to explore; and I appreciate the fact that the author treats the character's faith respectfully (though not very knowledgeably; Kanes's reflections in "Wings in the Night" about "evolution" would be unrealistic for a 16th-century Puritan). In the several stories set in the Africa of that day, Howard evokes the Dark Continent's physical setting much more realistically than Burroughs does in the latter's Tarzan series. The speculative fiction elements in several stories are a plus for me; but the common denominator of the tales is the action-adventure motif and the antique setting, which is reflected in my Goodreads shelving decisions. Since the African stories often bring Kane into contact with blacks, a word is warranted about Howard's racial attitudes and language; the latter is at times definitely insensitive, and the former were shaped by the Darwinist pseudo-science of his day, which was unashamedly racist. (Virtually all of the insensitive language is in REH's own narrative voice, not Kane's dialogue.) One reviewer took special exception to the observations near the end of "Wings in the Night," with the comment "the dark-skinned peoples fade" and the paean to the indomitable fighting prowess of the "Aryan barbarian." Howard also has a tendency to treat his non-European characters (including the Semitic stocks in the fragment "The Children of Asshur") as part of a mass that blindly shares a tribal or ethnic "national character," rather than as individuals who have their own qualities and make their own moral decisions. All of these attitudes are particularly part of the "science" he learned in school. Anthropologists of that day expected the "less fit" races to die out, and saw the Aryan (especially Anglo-Saxon) stock as the fittest, destined to inherit the earth in good Darwinian fashion. They also subscribed to theories about "national character;" and glorified the warrior tradition of the historic Aryan cultures as a societal ideal of manliness. It's important to note, though, that in practice, Howard's racial messages here are mixed. Not all of his black characters exhibit bad traits, and some exhibit perfectly positive ones. The shaman N'Longa, whom Kane comes to respect and appreciate as a friend and ally, is a figure who's subversive of both the writer's and the readers' racism. Kane recognizes his common humanity with the blacks, and never treats them invidiously; indeed, he'll fight for them as readily as for whites. And his attitude toward the slavers in "The Footfalls Within" is as justly morally outraged as the reaction of any of us would be. Another word is in order about Howard as a poet. This is actually my first real experience with his poetry, and this is only a tiny sample of what was actually a considerable body of work. But on the basis of it, I'd say he was a poet of first-rank ability, who hasn't gotten nearly his due from the critical community (big surprise --NOT!). My reaction is influenced by the fact that I prefer rhymed and metered poetry (which his is) to free verse, and particularly like poems that tell stories, as these do. But even apart from that, I think these poems are wonderfully evocative of real emotion, and have a genuine aesthetic quality. I'd rate them with the best early 20-century poems I've read. Gary Gianni is credited here as the illustrator. His black-and-white drawings (a few full-page) which pepper the text enhance it greatly; but his role here was actually apparently that of originator and editor of the book, and he did a great job in that. A couple of other features add to the collection's value for Howard fans: Lovecraft's "In Memoriam: Robert Ervin Howard," reprinted from Weird Tales, and a "Short [14-page] Biography of Robert E. Howard" by Rusty Burke. This latter doesn't add to the picture presented in Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard by Mark Finn; but it would be a good introduction for those who haven't read the Finn book. (To me, the six pages of notes on the textual criticism of the stories weren't of interest, and I skipped that section; but it would be useful for serious Howard scholars.) If you're a Howard fan, a fan of classic pulp-era adventure, or just a reader of adventure fiction in the classic mold, written with taste and skill, this is one story collection you shouldn't ignore!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    “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.” “Such was Solomon Kane,” indeed. This book rocks. As much as I’d like to try and sound clinical about this—screw it. I’m not a litera “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.” “Such was Solomon Kane,” indeed. This book rocks. As much as I’d like to try and sound clinical about this—screw it. I’m not a literary critic, I’m just a guy who loves to read, and loves fantasy in particular. I already knew I liked REH after I finished the Coming of Conan the Cimmerian, but this collection really cinched it for me. The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane is a collection of short stories and poems that focus on Howard’s other, not-quite as well-known hero, Solomon Kane. Kane is everything that the quote above suggests, and then some. I actually find him to be a pretty interesting character, in that he is so full of contradictions, and also in that he’s remarkably self-unaware. In one of the earliest stories of the collection, Kane is traveling through England, where he comes across a dying girl, the sole survivor (for about five minutes) of a bandit attack on her village. She dies in Kane’s arms. Kane proceeds to wage a long guerilla war against the bandits, until it at last comes down to him and their leader. The two duel, and the leader escapes, and flees to AFRICA. So Kane does what any vengeance-obsessed lunatic would do…and pursues him. There’s a wonderful moment where the bandit turns to him and asks him why he’s doing this…and Kane really doesn’t know. He just feels like it should be done. (Witchfinder General, you should read this book…) Most of the stories in this collection follow a chronology of a sort. Kane spends a great deal of time wandering in Africa, following some undefined and undefinable urge to explore. Along the way, he encounters all sorts of strange demons and beasts, some of which are almost Lovecraftian in their nature (Not too surprising. Howard and Lovecraft corresponded, and indeed, were friends.). There’s some neat poetry in the collection too, as well as a few story fragments that I believe have not been published before. Seeing the fragments is neat, all though some of them are so long, you wish Howard had finished the damn thing before he died.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Terence

    I’ve been reading Robert E. Howard’s Conan for 30+ years now. I remember – and still have – the Science Fiction Book Club editions edited by the late Karl Wagner and I think any consideration of the best fantasy writing has to include “Beyond the Black River” and “A Witch Shall Be Born,” at the very least, but I was never much interested in reading any of the non-Conan stories Howard wrote.* I was always intrigued, however, by what I heard about “Solomon Kane” – a Puritan soldier-of-fortune who I’ve been reading Robert E. Howard’s Conan for 30+ years now. I remember – and still have – the Science Fiction Book Club editions edited by the late Karl Wagner and I think any consideration of the best fantasy writing has to include “Beyond the Black River” and “A Witch Shall Be Born,” at the very least, but I was never much interested in reading any of the non-Conan stories Howard wrote.* I was always intrigued, however, by what I heard about “Solomon Kane” – a Puritan soldier-of-fortune who went around smiting the wicked. The idea of a fanatic, self-righteous, holier-than-thou Puritan slaughtering the heathen and the un-Godly sounded like such a “cool” idea. Recently, I had opportunity to utilize an Amazon gift card, and purchased Del Rey’s reissue of the Kane stories and… There’s nothing “wrong” with the stories and fragments in this collection (assuming one can get past the racism**) but there’s nothing really “right” either. In short, they’re kind of boring. The passion and fun found in the best of the Conan stories is singularly lacking in all of these stories, as is the introspection found in the Kull canon. And there’s far too much exposition; this is Howard clearly learning how to write a story so I can only recommend it to a Howard completist and will be gifting my copy to my brother this Christmas. * I read the Kull stories when I was in college but didn’t have the depth of imagination to really appreciate them, and it was only a middle-age reread that made me realize Howard’s largely unrealized potential as a writer worth remembering. ** The racism is not often worse than what you would find in much of the writing of the period (esp. in the pulps) but Howard does go way over the top in the last paragraphs of “Wings in the Night,” where he writes: Kane stood with the ju-ju stave in one hand and the smoking pistol in the other, above the smoldering ruins that hid forever from the sight of man the last of those terrible, semi-human monsters whom another white-skinned hero had banished from Europe in an unknown age. Kane stood, an unconscious statue of triumph – the ancient empires fall, the dark-skinned peoples fade and even the demons of antiquity gasp their last, but over all stands the Aryan barbarian, white-skinned, cold-eyed, dominant, the supreme fighting man of the earth, whether he be clad in wolf-hide and horned helmet, or boots and doublet – whether he bear in his hand battle-ax or rapier – whether he be called Dorian, Saxon or Englishman – whether his name be Jason, Hengist or Solomon Kane.” (p. 320)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    Since I've read half of this before as Skull in the Stars, I'll only be reviewing the complete stories I've yet to read, no fragments. Hills of the Dead: Solomon Kane and N'Longa go up against a group of vampires in some remote hills. Carnage ensues. It's been a couple years since I read one of the Solomon Kane stories. Howard's Puritan adventurer is quite a bit different from Conan but still quite good. The staff N'Longa give Kane to use proves to be invaluable and I loved the way the vampires wer Since I've read half of this before as Skull in the Stars, I'll only be reviewing the complete stories I've yet to read, no fragments. Hills of the Dead: Solomon Kane and N'Longa go up against a group of vampires in some remote hills. Carnage ensues. It's been a couple years since I read one of the Solomon Kane stories. Howard's Puritan adventurer is quite a bit different from Conan but still quite good. The staff N'Longa give Kane to use proves to be invaluable and I loved the way the vampires were dealt with in the end. While I enjoyed this tale of vampires in Africa quite a bit, the racism of the time is quite apparent. Wings in the Night: Solomon Kane runs afoul of a cannibal and gets drawn into a situation involving harpies. As with the previous story, the harpies are quite gruesome and Kane dispatches them ruthlessly. It's almost more horror than fantasy. The Footfalls Within: Kane gets captured by slave traders. More info about his staff is revealed before the caravan runs across an ancient tomb with something malevolent trapped inside... Once again, Howard throws Kane into a horror story, this time an ancient evil from the time of Solomon. Of the three stories I hadn't yet read when I picked up this volume, this was probably my favorite. While I like Solomon Kane more than Kull and Bran Mak Morn, I still prefer Conan. Still, Kane's stories are chilling adventures, more akin to horror than fantasy. If you can stomach casual racism of the time they were written in, they're quite good.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Malum

    Much like Sapkowski's Witcher, Solomon Kane is a character that I like the idea of (and playing video and rpg games about) more than I like actually reading about. I think the problem might be the fact that, as these kinds of stories try to mix horror and fantasy, they tend to be a bit slower and have more build up than your traditional Conan tale. Also, compared to some of Howard's other creations, Kane seems rather bland to me (and that's saying a lot because, as much as I love the work of Rob Much like Sapkowski's Witcher, Solomon Kane is a character that I like the idea of (and playing video and rpg games about) more than I like actually reading about. I think the problem might be the fact that, as these kinds of stories try to mix horror and fantasy, they tend to be a bit slower and have more build up than your traditional Conan tale. Also, compared to some of Howard's other creations, Kane seems rather bland to me (and that's saying a lot because, as much as I love the work of Robert E. Howard, no one can accuse him of making super deep characters). Regardless, these aren't bad stories at all and many of them are actually quite good.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Britton

    “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.” In discussions of weird fiction, most would know of the names of HP Lovecraft or Robert E Howard. They are, afte “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.” In discussions of weird fiction, most would know of the names of HP Lovecraft or Robert E Howard. They are, after all, probably the most well known writers from the pulp era. But I still find it rather mystifying that it is Lovecraft, and not Howard, who is celebrated as the master and the best of the pulp weird writers, despite the fact that Howard surpassed Lovecraft in terms of tone, character, and plot. Now that's not to say that Howard hasn't found his place. He's certainly gained cult status among the fantasy community as one of its innovators and its finest writers, but he hasn't been fully given his due and it's quite a damn shame as he's proven himself to be capable of writing moody, atmospheric stories that also have a sense of adventure and wonder to it as well. It had been a while since I last read Howard, I read a few of the Conan stories as well as some of Solomon Kane's stories when I first started trying to broaden my fantasy tastes and try to move away from the Tolkien/Lewis model, as much as I enjoy them and many people were pointing towards Howard as a rival for Tolkien (in fact, Tolkien said he 'rather liked' the Conan stories) as well as the greatest writer of fantasy asides from him, so I decided to give him a shot. It's safe to say that I was pleasantly surprised to find a writer with a command of mood and atmosphere, and though he can admittedly get repetitive, he proves himself to be a phenomenal writer of the fantastic. I always found Solomon Kane to be a more interesting character than Conan, not that Conan isn't meticulously developed or not interesting, but it's more for personal taste. I like enigmatic characters, characters that have a sense of danger to them and are unpredictable, again not saying that Conan isn't all of that. If I could compare the Puritan to anyone, it would be The Punisher, though unlike Frank Castle, there's no underlying motive that defines his cause, no family that he lost, though in Howard's superbly written Solomon Kane's Homecoming, we capture a glimpse of the man underneath the force of nature, which suggests that perhaps he began his quest to vanquish evil because of a lost loved one. But, instead of usually marking it as a flaw in the book, I'd say that this mystery regarding Kane's motivations in fact enhances Kane's character, it would be a bit of a let down if we were given a full on explanation on who or even what Kane is and why he acts the way he acts, it's like he's a heroic version of Judge Holden, though he's not a demon and not as evil as the judge. We can only wonder who Kane is and why he decided to do what he does, and I think that enhances the stories. Howard's poetry also proves to be quite good, while I wouldn't say that I'm that into poetry, Howard does show a knack for it. He's not quite as lyrical as Clark Ashton Smith, nor as frustratingly verbose as Lovecraft, but Howard's poetry is very much in his own voice, bringing a sense of melancholy and sensitivity, while also having an aura of mystique and suspense revolving around it as well. Gianni's art remains delightful to the eye, he brings a scratchy, almost sketch-like style to the book while also bringing the sense of verve and adventure that befits Howard's style. I do wish that he did more of the Del Ray Howard books, because he brings his characters to life in the way that Howard had envisioned them, but oh well, I'll count my blessings on the books that he did illustrate under the Del Ray label. There are flaws in the book, as there's no such thing as a perfect work. Howard's stories, especially by the end, do begin to feel tedious and repetitive and some of his depictions of other cultures can be rather insensitive at best, though to Howard's credit, he does make sympathetic minority and women characters, such as his show stealer character and the closest thing that Kane has to a friend in N'Longa, who often serves as a foil for Kane, with his signature wit and witticisms to be opposite of Kane's Byronic moodiness, though I will say that Howard's work isn't for the politically correct, now I'm not one of those snowflakes who gets offended by everything, so it doesn't particularly bug me. But if it bugs you, and it pains me to say it, just don't read it. But if you can grow a spine, have fun reading it. That also brings me to another plus to Howard's work, that even his negatives can be looked at as positives, such as how his stories can be tedious or repetitive, it doesn't mean that they're bad by any means, and even with his questionable portrayal of minorities, he does make sympathetic characters that are minorities. At the end of the day, I still see that Howard is the best of the pulp writers, but it's not even that he's a great pulp writer, he's just a great writer in general.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    Executive Summary: This was a disappointment. I signed up to review this for SFF Audio trying something I wouldn't have read otherwise, but I mostly found myself bored. Audio book: Paul Boehmer does a pretty good job here. I'd listened to him before with the Night Angel Trilogy, and enjoyed him again with this book. He does some voices for the various characters. I think if this collection had a bad reader I would have stopped before the end. Full Review I don't normally seem to enjoy older wor Executive Summary: This was a disappointment. I signed up to review this for SFF Audio trying something I wouldn't have read otherwise, but I mostly found myself bored. Audio book: Paul Boehmer does a pretty good job here. I'd listened to him before with the Night Angel Trilogy, and enjoyed him again with this book. He does some voices for the various characters. I think if this collection had a bad reader I would have stopped before the end. Full Review I don't normally seem to enjoy older works of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and unfortunately, things were no different here. I was never a Conan fan growing, so I'd never read any of Mr. Howard before. The audiobook collection stars with an obituary or memorium written by H.P. Lovecraft with whom Mr. Howard apparently corresponded. Mr. Howard is probably best known for his character Conan, but Solomon Kane is often credited as the first "Sword & Sorcery" character. In this collection of stories Solomon Kane fights Pirates, Ghosts, Vampires, Sorcerors, Harpies and more. Solomon Kane wields daggers, pistols a sword, and in later stories, a magical staff. Sounds like it would be great! Unfortunately I was mostly bored. The best story of the bunch for me was The Children of Asshur, which was only a fragment and therefore ends somewhat abruptly. I would have liked to see where Mr. Howard intended to go with that story. There are certainly things to like here. The writing isn't bad and the adventures are certainly varied enough, but it just seemed like not much really happens most of the time. And then there is the racism. You can pull out the usual excuses, when the book what written, or the fact that the racism portrayed is probably accurate to the characters themselves. That doesn't change the fact for me that it kept pulling me out of the stories. It's not in every story, but is present in most, especially those where Solomon Kane travels to Africa. Many times it seemed like an unnecessary aside, rather than an important plot point for or character motivation. All and All, as I believe these stories are in public domain you might be better off picking one or two to check out rather than the whole collection. I think the best complete story was The Hills of the Dead where Kane first gets his magic staff and fights a horde of vampires. 2.5 Stars

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    Standard Howardian disclaimer first: Robert E. Howard was living in a small town in Texas in the 1920s & 30s and writing, very quickly, for pulp magazines, so his stories sometimes feature ... suboptimal portrayals of people of other races & ethnic backgrounds, and ditto portrayals of women (if any). Which, given that Solomon Kane is a "Puritan adventurer" circa 1600 AD, wouldn't seem like it would be an issue, but several of Kane's adventures take him to the heart of Africa, an Africa that would Standard Howardian disclaimer first: Robert E. Howard was living in a small town in Texas in the 1920s & 30s and writing, very quickly, for pulp magazines, so his stories sometimes feature ... suboptimal portrayals of people of other races & ethnic backgrounds, and ditto portrayals of women (if any). Which, given that Solomon Kane is a "Puritan adventurer" circa 1600 AD, wouldn't seem like it would be an issue, but several of Kane's adventures take him to the heart of Africa, an Africa that wouldn't be out of place in a "jungle adventure" book or movie of the time, but which has little or no relation to the actual continent and its actual inhabitants at the time. All that said, these are generally pretty great stories -- grim and moody and sombre, and in most cases although Solomon Kane is (as is typical for Howard's protagonists) strong, powerful and a dab hand with (in this case) a rapier or a flintlock, the tales themselves actually play out as horror stories, as Kane encounters such entities as vengeful skeletons, vampire hordes, or flying bat-things who remind me of nothing so much as the critters in the movie Beastmaster (although (spoiler!) in the Beastmaster movie they're not entirely malevolent). And, of course, there are also plenty of very bad men who go down to red ruin beneath Kane's thundering flintlocks or smashing fists or flickering blade.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jean-marcel

    I love these stories. In many ways, Kane seems the most dangerous of all of Howard's strong, brooding warrior creations. He's driven not by gold nor sex nor fame, but by a strange fire within his soul that makes him believe he is on an eternal, righteous quest. He feels with his heart the difference between right and wrong, and he acts upon those feelings with the cold, implacable drive of the religious crusader and fanatic. In many ways, I think he's pretty insane. It is his insanity that parti I love these stories. In many ways, Kane seems the most dangerous of all of Howard's strong, brooding warrior creations. He's driven not by gold nor sex nor fame, but by a strange fire within his soul that makes him believe he is on an eternal, righteous quest. He feels with his heart the difference between right and wrong, and he acts upon those feelings with the cold, implacable drive of the religious crusader and fanatic. In many ways, I think he's pretty insane. It is his insanity that partially keeps him alive in the most hostile of places, like the jungles of deep Africa where much of this stuff is purported to take place. Oh, there are the usual Howard clichés here: helpless ladies who throw themselves at Kane's feet, dark-skinned natives that are either bestially evil or, more often in these tales of seventeenth century Africa, depicted as noble savages. But, and I don't want to sound like an apologist here (mostly because I think it's not necessary), it's all done with so much gusto and zeal that the very pages seem to breathe an awesome fire. When Kane describes the nature of his "quest" burning in him, you feel it too, and I at least can't help but stop reading for a second and simply marvel at the heaviness of the words. Sometimes, Kane himself seems to be overwhelmed, and he being a wanderer in a strange land with no friends at all, the reader can't help but identify with that. Talking of friends though, how about N'Longa? One of the most interesting characters Howard ever created, this voodoo priest says he can wear bodies like clothing. he talks in a crazy and hilarious patois that seems at least half put on for his own amusement. He teases Kane about his religion, his crusade and his stiff, dour ways, but ultimately calls him "blood brother" and helps him out, because they are working toward the same end most of the time. For Kane's part, we get the sense that he's so utterly wary of this "black magic" stuff, to the point of hysteria at times, but that he really desperately needs an ally and, if he doesn't exactly trust N'Longa, he has a grudging respect for him that perhaps turns into something greater by the time of "The Footfalls Within". Anyway, I wish this N'Longa character was in more stories, but even when he doesn't feature, as in "Footfalls", he plays a part in what I would term the spiritual growth of Kane. You see, while he begins as the ardent crusader who will hold no truck with paganism and considers it all the devil's work, by the time of the last story Kane has had a bit of a revelation, and his mind, ponderous though it may be, has had to come to accept that the pre-christian peoples may have had some pretty good notions about combatting evil themselves, and that there are more things in heaven and earth than he would have thought possible before he set out upon this great pilgrimage. There aren't many of these Kane tales, but just about all of them are pretty strong. I'm very partial to the trio of "Red Shadows", "Hills of the Dead" and "The Footfalls within", but "Wings of the Night" is a tragic take on one of Howard's favourite themes: the rise and fall of great, ancient civilisations, and the clash of races over a period of thousands of years. While Howard's conclusion ultimately seems to be that "this is the time of the white man because the past races have had their glory and have become degenerate", there is an unexpected poignancy and sadness in this realisation that you might not expect from Howard, the Man of Blood and Thunder and Triumph. While his ideas seem a product of race theories of the time, it's interesting to speculate on what kind of observations Howard might have made had he remained alive a few more decades and had a chance to travel the world and see, even if from a distance of milennia, some of the cultures and places which he so often wrote about. You can certainly tell Howard's never been in a jungle because according to him lions give the sleeping traveller restless nights by constantly roaring at each other! This put a smile on my face. I don't know why I'm so tolerant of his excesses and follies but sometimes I even feel a certain fondness for the man, and it is partially because of these very foibles. Whatever else you might say about Howard, you could never accuse him of not trying very hard, and reading him, one gets the sense of a man whose star could only rise higher and whose considerable talent was still only budding. Alas, despite a vast body of work pouring out of the man all through the late 1920s and early-to-mid-1930s, this was just not to be.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Greg (adds 2 TBR list daily) Hersom

    Dressed in black with the tall slouch-hat typical of Puritan fashion, and armed with sword, flint-locks, and, later, an ancient carved staff, Solomon Kane stalks the 16th century world from the remote reaches of Europe to the bloody decks of the high seas, and into the deepest, darkest African jungles. Whether it be a witch-cursed monstrosity, hell-spawned vampire, mutant throw-back, or just a wicked wretch of humankind, Solomon Kane will fight with equal determination and enthusiasm to see good Dressed in black with the tall slouch-hat typical of Puritan fashion, and armed with sword, flint-locks, and, later, an ancient carved staff, Solomon Kane stalks the 16th century world from the remote reaches of Europe to the bloody decks of the high seas, and into the deepest, darkest African jungles. Whether it be a witch-cursed monstrosity, hell-spawned vampire, mutant throw-back, or just a wicked wretch of humankind, Solomon Kane will fight with equal determination and enthusiasm to see good triumph. Robert E. Howard's tales are so alive, you almost have to check yourself for wounds. Between the lines broods an ancient feeling of melancholy that lends such realism to the writing. And the beautiful, sweeping illustrations in this book by the award-winning artist Gary Gianni bring that classical story-telling feel to the fore-front. As with all of Howard's heroes, Solomon Kane is larger-than-life, fearless, and inherited of an ancestral fighting prowess and unconquerable spirit. But Kane's adventures are the product of his fanatical obsession to root-out and destroy evil in any form. He seeks no personal reward -- only claims to do the will of God. However, despite his staunch Puritan faith, his inner demons are almost as dark as those he combats. He is a man of violence, filled with a wander-lust to seek out what he judges as evil with a determination and recklessness that is psychotic. What makes Solomon Kane so endearing to read is, on one hand, Solomon Kane is the archetypal swash-buckler -- much like a character from a Robert Louis Stevenson adventure story. On the other hand (probably the left because left-handedness was once thought to be of the Devil), Kane is as foreboding as what he faces -- most often horrors as nightmarish as anything Edgar Allen Poe ever created. Reading these stories in this format is like a journey back to my childhood -- when the jungles of an old Tarzan movie were more real than anything documented on the National Geographic channel, and when a horror-comic hidden in a text book at school would make me too scared to sleep that night. It reminded me of when I was too young to be allowed to read such violent and terrifying tales but did so anyway because I knew therein were hidden truths of adventures still left in this world that my parents didn't want me to know about.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mohammed

    Solomon Kane is the strongest, most interesting character i have read by Howard. Kane is perfect for his stories, his somber personality,style creates the weird atmosphere for the stories so seamlessly. There are not many Kane stories and they are not the most consistent collection of stories i have read by Howard. The minor stories are somewhat uneven. But stories like Red Shadows, Hills of the Dead, Wings in the Night is very hard to improve on when it comes to stark atmosphere, quality storie Solomon Kane is the strongest, most interesting character i have read by Howard. Kane is perfect for his stories, his somber personality,style creates the weird atmosphere for the stories so seamlessly. There are not many Kane stories and they are not the most consistent collection of stories i have read by Howard. The minor stories are somewhat uneven. But stories like Red Shadows, Hills of the Dead, Wings in the Night is very hard to improve on when it comes to stark atmosphere, quality stories in the realm between fantasy,horror. The high quality stories overshadow the more flawed stories like Moon of the Skulls. The prose of Howard was more crisp,toned down in that it wasnt too colorful and thats why i enjoyed these stories so much. His prose style and Solomon Kane stories was a perfect fit. Personally its a bonus to read and enjoy his creepy,hellish African settings for some of the stories. Hills of the Dead with african vampires is a wonderful nightmare to read. Not many strong fantasy,horror writers using supernatural stories in that kind of setting.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    Skulls in the Stars: 4 stars The Right Hand of Doom: 3 stars Red Shadows: 5 stars Rattle of Bones: 4 stars The Castle of the Devil: 4.5 stars Death’s Black Riders: 3.5 stars The Moon of Skulls: 2.5 stars The One Black Stain: 3.5 stars The Blue Flame of Vengeance: 3 stars The Hills of the Dead: 3 stars Hawk of Basti: 2.5 stars The Return of Sir Richard Grenville: 3 stars Wings in the Night: 3 stars The Footfalls Within: 5 stars The Children of Asshur: 2 stars Solomon Kane’s Homecoming: 2.5 stars More of a 3.5—th Skulls in the Stars: 4 stars The Right Hand of Doom: 3 stars Red Shadows: 5 stars Rattle of Bones: 4 stars The Castle of the Devil: 4.5 stars Death’s Black Riders: 3.5 stars The Moon of Skulls: 2.5 stars The One Black Stain: 3.5 stars The Blue Flame of Vengeance: 3 stars The Hills of the Dead: 3 stars Hawk of Basti: 2.5 stars The Return of Sir Richard Grenville: 3 stars Wings in the Night: 3 stars The Footfalls Within: 5 stars The Children of Asshur: 2 stars Solomon Kane’s Homecoming: 2.5 stars More of a 3.5—the collection was great fun, yet unfortunately somewhat uneven—but I have to round up due to the sheer brilliance of the character himself. A somber Puritan warrior who dispatches evil with pistol and rapier (and at times even a crazyass juju staff)? Yes please.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nate

    SPECIAL DRUNKEN HALLOWEEN REVIEW EDITION!!!!!!!!! God...it pains me, but this was disappointing. Disappointing to the point of aggressive boredom, even. I really like Howard, which is why I put this review off for months. I mean...I WANT to say I liked it as much as his Conan stuff, but I didn't. I don't think it just comes down to the choice of protagonist, either. Conan is certainly more likable with his "gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth" as the author would put it. That single descript SPECIAL DRUNKEN HALLOWEEN REVIEW EDITION!!!!!!!!! God...it pains me, but this was disappointing. Disappointing to the point of aggressive boredom, even. I really like Howard, which is why I put this review off for months. I mean...I WANT to say I liked it as much as his Conan stuff, but I didn't. I don't think it just comes down to the choice of protagonist, either. Conan is certainly more likable with his "gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth" as the author would put it. That single description alone of Conan by the author made him easily more interesting than the dour, perpetually unamused puritan Solomon Kane. Yeah...this character is a puritan. For those who are unfamiliar, the term "puritan" in this sense refers to the people who were too strict and forlorn for even the Catholic church at this point, so I mean...it gives you a good idea of how fun this fucking guy is gonna be. He's dressed like a pilgrim, too...I'm not really sure how Howard came to the idea of the character in the first place, but you gotta give him credit for creating such a weird action hero. Kane's nature means that he's never gonna be involved with any kind of romance lest he break his grim-faced principles, so that does away quite nicely with the romance trope of the era (and many of those that follow.) He's just a grim, ever-advancing enemy of all things evil. It's fun, but not in a sustained setting. Despite all of that, Kane is certainly handy with his rapier and flintlock pistol and there's plenty of hack-slash-and-shoot action for those who are into that sort of thing. There's also a strong occult/fantasy/horror element to these stories, which is always fun if not up to well-gelled standard of the Conan stories. Unfortunately, these are neither as well-written nor as varied as the Conan stuff. Listen, I know I've harped on the "Conan is better" thing long enough at this point, but like a third of these stories felt like dumb, racist Howard "AMONG THE AFRICAN SAVAGES" stuff. They weren't interesting in any particular way. I'm sure people from the 20s were interested in stories featuring shit like "the dark ghost" and stuff like that but it just does nothing for me as a non-idiotic 21st century human. Despite all of my complaining, at least a noticeable chunk of these stories were fun amalgamations of the adventure/horror/historical genre, and being short stories were always easy to digest. I forget the publisher at the moment, but they really have done a good job with these editions, packing lots of unreleased material as well as tons of awesome illustrations into these relatively unassuming-looking paperbacks. Obviously with the Kane stuff there's not an actual lot of content so they have to fill things out here and there, and they do that admirably. If you want to explore Howard's writings these are the people to do it with. It's just a shame that I wasn't bowled over with this one.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Thomas

    As always, I read a short story between each novel. This time around it's been Robert E. Howard's The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane, a complete collection of all the Solomon Kane stories in one volume. Robert E. Howard, of course, is best known as the creator of Conan, but he was a prolific author during his short life, creating several other notable protagonists. Del Rey has re-published the works of Robert E. Howard in beautiful trade paperback sets that include his complete works. They leave t As always, I read a short story between each novel. This time around it's been Robert E. Howard's The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane, a complete collection of all the Solomon Kane stories in one volume. Robert E. Howard, of course, is best known as the creator of Conan, but he was a prolific author during his short life, creating several other notable protagonists. Del Rey has re-published the works of Robert E. Howard in beautiful trade paperback sets that include his complete works. They leave them un-edited, just as Mr. Howard wrote them and include unpublished story fragments, poems, etc. They are also nicely illustrated and really draw the reader back to the era in which they were first published, the era of the pulp magazines like Weird Tales. As for Solomon Kane...“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.” A great character from the pulp era indeed

  20. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    A very strong and grim character. You will love his adventures!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jared Millet

    Solomon Kane is arguably Robert Howard’s most original creation. Most of his others were boxers, cowboys, or barbarian kings, but 16th century Puritan swordsman Kane stands alone. Of all Howard’s characters he’s certainly the most selfless – but more than that, he’s an obsessive fanatic willing to scour the ends of the earth righting wrongs, which most of the time involves avenging the death of people who are total strangers to him. Unlike Conan or Kull, Kane seems to have no desires for himself Solomon Kane is arguably Robert Howard’s most original creation. Most of his others were boxers, cowboys, or barbarian kings, but 16th century Puritan swordsman Kane stands alone. Of all Howard’s characters he’s certainly the most selfless – but more than that, he’s an obsessive fanatic willing to scour the ends of the earth righting wrongs, which most of the time involves avenging the death of people who are total strangers to him. Unlike Conan or Kull, Kane seems to have no desires for himself, other than to walk the earth and kick ass. The stories in this volume are all good, rip-roaring pulp adventures; my only warning is that they haven’t aged as well as Howard’s other work because of the racism that comes through in the writing. Let’s lay it out there: Howard was a Southern white guy from a small Texas town in the beginning of the 20th century. Of course he was racist. So were my grandparents, and (I suspect) many other writers of the era who are held in high reverence. However, whereas many writers of the day simply avoided having black characters appear in their stories at all, Howard takes Kane on an odyssey across Africa, and his portrayal of its inhabitants does not hold up to modern scrutiny. In a few instances the Africans are portrayed as villains, but more often they are the victims who Kane protects from oppressors. Nevertheless, Howard for the most part depicts them as a “lesser race.” Whenever Kane encounters the ruins of ancient civilizations in Africa, they are always the work of non-African peoples, such as Atlanteans or Assyrians. The only black character who is portrayed as anything approaching Kane’s equal is the West African shaman N’Longa – but that character falls into the old “magical Negro” stereotype (google it) and is the exception rather than the rule. The Solomon Kane stories do shine with originality and some of Howard’s best poetry, but every now and then he drops a race-bomb, such as this passage from the otherwise fantastic story “Wings in the Night” – …the ancient empires fall, the dark-skinned peoples fade and even the demons of antiquity gasp their last, but over all stands the Aryan barbarian, white-skinned, cold-eyed, dominant, the supreme fighting man of the earth… (slaps face and shakes head) So – a good and necessary read for the Howard fan, but not the place to begin for newcomers.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andy Howell

    Alright, I'm just going to list some things... Puritan avenger with Thankgiving pagent hat, white socks, and buckle shoes. Twin flintlock pistols. Broadsword beheadings. Pirates vs. Puritans. Naked over-sexed ebony skinned Satan-worshiping jungle princesses. Ruined jungle cities. Zombies. A Lovecraftian demon imprisoned by King Solomon. Need I go on? True pulp if there ever was. This volume collects all of Howard's Kane stories, including the unfinished drafts. Beautiful artwork as well. Alright, I'm just going to list some things... Puritan avenger with Thankgiving pagent hat, white socks, and buckle shoes. Twin flintlock pistols. Broadsword beheadings. Pirates vs. Puritans. Naked over-sexed ebony skinned Satan-worshiping jungle princesses. Ruined jungle cities. Zombies. A Lovecraftian demon imprisoned by King Solomon. Need I go on? True pulp if there ever was. This volume collects all of Howard's Kane stories, including the unfinished drafts. Beautiful artwork as well.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    This is written in a similar style, but it misses a lot of the fun factor of Conan.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carol Storm

    Some great swordplay and very strong historical background on Puritan England, the buccaneers, and the era of Queen Elizabeth. A lot of the "noble white barbarian" propaganda is offensive and embarrassing. If Howard had lived longer, maybe he could have done a full length Solomon Kane novel set in Germany or even in the Mediterranean. But the African stories are too much like Tarzan, and not in a good way. Some great swordplay and very strong historical background on Puritan England, the buccaneers, and the era of Queen Elizabeth. A lot of the "noble white barbarian" propaganda is offensive and embarrassing. If Howard had lived longer, maybe he could have done a full length Solomon Kane novel set in Germany or even in the Mediterranean. But the African stories are too much like Tarzan, and not in a good way.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Ahh, Solomon Kane. One of Robert E. Howards' other great creations, along with King Kull, Bran Mak Morn, and of course, Conan. So, where to begin? Solomon Kane is basically a bad-ass who is also really religious, in the Puritan sense (which means really hardcore). He knows how to fence, he knows how to lose it and go into a mad rampage where his vision is red with bloodlust, he knows how to be methodical and plan, and he's a damned good shot with a musket ball pistol. Most of all, he is perhaps Ahh, Solomon Kane. One of Robert E. Howards' other great creations, along with King Kull, Bran Mak Morn, and of course, Conan. So, where to begin? Solomon Kane is basically a bad-ass who is also really religious, in the Puritan sense (which means really hardcore). He knows how to fence, he knows how to lose it and go into a mad rampage where his vision is red with bloodlust, he knows how to be methodical and plan, and he's a damned good shot with a musket ball pistol. Most of all, he is perhaps one of Howard's most stubborn characters - once he gets fixated on something or, more specifically, someone (and usually that means he's set on killing said individual), he'll cross oceans, continents, and go through jungles, mountains, and anything else that doesn't kill him in order to get his man. Conan was able to, from time to time, know when to call it quits and get the hell out of Dodge, usually when the ancient temple to forgotten gods was falling down around him, or when the elder god of utter, unspeakable darkness du jour was killing everyone else around him and he had no personal reason to try and fight and kill it. If Solomon Kane was a bounty hunter, he'd probably even give the legendary Boba Fett a run for his money, if it came down to sheer tenacity for following his quarry. Don't worry, Kane doesn't let the religion thing get in the way of his being God's instrument of justice upon the evil and the vile by, as he says, "parting men's villainous souls from their earthly bodies" (or something like that). What's important to note is that he does stick by his moral code, even when he knows it's going to possibly get him killed. He just has a drive to right wrongs and defend the helpless that simply will not quit. However, in a nod to Howard's ability as a writer, Kane is not a "static" character. While he is "puritan", over time he changes his attitudes towards things, usually after crazy-assed hair raising experiences involving the supernatural, the dead, the undead, the dying, the occult, or the paranormal. Perhaps the best example of this shift and change in her character is his meeting N'Longa, his blood-brother (and not by choice), who then gifts him with an ancient weapon. In the beginning, Kane is reluctant to even have it around him but for some reason feels compelled to keep it. Yet as time goes on, Kane's attitude towards the other magics and religions (and, as an extension of such, cultures) of the world changes and he becomes more accepting of them, and in the end, even accepts them as tools in his arsenal to fight against evil and injustice. While he still openly distrusts them, he is no longer so opposed to their existence. Yet the whole time he does not carry the whiff of "superior, civilized European" - instead, he seems more a wild animal that has somehow been tamed by society yet, when placed back in his element, has a chance to revert to his natural state. The only MAJOR issue I have, sadly, is that there was so much promise (in my opinion) for this character but the stories that are in this volume are pretty much all that was written for Solomon Kane by Howard. Right when you feel he's starting to build and develop as a character, his run is over and he's consigned to literary limbo.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    Anyone who knows me can tell you I am a Robert E. Howard fanatic. I think I always have been, since back in the Roy Thomas, Marvel Comics days. I actually read the comic books before I read the Conan novels. Solomon Kane came along to me many years later, in the form of some collected short works and eventually comic books. I was in love all over again, with a man who wrote during a very short few years in the 1920's and 1930's. Just a snapshot here, but Howard was a man who claimed he didn't ha Anyone who knows me can tell you I am a Robert E. Howard fanatic. I think I always have been, since back in the Roy Thomas, Marvel Comics days. I actually read the comic books before I read the Conan novels. Solomon Kane came along to me many years later, in the form of some collected short works and eventually comic books. I was in love all over again, with a man who wrote during a very short few years in the 1920's and 1930's. Just a snapshot here, but Howard was a man who claimed he didn't hardly have a choice to write his stories. He felt Conan the Barbarian was standing behind him, making sure his words were correct and earnest. This is something that you don't hear from writers at all, and the style of his writing shows it. Solomon Kane is a Puritan swordsman, a warrior of God who was not always a pious and God-fearing man. He has a history as a killer and reaver, a heathen and villain. He came to know God and feared him and his works, and hated those who delved into the Black Arts, witchcraft and sorcery. Those who communed with shadowed forces and black hearted magicks were always to be his enemy. This illustrated book is the complete works of Robert E. Howard, including short stories and even fragments and alternate tales, such as the tale of Kane's homecoming. It is indeed the full lineage of Howard as pertains this character, and is lovingly and beautifully illustrated by Gary Gianni. I found this at a local used book store and couldn't believe my luck in finding it. Within these pages we have Solomon Kane fighting all over Europe against sorcery and the black hearts and vile acts of truly evil men. We also read as Kane travels to the Dark Continent of Africa, has strange and terrible adventures there, making life long friends, some even witch doctors and magick makers. He uses the Staff of Solomon, given to him by a black blood brother of a long lost tribe. One would think this would be anathema to one such as Kane, and yet he carries the carved cat's head staff across Africa, dispatching evils and destroying otherworldly creatures from foul dimensions that Man should never come across. He fights blood drinking and flesh eating cannibals, as well as winged demon-men who have destroyed an entire tribe of African natives. Kane wins through, always. It is never orderly, nor pretty, his battles but he makes it through on faith and by the iron strength of his lean and powerful body. Many are the tales depicted here, in story form, poem and almost song. I can honestly say that I have read everything available concerning Solomon Kane, and I am better for it. This was truly a pleasure and I recommend anyone to read this and put yourself in another time and place, where evil reared its ugly head and the simple man of God was able to survive and defeat it. What a ride..... Danny

  27. 4 out of 5

    Todd

    This book is a compilation of all the Robert E. Howard Solomon Kane stories. This volume also contains fragmented stories, a biography of Howard (by Rusty Burke) and an "In Memoriam" written by H.P. Lovecraft. These stories jump off the page. In fact, in my estimation, Robert E. Howard is the greatest short story writer to ever write. He can detail characters and create complicated plot lines in less pages than most well known writers can in full-length books. This book is a testament to that fa This book is a compilation of all the Robert E. Howard Solomon Kane stories. This volume also contains fragmented stories, a biography of Howard (by Rusty Burke) and an "In Memoriam" written by H.P. Lovecraft. These stories jump off the page. In fact, in my estimation, Robert E. Howard is the greatest short story writer to ever write. He can detail characters and create complicated plot lines in less pages than most well known writers can in full-length books. This book is a testament to that fact. Solomon Kane is an earlier character of Howard's described as "a strange blending of Puritan and Cavalier, with a touch of the ancient philosopher, and more than a touch of the pagan, though the last assertion would have shocked him unspeakably. An atavist of the days of blind chivalry he was, a knight errant in the somber clothes of a fanatic. A hunger in his soul drove him on and on, an urge to right all wrongs, protect all weaker things, avenge all crimes against right and justice. Wayward and restless as the wind, he was consistent in only one respect—he was true to his ideals of justice and right." Howard places Kane in various lands, fighting to save various people from magical foes, indigenous enemies of strange lands, and righting wrongs were they need to be righted. As stated earlier, Howard's prose is direct but descriptive, fast paced, and captures the reader in ways no other writer can do. The work is illustrated throughout by artist Gary Gianni, adding to the story lines. If you have never read Howard, then my suggestion is start with Solomon Kane. But alas, my view is tainted with favoritism. Solomon Kane is my favorite Howard Character. I highly recommend this work.

  28. 4 out of 5

    John

    Solomon Kane is an interesting and unique enough character to make up for the fact that many of his adventures feel rather second-rate. The sad truth is that author Robert E. Howard passed away at the age of thirty, well before he had a chance to reach his full potential as a writer. Imagine if Stephen King had died at thirty...the world would have considered him a one-hit wonder with CARRIE. THE SAVAGE TALES OF SOLOMON KANE is no LORD OF THE RINGS, yet it's still pretty impressive coming from a Solomon Kane is an interesting and unique enough character to make up for the fact that many of his adventures feel rather second-rate. The sad truth is that author Robert E. Howard passed away at the age of thirty, well before he had a chance to reach his full potential as a writer. Imagine if Stephen King had died at thirty...the world would have considered him a one-hit wonder with CARRIE. THE SAVAGE TALES OF SOLOMON KANE is no LORD OF THE RINGS, yet it's still pretty impressive coming from a guy in his 20's. Solomon Kane is a great character, and I especially love the idea of a badass Puritan stalking evil-doers in the African jungle. Howard's prose is rich with menace and atmosphere, perfectly suited to the dark fantasy genre. WINGS IN THE NIGHT is my favorite of the Solomon Kane stories, and it's as dark and unsettling as anything by H.P Lovecraft. Other of Howard's tales fare less well, whether due to unintentional silliness, general implausibility, or an over-reliance on coincidence (which Howard explains as the hand of God in Kane's affairs). Regardless of their lack of literary sophistication, however, all the stories in this collection are fun and guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of any true lover of fantasy. My biggest complaint with THE SAVAGE TALES OF SOLOMON KANE is that it presents several of Howard's story fragments, rather than the completed versions in collaboration with author Ramsey Campbell. Personally, I hate story fragments and don't see the point of publishing them. Please either hire someone to finish them, or just exclude them from the collection entirely.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Arun Divakar

    Simple straightforward action, that seems to be the style of Robert Howard. No questions asked, in your face action sequences and characters. Solomon Kane for the uninitiated among you is a wanderer, a puritan, a fanatic who believes himself to be the right hand of a wrathful god. The stories are very enjoyable provided you switch your brains off and enjoy the roller coaster ride on the offering. It has all the marks of a racist writing wherein the dwellers of Africa are called as nothing but sav Simple straightforward action, that seems to be the style of Robert Howard. No questions asked, in your face action sequences and characters. Solomon Kane for the uninitiated among you is a wanderer, a puritan, a fanatic who believes himself to be the right hand of a wrathful god. The stories are very enjoyable provided you switch your brains off and enjoy the roller coaster ride on the offering. It has all the marks of a racist writing wherein the dwellers of Africa are called as nothing but savages and cannibals, the white man's burden of old.Solomon Kane goes from adventure to adventure in the moors of england, the jungles of Africa and on terrains so fantastic that it could only have come from a hyper charged imagination like Howard's. The most interesting parts are where Howard describes the action scenes whether Kane fights with blade or bullet, whether he battles men or beasts Howard describes them in unmistakable splendor. I was in fact enthralled with the action scenes in a book written so long ago, showing us why Howard was the master of the craft. Recommended for those who love quick,wild reads...don't insert logic and spoil the fun though !!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    I'm sure that Howard's fantasy was mind-blowing back in the 30s, but I get the sense that most people who praise him nowadays do so mostly out of nostalgia. I give him props for making his main character a hardcore Puritan who walks the earth righting wrongs and kicking ass. Otherwise I was pretty bored. I'm sure that Howard's fantasy was mind-blowing back in the 30s, but I get the sense that most people who praise him nowadays do so mostly out of nostalgia. I give him props for making his main character a hardcore Puritan who walks the earth righting wrongs and kicking ass. Otherwise I was pretty bored.

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