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The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard Kindle Edition

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Length: 562 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The latest book in Del Rey’s program to collect the works of Conan the Destroyer’s creator includes more and better horror stories than even Howard’s staunchest fans may have previously believed existed. Here are more tales of Howard’s arguably finest creation, Solomon Kane, and more classic tales of nightmarish things lurking just around the corner on the way to school as well as jumping out at far-flung travelers even in such places as a somewhat pulpish Africa, where they would be expectable. Howard’s vivid depiction of lurking nightmare recalls his contemporary H. P. Lovecraft, and his equally fine use of regional settings makes one think of early Manly Wade Wellman. One cannot do more than sample this volume without deeply regretting Howard’s short career, nor that Conan of Cimmeria so completely and for so long overshadowed the rest of his creations. Add Greg Staples’ grim-toned illustrations, and the resulting volume is a desirable acquisition for any fantasy collection. --Roland Green


“For stark, living fear . . . what other writer is even in the running?”
–H. P. Lovecraft

“[Behind Howard’s stories] lurks a dark poetry and the timeless truth of dreams.”
–Robert Bloch

“Howard had a gritty, vibrant style–broadsword writing that cut its way to the heart, with heroes who are truly larger than life.”
–David Gemmell

“Howard’s writing seems so highly charged with energy that it nearly gives off sparks.”
–Stephen King

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1964 KB
  • Print Length: 562 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345490207
  • Publisher: Del Rey (October 22, 2008)
  • Publication Date: October 28, 2008
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001FA0JDC
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,774 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

(1906-1936) Robert Erwin Howard was born and rasied in rural Texas, where he lived all his life. The son of a pioneer physician, he began writing professionally at the age of fifteen. Howard killed himself in June 1936 when he learned that his beloved mother had fallen into a coma.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Charles Hoffman on November 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
Here, at last, is a hefty trade edition containing the bulk of Robert E. Howard's horror stories. Best known as an author of heroic fantasy, Howard was also a most able practitioner in the horror genre. The stories assembled here have heretofore been scattered about in a number of mass market paperbacks over the last forty years--two or three stories here, a half dozen or so there. It is indeed a blessing to get them all between two covers in a quality edition. Here is a volume that belongs in the core collection of every serious horror enthusiast.

Howard's horror stories fall roughly into several categories based on theme and setting. There are those with a regional southwestern setting ("The Horror from the Mound," "Old Garfield's Heart") as well as others set in the haunted piney woods region of the deep South ("Pigeons from Hell," "Black Canaan"). Memorable stories with a Celtic backdrop include "The Cairn on the Headland" and "Dermod's Bane." We also find tales of the horrid "little people" that abound in Celtic lore. Stories utilizing Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos include the memorable "The Black Stone" and adventures of occult researchers Conrad and Kirowan. Sometimes these categories overlap: "The Valley of the Lost" is a little people story with a US southwestern setting, for example.

Howard enthusiasts will debate, as we are wont to do, some of the inclusions and omissions to this volume. "Worms of the Earth" has already appeared in TWO other Del Rey Howard volumes. But then it is arguably Howard's finest story, and I dare say as good as any story written. It deserves to be as well known as "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Dunwich Horror." I wish I could get as excited over "Rattle of Bones," however.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jay on October 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
For the first time I'm aware of, a systematic effort has been made to collect the majority of R E Howard's work in the horror genre. Surprisingly given the sheer number of stories and poems here, the overall quality of the volume is quite high. Of course there are a few surprising omissions here. Skullface, Valley of the Worm, Cobra in the Dream, and Grisly Horror are unaccountably absent, as is Queen of the Black Coast, one of the more horrifying entries in the Conan series. I guess these were probably omitted because the book is rather lengthy although as above noted, the quality of the stories is quite high. Standouts here are Wolfshead, Black Canaan, Hoofed Thing, Thing on the Roof, Hills of the Dead, and Pigeons from Hell. The poems tend to have even greater moody atmospherics than the stories--not surprising given Howard's brilliance as a poet. Even the artwork is superb. Here though I have a major quibble. There simply isn't enough of it. While the previous entries in the ongoing Del Rey series of Howard's work were laden with artwork, this has one illustration at the beginning of each story and in some a full-page plate. While the artwork is beautiful and magnificently captures the spirit of the stories, several key scenes are missing although what we are presented with is simply amazing. (Personally I would have liked to see the artist's representation of that savage beauty, the Bride of Damballah, from Black Canaan.) Nonetheless despite my wish for more in this current volume, the book is well done and shows a broad swath of Howard's ability as a horror writer. I hope more are to come in this remarkable series of books.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By CB on October 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
Before I begin this review, I want to note that I have enjoyed Robert E. Howard's fiction for a number of years, first discovering the old Ace Conan paperbacks (with the Frazetta covers) back in high school. With that said, The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard is a grand showcase of Howard's prowess at writing a scary tale, though the quality of the stories featured herein varies from one extreme (fantastic) to the other (downright awful).

Here you will find a large number of tales, poems, and story fragments (only a few of the latter) in which Howard writes of werewolves, vampires, Lovecraftian horrors, sorcery, lost and abominable civilizations still grasping for life, and even traditional ghost and revenant yarns. It, however, is a mixed bag at best; included are two Solomon Kane tales, the most famous of the Bran Mak Morn stories ("Worms of the Earth"), his best-known horror tale ("Pigeons from Hell"), and many more. While it is not made clear by the book, careful readers will no doubt find that the stories are placed in this book as they were originally published - the quality of the writing, pacing, and action increases the further into the book you get.

It has been said that Howard's writing was often formulaic, and indeed you'll find this is the case with about 55% of the stories here; with some of them (most notably "The Hoofed Thing" and "The Noseless Thing") you can figure out the plot from the first couple of paragraphs. However, other stories ("Delenda Est," "The Thing from the Mound," for instance) are expertly written and showcase Howard's deep interest in history, both ancient and local.
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