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Beyond the Black River

Robert E. Howard

Book Overview: 

Conan the Barbarian is employed by one of the civilized countries to help in it's push to claim lands from the primitive Picts. The Picts are not excited about the idea however. Old gods and mythical creatures are called up by the Pict witches to contest the invading army and Conan finds himself battling for his life amid the blood thirsty hordes that include saber-toothed tigers, 40 foot long venomous snakes and a demon from another dimension who is intent on crushing him. The huge dog Slasher makes an appearance here and distinguishes himself so well in a doomed battle to delay their forces that Conan openly praises his courage and pledges that 7 Pict heads will roll in his honor.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Tiberias was a fool to start for Velitrium alone, and so close to dusk. But each one of the victims seemed to be smitten with madness just before doom overtook him. Look here; the signs are plain enough. Tiberias came riding along the trail on his mule, maybe with a bundle of choice otter pelts behind his saddle to sell in Velitrium, and the thing sprang on him from behind that bush. See where the branches are crushed down.

'Tiberias gave one scream, and then his throat was torn open and he was selling his otter skins in Hell. The mule ran away into the woods. Listen! Even now you can hear him thrashing about under the trees. The demon didn't have time to take Tiberias' head; it took fright as we came up.'

'As you came up,' amended Balthus. 'It must not be a very terrible creature if it flees from one armed man. But how do you know it was not a Pict with some kind of a hook that rips instead of slicing? Did you see it?'

'Tiberias was an armed . . . Read More

Community Reviews

From the father of the sword-and-sorcery genre, a very interesting and well-written short story. To be honest, I didn't have that much expectation going into the story. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised by the amount attention given to the writing (especially after The Skylark of Space), the p...more

Ето че гаврътнах и седмия том. Впечатленията ми накратко:

The Grisly Horror - Изненадващо слаб разказ, който би стоял по на място сред ранните произведения на Хауърд. Някакъв тип, бледо подобие на Соломон Кейн, спасява любимата си от зловещ негърски култ. Стилът е добър, но сюжетът и героите са ел...more

I've read many Conan short stories so far, and almost all of them follows the same pattern: cheesy, calculated plot with an entertaining value. This one is like written by another author, has a different atmosphere, a totally different outcome I used to, and far beyond pure entertainment and pulp...more

Conan was and will be one of my favorite fantasy characters. I 've read many of his stories and even more are yet to be read. The ultimate adventurer. Almost inhuman. Castaway by modern norms and political correctness. Though in my opinion he is neither sexist nor racist. He is the epitome of wha...more

Other Conan stories are filled with intrigue, betrayal, sexual tension, conflict, and heroism. This one is flat-out brutal.

It's an interesting one because Conan's basically multi-classed as a ranger, in this one. He even gets an animal companion. He also gets a male companion rather than his usua...more

Conan battles the savage Picts in an attempt to protect Aquilonian settlers who have established homesteads on the border of their territory.

This is one of Robert E Howard’s best stories, with powerful, evocative prose and a well-constructed frontier milieu. Howard had a life-long interest in his...more

This collection of long stories contains 4 Conan stories, including the under-appreciated “Jewels of Gwahlur” aka “The Servants of Bit-Yakin”. Like anything by Howard, it's worth the trip.

Included here also is the collaborative story “The Challenge from Beyond”, which Howard worked on with no l...more

For me the is THE Conan story. I loved it the most and yet nothing really happened in it.

This volume contains one of the best of all Conan stories, "Beyond The Black River". These stories are presented unedited as they originally appeared in the magazine. Highly recommended

One of Howard's better stories. Here, we follow Conan as he fights to defend a outpost from the local Picts who are none too pleased to have Aquilonians moving into their territory. The Pictish tribes have united, and with the help of a dark wizard, move to destroy the invading settlers.

The stor...more

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