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Red Nails

Robert E. Howard

Book Overview: 

Conan the Cimmerian pursues the beautiful and deadly pirate Valeria after she kills a Stygian only to find himself cornered by a dragon. Apparently this dragon doesn’t know who he’s messing with. The pair then encounters the city of Xuchotl with its warring factions and ancient secrets. Swordplay and sorcery ensue. – Red Nails is Howard’s final Conan story and was published in the July, August, September and October 1936 issues of Weird Tales magazine.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .If only the wind stays down——"

They stole on until the trees began to thin out ahead of them. Behind them the forest was a black impenetrable ocean of shadows. The ominous crackling still sounded behind them, as the dragon blundered in his erratic course.

"There's the plain ahead," breathed Valeria. "A little more and we'll——"

"Crom!" swore Conan.

"Mitra!" whispered Valeria.

Out of the south a wind had sprung up.

It blew over them directly into the black forest behind them. Instantly a horrible roar shook the woods. The aimless snapping and crackling of the bushes changed to a sustained crashing as the dragon came like a hurricane straight toward the spot from which the scent of his enemies was wafted.

"Run!" snarled Conan, his eyes blazing like those of a trapped wolf. "It's all we can do!"

Sailor's boots are not made for sprinting, and the life of a pirate does not. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I have to say that I very much enjoyed this story. There's a lot of early east Texas cultural baggage to get past. Once I did, I enjoyed the primal adventure, sensuality, and moral inhibition of of this very well put together Conan story.

Robert E. Howard had a complex and contradictory consciousness

Being a gigantic fan of all things fantasy, I am a big fan of the sword and sorcery. Never having read any of the Conan novels, but being a fan of the movies, I decided to read these books.

They certainly come out of a different era, but the fantasy elements of the lovable swashbuckler are still awes

This was my first foray into the world of Conan, and boy, what a trip! As I finished the story, I laughed at how little there was to actually take away from it (as in, nothing) but- that's okay. Comically racist and sexist, the story is a great adventure all the way through. Now, I just have to fi

My very first foray into the realm of Conan the Barbarian. A few things stood out for me.
1. The mood and the setting had a tremendous feel. Howard is not just some pulp fiction author - he really knew his craft.
2. Conan was far more literate than I ever expected. Probably the result of seeing the Co

In my opinion, one of the strangest Conan stories ever written, and one of the best. Sure, the character development is pathetic, but who cares? A completely enclosed city, factions of the same tribe at war with one another, engaged in a violent competition, gorgeous women in loin cloths, a despot k

I had the pleasure of first reading the Conan stories in the order Robert E. Howard wrote them, which provided a peek into the mind of a profoundly troubled man. Conan was the last major character he created, and towards the end of Howard's life, the world of Conan became progressively more bleak an

Robert E Howard's last Conan story. Loved the eerie setting, as Conan battles foes and monsters alike in an ancient, dead city where the last remnants of rival feuding clans linger among the splendor and riches of ages long past.

If Howard produced a final draft, this may have become his, "Stairway to Heaven." Presumably created while he suffered from crippling depression caused by the declining health and eventual death of his Mother, compounded by a time of unsatisfactory relations with women generally, it's surprising th

About a year ago, at a library book sale I ran across some collections of Conan stories, which were edited by Karl Edward Wagner. These were labeled as “Authorized.” I didn’t pay much attention to that, because I thought I had read pretty much all of the Conan stories back in high school. And I may

This is my 3rd Conan story to read and it is by far my favorite. I’d heard of Red Nails before, but didn't know anything about it. What I found was an adventure that cements Howard title as a Sword & Sorcery master.

Here we find Conan and his companion Valeria (Those familiar with the 1982 movie wil

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