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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

This is a collection of three of Howard's classic Conan stories: Beyond the Black River, Shadows in Zamboula, and the titular story, along with Howard's often-reprinted essay, The Hyborian Age. The stories were edited back to Howard's original versions by Karl Edward Wagner, who contributes a very i

Valeria of the ??Brotherhood??

I am seeing a lot of passive voice so far from Howard. Passive voice can be used effectively as a tool. It's best used when a character is riddled with doubt, or otherwise weak willed, or in a vulnerable position etc.

Passive voice in a Conan story, inappropriate. If How

I devoured Howard's books as a teen. This is my first re-read of one in maybe 40 years. And I confess to being very pleasantly surprised.

Written in 1920s-1930s, Howard is the foundation upon which modern epic fantasy, particularly dark fantasy, is based. Howard's Conan and King Kull, and other seria

It makes sense that this is one of the highest regarded Conan stories. It has a subtleness in its violence and brutality that is just a step beyond that of many of the other stories. The language is pulpy but well-honed, and the is an extra touch of the uncanny in the setting and the narrative. Vale

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

This is my favorite Robert Howard story that I have read, and I've read it multiple times. Its a real pleasure and a great escape. A sense of place and darkness permeates Robert Howard stories, old decayed civilizations, remnants from a distant past lurk in jungles, etc. This story is a good place t

Real solid story. I appreciate the addition of the strong female co-main, Valeria, who is on the run after killing her would-be rapist.

Red Nails was the last Conan story Howard ever wrote. Weird Tales, the magazine that published most of his stuff, was behind in payments to the tune of $1500, which

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

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