Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #1
Publisher: Dark Horse
Cover: Esad Ribic
From the resourceful mind of Robert E. Howard comes Savage Sword #1! This book contains five stories inspired by Howard himself, but rewritten by such greats as Roy Thomas, Paul Tobin, and more!
The first story, “Conan and the Jewels of Hesterm,” by Paul Tobin, is a fantastic story of two thieves that get more than they bargained for when they try to steal the fabled Queen’s Breath Gemstone. Needless to say, they run into demons and all sorts of beings that protect the gem. Where is Conan during this robbery? At a local tavern using his machismo to bag a babe, where else? Great story and art in this one and you definitely want more at the last page.
Next, we have “John Silent: The Earthbound Dead,” by Scott Allie. This is a character I’m not at all familiar with, but the artwork grabbed me right away and sucked me into this one. The main character, John Silent, has possession of a certain book, and wants to sell it badly. For some strange reason though, every time he gets close to selling it, the buyer winds up dead. Very intriguing angle with this story for sure.
Thirdly, we have “Six Guns and Scimitars: The Wild West in the Middle East,” by Mark Finn. This tale follows a man named El Borak (A.K.A. Francis Gordon) who teams up with a gunfighter called the Sonoma Kid, and they get into all sorts of adventures in Afghanistan. The adventures seem to mirror the days of the wild west, but instead of Native Americans, you have warlords and tribesmen. I’m not really into this type of story, but I can see the way it can get readers to keep coming back with the adventure aspect of it.
Next up is “Dark Agnes,” by Mark Andreyko. This is a story that starts out with a big burly guy entering a pub and demanding anyone that knows where to find Dark Agnes to speak up. A man in the corner tells him that he knows of her, and the two start to talk over some ale. By the end of their talk, Dark Agnes is standing over the man ready to strike, but the door is knocked down by reinforcements for the burly guy. Seems like a good read, and definitely worth the time.
Finally, we have “Worms of the Earth,” by Roy Thomas. This was my favorite story next to the Conan one, for sure. The story starts out with a man being crucified by a Roman soldier. A man in the crowd is thought to be a mere servant to the King of a neighboring kingdom, but in reality, he is King Bran Mak Morn! The King is a Kull or Conan type guy that vows to do whatever it takes to avenge this foul act. He basically makes a bargain with a witch to unearth a horror that has been kept at bay for years to exact revenge on those responsible for crucifying his countryman.
All in all, I’d give the book 3.5 out of 5 stars. The Conan story was great, as was the Bran story. Dark Agnes was good too, but lacked some oomf. John Silent was also pretty cool, and the mystery behind the book is very interesting. So my advice is that if you love fantasy books like Conan or Kull, definitely pick this up, it’s a must have!