Saturday, April 23, 2011

19. Ace Conan #1.5, 'Rogues in the House' by Robert E. Howard.

From Hyborean Apocrypha

Having decided He didn't quite fancy sticking around in the western Hyborian nations Conan has headed south again. we pick up his trail in an unnamed border city somewhere on the Corinthian-Zamoran Border. Conan's pretty easy to find, he's doing time. Killed a lying scumbag of a priest/fence (aren't they all?) who along with a prostitute ratted him out to the cops.

But local weenie Murillo has a job for the doughty Cimmerian. He wants a man named Nabonidas bumped off, and thinks Conan can do the job. The reward will be a bag of coin and a fast horse to get him over the Zamoran Border. He also wants dinner. Conan escapes, gets his revenge on the trull by tossing her into a cesspit and goes on his way to see the man he's been paid to kill.

Conan arrives to find things are not as expected. Murillo is here for some reason, and is in a prison cell with Nabonidas. A third party's machinations are at work. The three agree to work together to escape, they then make their way through the mansion. They discover the interloper is none other than Nabonidas's semi-intelligent simian pet. Thak the ape-man.

Conan fights the ape man and barely manages to defeat him, and grappling with the idea that he didn't fight an animal but a man. Nabonidas is not perhaps a noble as Thak as he turns on Murillo and Conan. This leaves no choice but for Conan to follow through with the original bargain and kill Nabonidas after all. The two remaining men, Murillo and Conan leave the villa and head their separate ways.

Review -


What else is there to say about Rogues? This is a fantastic tale. It has some of the most memorable aspects connected with the Conan character. Namely clubbing the guard with a beef bone. The fight with Thak, and Conan's feelings afterwards are interesting and show an insight into the character. This tale along with 'Tower of the Elephant' and 'God in the Bowl' really do a lot to establish just what sort of man the Cimmerian is. It's really no surprise the Conan reprints did as well as they did. Say what you will about 'The Thing in the Crypt'.. but the whole book has been jam packed with good stories so far. The weakest being the 'Halls of the Dead'.. coincidentally the one that LsDC "Co-wrote".

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