Crimson Shadows (The Best of Robert E. Howard #1) - Robert E. Howard

Illustrated by Jim Keegan and Ruth Keegan.

Robert E. Howard is one of the most famous and influential pulp authors of the twentieth century. Though largely known as the man who invented the sword-and-sorcery genre – and for his iconic hero Conan the Cimmerian – Howard also wrote horror tales, desert adventures, detective yarns, epic poetry, and more. This spectacular volume, gorgeously illustrated by Jim and Ruth Keegan, includes some of his best and most popular works.

Inside, readers will discover (or rediscover) such gems as “The Shadow Kingdom,” featuring Kull of Atlantis and considered by many to be the first sword-and-sorcery story; “The Fightin’est Pair,” part of one of Howard’s most successful series, chronicling the travails of Steve Costigan, a merchant seaman with fists of steel and a head of wood; “The Grey God Passes,” a haunting tale about the passing of an age, told against the backdrop of Irish history and legend; “Worms of the Earth,” a brooding narrative featuring Bran Mak Morn, about which H. P. Lovecraft said, “Few readers will ever forget the hideous and compelling power of [this] macabre masterpiece”; a historical poem relating a momentous battle between Cimbri and the legions of Rome; and “Sharp’s Gun Serenade,” one of the last and funniest of the Breckinridge Elkins tales.

These thrilling, eerie, compelling, swashbuckling stories and poems have been restored to their original form, presented just as the author intended. There is little doubt that after more than seven decades the voice of Robert E. Howard continues to resonate with readers around the world.


  • Artist's Forward by Jim Keegan and Ruth Keegan
  • Introduction by Rusty Burke
  • The Shadow Kingdom
  • The Ghost Kings (poem)
  • The Curse of the Golden Skull
  • Red Shadows
  • The One Black Stain (poem)
  • The Dark Man
  • The Marching Song of Connacht (poem)
  • Kings of the Night
  • Recompense (poem)
  • The Black Stone
  • The Song of a Mad Minstrel (poem)
  • The Fightin’est Pair
  • The Grey God Passes
  • The Song of the Last Briton (poem)
  • Worms of the Earth
  • An Echo from the Iron Harp (poem)
  • Lord of the Dead
  • Untitled "You have built a world of paper and wood" (poem)
  • For the Love of Barbara Allen
  • The Tide (poem)
  • The Valley of the Worm
  • The Dust Dance: Selections, Version II (poem)
  • The People of the Black Circle
  • Beyond the Black River
  • A Word from the Outer Dark (poem)
  • Hawk of the Hills
  • Sharp’s Gun Serenade
  • Lines Written in the Realization That I Must Die (poem)


  • Robert E. Howard: Twentieth-Century Mythmaker by Charles Hoffman
  • A Short Biography of Robert E. Howard by Rusty Burke
  • Notes on the Original Howard Texts


  • Edited by Rusty Burke
  • Art Director: Marcelo Anciano
  • Typographer: Stuart Williams

The texts for this edition were based on Howard's original typescripts or the first published appearance if a typescript was unavailable.

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Release date: 2007
Genres: fantasy, short stories
Updated: August 19, 2021