For five centuries of Crusades, European armies of believers, fanatics, and mercenaries warred with the followers of the Prophet for control of Asia Minor and Palestine. From Jerusalem to Vienna, the frontier between West and East saw battle and bloodshed, treachery and butchery on a scale hitherto unknown and unimagined. The pageantry of medieval knighthood, the exoticism of the Orient, the ferocity of the invaders from the steppes, the mysteries of the seraglio, the rise and fall of great dynasties — these provided a real historical backdrop for some of Robert E. Howard’s greatest fiction.
This volume contains the complete Oriental stories by the creator of Conan the Barbarian and Solomon Kane. Some were published in Farnsworth Wright’s Oriental Stories between 1930 and 1934; others were left unpublished and are printed here in authoritative texts based on the author’s surviving typescripts; and still others, left unfinished at his death, are presented as suggestive evidence of the work he had yet to do. As this collection attests, no one else writes action stories with Howard’s fast-paced intensity or brooding moral outlook. Here, the fates of empires rest on the swords of exiles, vagabonds, and renegades; whether civilization will be annihilated by religious zealots or by bloodthirsty barbarians, who is to say?