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The sheriff sees a certain continuity between the events of the past night and things he knows about the history of the area.

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The house where Griswell and Branner sought refuge turns out to be the former dwelling of a proud, vain family called the Blassenvilles, who owned slaves and earned a reputation for cruelty right up through the Civil War. Miss Celia Blassenville gained particular notoriety for her abuse of a mulatto maid. Miss Celia allegedly tied the mixed-race girl fully naked to a tree and laid into her with a horsewhip, after which the girl quite sensibly ran away. Investigating further, Buckner and Griswell venture into the hut of a wise and aged black citizen named Jacob, who introduces them to the term zuvembie , a term denoting a supernatural being into which a person can transform through taking part in a certain occult ceremony.

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The purpose of becoming a zuvembie is to satisfy a deep thirst for vengeance. It knows neither relatives nor friends. It cannot speak human words, nor think as a human thinks, but it can hypnotize the living by the sound of its voice, and when it slays a man, it can command his lifeless body until the flesh is cold.

As long as the blood flows, the corpse is its slave. Its pleasure lies in the slaughter of human beings. In light of what Jacob has imparted, the sheriff decides not to charge Griswell. This may sound like a happy ending, but, in an inspired and devious touch, we learn that it was not the runaway mulatto girl who turned into the zuvembie that murdered Branner. Rather it was someone from a different socioeconomic caste—Miss Celia herself. There pines gave way to oaks and cypresses, bearded with gray trailing moss, and behind the cabin lay the edge of a swamp that ran away under the dimness of the trees, choked with rank vegetation.

A thin wisp of blue smoke curled up from the stick-and-mud chimney. Griswell is a blundering New England transplant.

However the villain of the story turns out not to be Joe Cagle at all, but a giant gorilla that has taken up residence in an abandoned house long associated in the minds of locals with weird rumors of suicide and murder. Again, an understanding of local history holds the key. The story is different from others in offering a non-supernatural explanation for what takes place.

The silent trees rose like basaltic walls about me, shutting out the stars. Except for the occasional eery sigh of the wind through the branches, or the far away, haunting cry of an owl, the silence was as absolute as the darkness. The moon was rising. A few moments later a large clearing opened and a gaunt dark building bulked against the stars. The Deserted House at last!

The moon glimmered evilly through the trees, etching out black shadows and throwing an illusive witch-light over the country.


Category:Robert E. Howard

He comes to believe that there may be treasures buried in the mound and someone may be trying to thwart his efforts to find them. As Brill digs around in the hope of finding treasure, it turns out that Lopez was wise to avoid the mound. While Howard on one level is a quintessential regional writer, on other levels he is a visionary who refuses to let any local identity or affiliation limit him creatively. The tale begins with the all too familiar scenario of a woman named Marjorie crying over the loss of her cat Bozo and wondering where Bozo could have possibly gone. John Stark, it turns out, is far more than the harmless recluse Michael assumed.

He is a deeply curious man who has turned to the occult to find knowledge and insight not available through his liberal arts education.

The Hour Of The Dragon by Robert E. Howard

The book offers handy instructions for the conjuring of demons. Indeed, Stark has gone far beyond dabbling in the occult and has used his arcane knowledge to conjure such a beast, which has feasted first on cats, then dogs, then babies.

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Having crossed that threshold, it cannot go back to eating animals. The Jim Garfield of the title is a frontiersman who sustained a near-fatal chest wound years before during a skirmish with Comanches. Garfield might easily have died. It turns out that the heart that sustains him was the gift of a Lipan Apache mystic, who was not only blessed with wondrous powers but also with the decency and magnanimity to insert a magically endowed organ and save someone he could easily resent.

In the present, Garfield and other locals have the ill luck to live in proximity to a lowlife named Kirby, who tries to threaten and bully his way out of paying off debts. During a climactic shootout with Kirby, Garfield finally receives a wound he cannot survive, at which point the Lipan Apache mystic who originally endowed him with the life-saving heart shows up to reclaim it. Howard also refutes charges of bigotry by casting a Native American as the hero of the story.

Howard , reminds us that Howard grew up in a time and place in America where, unfortunately, ugly and insensitive attitudes were common.

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While developing his literary talents, Howard also gained an increasingly broad-minded and tolerant view of other peoples and cultures. Finn sees this pragmatism as common, though unfortunately not universal. It is not going too far to say that in his later life Howard abhorred racism. The opening part of the story is a confession in the form of a letter from Gordon to his brother.

Gordon drinks and plays cards with his hosts until losing the last of his money. In a drunken rage, he fatally shoots Joel and Jezebel, but before the young woman dies, she puts a curse on Gordon. He goes on to suffer a series of freak accidents, which first draw sympathy but finally make people want to avoid him. It is perhaps deliberately unclear whether Falred finally succumbs to a ghastly supernatural force or to a freak accident brought on by a rush of panic.

The singer also happened to be a notorious cult leader. Playing the record unleashes forces of unspeakable evil. A young patient has murdered his shrink, a UCLA professor.

Robert E. Howard

Paperback , pages. Published March 1st by Wildside Press first published September 15th More Details Original Title. Other Editions 1. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Robert E. Howard Reader , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about The Robert E. Howard Reader.

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