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Eons of the Night [Paperback]

Robert E. Howard
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 April 1996
Dark eons ago, the Earth had other owners, and humanity's possession was won only after titanic battles waged by heroes alongside whom all but a few present day mortals would be insubstantial shadows. But no victory is final, and ancient gods and demons still jealously lurk outside the space and time we know, waiting to reclaim that which was taken from them.Yet heroes still live who have the courage to face the most terrifying powers of darkness: drowned men who refuse to stay dead, men who transform themselves into killer wolves, demons summoned from other realms of existence by the blackest sorcery, and the evil gods themselves. Heroes who face dangers beside which mere death is a triviality - and yet fight on with a valor fully equal to that of the titans who strove against darkness at the dawn of time!

Product details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (1 April 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671877178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671877170
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 10.4 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 260,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pulp fiction at it's best. 5 Aug 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book contains ten short stories of the supernatural adventure vein. There is also an excerpt of a letter from REH to HP Lovecraft that is very enlightening. Sadly , the book starts out with possibly my least favorite of all the stories in this volume. Thank heavens the rest of the book is classic pulp fiction done right. The very classic "Twilight of the Grey Gods" is included in this volume (#5) of Baen's REH Library. Also in this volume are some of the great racial memory yarns like "Garden of Fear" and "Marchers of Valhalla." There is also Howard's first published short story "Spear and Fang." Two tales of one of Howar's lesser creations, the modern sea village of Faring town, are also herein along with the cult-status yarns of DeMontour the werewolf. All in all , this is one of the better collections of Howard stories currently in print.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Some of Howard's less famous heroes 28 May 2006
Format:Paperback
Most of the tales in this volume are in 1st-person; however, the reader would do well to remember that sometimes stories may chronicle a *deceased* narrator. For one thing, the style I refer to as "flashback/present" involves a present-day narrator who, in the midst of the present-day story, recalls a dramatic story of a past life, which (while complete in itself, as a story) fills in background for the present story. Some stories end in tragedy, some in triumph - and others in both.

"The House of Arabu" (a.k.a. "The Witch from Hell's Kitchen") - As in many Howard stories, the protagonist is a northern warrior far from his birthplace: Pyrrhas, an Argive warrior serving as general of mercenaries in Nippur. Since he burned Anu's temple, no priest will help when the night spirit Lilitu marks him for prey. Pyrrhas extracts a name from his mistress, Amytis, of one who might help: Gimil-isbi, an apostate priest turned diabolist. But did pain bring the truth out of Amytis, or did she lay a trap for hate of Pyrrhas?

"The Garden of Fear" - Flashback/present, courtesy of James Allison's remembrance of a past life. (In this life, a riding accident left him with the need to live in the past.) As Hunwulf, the narrator once fell in love with Gudrun, and the pair fled from the vengeance of the Aesir tribe after Hunwulf slew Gudrun's promised mate for her sake. Having fled across terrain that no one less desperate would attempt, they fancied themselves safe when they reached a peaceful little village on the far side of the mountains. They didn't understand the villagers' signs of distress at their intention of travelling further south, not sharing a common language - until the assault of a winged fiend, and its kidnapping of Gudrun, made their fears all too plain...
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read Fantasy Stories 7 Sep 2002
By Jeffrey Leach - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Robert Howard, author of the short stories collected in "Eons of the Night," is best known for creating the Conan stories. Howard was so successful with Conan that countless authors are writing new stories using the ideas Howard left behind after committing suicide decades ago. But Howard also wrote lots of short stories that are as memorable as anything he ever wrote using Conan as a character. If the collection of stories in "Eons of the Night" is any indication, Howard's suicide robbed fantasy fans of a truly brilliant writer on par with Lovecraft and others in the genre.
In "The House of Arabu," a pre-Nordic warrior wanders into ancient Sumeria and confronts a horror beyond time and space. A curse laid against him for killing a priest leads him to the Sumerian underworld, a rather unpleasant place filled with the spirits of the deceased and other strange beings.
"The Garden of Fear" is set in some unknown time millennia ago. Again, a pre-Aryan warrior and his woman confront a flying beast hiding out in a tower in the midst of a field of flesh eating flowers. This is one of the better stories in the collection. Hunwulf, the warrior, figures out a clever way to get to the tower to save his woman. This is an entertaining story that should have been expanded into a bigger tale.
"The Twilight of the Grey Gods" is the story of how the Irish threw out the Scandinavian invaders at the battle of Clontarf. The "Grey God" refers to the Norse deity Odin, who makes an appearance or two during the course of the story. The battle sequences in this one are phenomenal.
"Spear and Fang" is arguably the least interesting story of the lot. In this short tale, Howard takes us all the way back to the age of Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal man. The Cro-Magnons are winning the battle of evolution, but the Neanderthals are still hanging on by hiding out in the forest and attacking the Cro-Magnons whenever they get the chance. Surprisingly, this is a love story, albeit one of the strangest ones ever written. Romance authors have nothing on Robert Howard!
"Delenda Est" is a quick story set in the later days of the Roman Empire. The barbarians are running amok and Rome is in a precarious position. A delegation of Goths is on their way to Rome when a ghost out of the past pays a visit. It seems this ghost is a famous Carthaginian with an old grudge against Rome, and he is determined to see Rome punished for its sins.
"The Marchers of Valhalla" is fantastic. This story alone is worth the price of the book. Texas is the unlikely setting of this story, although it is a Texas none of us would recognize. Delving far back into prehistory, Howard introduces a band of pre-Nordic warriors who travel the world in search of battle and plunder. When they reach the city of Khemu, they discover a city that needs help fighting off an invading army and find a goddess locked in a local temple. The action scenes are again excellent in this tale.
"Sea Curse" and "Out of the Deep" are two stories about a fishing village that experiences scenes of supernatural horror, as a curse finds its mark and a resurrected corpse wreaks havoc on the town.
"In the Forest of Villefere" and "Wolfshead" are werewolf stories involving the same character. In "Wolfshead," an estate on the coast of Africa is the scene of unbridled carnage as a werewolf stalks the halls of the mansion. The natives get restless and go on the warpath against the European settlers. Considering the shortness of the stories, these two really pack a punch.
Robert Howard is sometimes compared with H.P. Lovecraft, an author with whom Howard sometimes corresponded. There are a lot of differences between the two writers, however. Lovecraft's stories employed intricate prose to convey deep terror, while Howard's prose is quite simple. Lovecraft relied heavily on the Cthulhu mythos as sources of evil (Howard did write some Cthulhu stories, but he wrote outside that area more often), while Howard seems to focus more on human characters. While there are a few differences, the similarities are striking. Both writers are able to fill their stories with a pervasive sense of doom, and both resort to the equation "ancient times = horror."
Howard deserves a place on any fantasy or science fiction fan's bookshelf. Be warned that some of Howard's musings seem to have a supremacist tint to them, probably due to the time frame in which Howard wrote them (1930's) and the place in which he wrote them (the American South). Still, Howard is as worthy of adoration as Lovecraft is, and to avoid Howard is to miss out on some great, entertaining stories.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pulp fiction at it's best. 5 Aug 1998
By keith138@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book contains ten short stories of the supernatural adventure vein. There is also an excerpt of a letter from REH to HP Lovecraft that is very enlightening. Sadly , the book starts out with possibly my least favorite of all the stories in this volume. Thank heavens the rest of the book is classic pulp fiction done right. The very classic "Twilight of the Grey Gods" is included in this volume (#5) of Baen's REH Library. Also in this volume are some of the great racial memory yarns like "Garden of Fear" and "Marchers of Valhalla." There is also Howard's first published short story "Spear and Fang." Two tales of one of Howar's lesser creations, the modern sea village of Faring town, are also herein along with the cult-status yarns of DeMontour the werewolf. All in all , this is one of the better collections of Howard stories currently in print.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some of Howard's less famous heroes 7 April 2002
By Michele L. Worley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Most of the tales in this volume are in 1st-person; however, the reader would do well to remember that sometimes stories may chronicle a *deceased* narrator. For one thing, the style I refer to as "flashback/present" involves a present-day narrator who, in the midst of the present-day story, recalls a dramatic story of a past life, which (while complete in itself, as a story) fills in background for the present story. Some stories end in tragedy, some in triumph - and others in both.
"The House of Arabu" (a.k.a. "The Witch from Hell's Kitchen") - As in many Howard stories, the protagonist is a northern warrior far from his birthplace: Pyrrhas, an Argive warrior serving as general of mercenaries in Nippur. Since he burned Anu's temple, no priest will help when the night spirit Lilitu marks him for prey. Pyrrhas extracts a name from his mistress, Amytis, of one who might help: Gimil-isbi, an apostate priest turned diabolist. But did pain bring the truth out of Amytis, or did she lay a trap for hate of Pyrrhas?
"The Garden of Fear" - Flashback/present, courtesy of James Allison's remembrance of a past life. (In this life, a riding accident left him with the need to live in the past.) As Hunwulf, the narrator once fell in love with Gudrun, and the pair fled from the vengeance of the Aesir tribe after Hunwulf slew Gudrun's promised mate for her sake. Having fled across terrain that no one less desperate would attempt, they fancied themselves safe when they reached a peaceful little village on the far side of the mountains. They didn't understand the villagers' signs of distress at their intention of travelling further south, not sharing a common language - until the assault of a winged fiend, and its kidnapping of Gudrun, made their fears all too plain...
If this one appeals to you, see also Howard's "Wings in the Night" in _Solomon Kane_, and Marion Zimmer Bradley's _Falcons of Narabedla_.
"The Twilight of the Grey Gods" (a.k.a. "The Grey God Passes") - One of Howard's depictions of the battle of Clontarf, beginning well before the battle. See also "The Cairn on the Headland" in _Beyond the Borders_, in which the aftermath of the battle is remembered (somewhat differently) in a flashback.
"Spear and Fang" - Often Howard depicts humanity as under siege from other species who once owned the Earth - the snake-people fought by Kull, for example. His treatment of this theme is much less supernatural than that of his friend Lovecraft, but if you like one, try the other as well. In this tale, a Cro-Magnon tribe lives in a forest haunted by monstrous Neanderthals, although neither tribe, of course, uses those terms. The maiden A-ea fears far more than rape when she's captured and borne away through the forest.
"Delenda Est" - The Vandal conqueror Ginseric and his people are faced with the same problems the Romans had when they conquer Carthage: a small knot of aliens ruling a huge area, too small a group to really change the fundamental character of the place. When a mysterious Carthaginian stranger comes aboard, though, he seems more concerned with Ginseric's dealings with Rome than the taking of his native city.
"Marchers of Valhalla" - Really cool flashback/present, courtesy of James Allison - another tale of one of the migrating tribes of Aesir, this one (an all-male warband) having crossed the ancient land bridge across the Bering Strait to finally reach an area that would later lie near (possibly under) the Gulf of Mexico. When they reach the city of Khemu, the younger men are happy enough to spare it in exchange for food and women. But are the people of Khemu really as accomodating as they seem?
"Sea Curse" - When John Kulrek raped Moll Farrell's young niece, he and his crony Lie-Lip Canool feared no retribution - as the roughest sailing men in Faring Town, they knew no man dared bring them to account, even when the girl's drowned body came ashore, a suicide. Even when Moll, as the local witch, cursed them to their faces, that each would be the other's death, and that the sea that took her girl would not have them, they only laughed and boarded ship for a long voyage. How can she bring the curse home to them, now that Lie-Lip has returned alone and Kulrek jumped ship at Sumatra, a world away?
"Out of the Deep" - Another Faring Town story. Adam Falcon sailed at dawn, only to be washed ashore at dusk, drowned. But rather than kiss him one last time in farewell, his promised bride Margaret shrieks that this is not Adam. Is this merely the horror of a woman at her lover's death, or has she seen what others have not?
"In the Forest of Villefere" - The swordsman de Montour, bearing news of a treaty to the duke of Burgundy, travels both by day and night, even through the forest, despite villagers' tales of bandits - and worse. Meeting a masked stranger, Charles le Loup, after taking a wrong turn, de Montour learns not only the track to Villefere, but something that will change his life forever after.
"Wolfshead" - Dom Vincente da Lusto was an unusual man, who founded his trading empire not in his native Portugal, but on an estate (complete with castle and warehouses) hacked out of the African coast. Once a year, he invited companions from Europe to make merry, once including the narrator as well as his own mink-faced cousin Carlos, and a swordsman of Normandy, de Montour. Something strange was in the air: de Montour, one of the few guests to remain sober, asked certain revellers to bar and bolt their doors in the night. What would attempt to force not only the doors of young women but tough swordsmen?
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