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on 22 June 2009
Robert Howard's work is often described as "pulp" and left at that. Such a description misses out the energy, story-telling ability and knack of creating scary and horrible images that Howard frequently shows. "Graveyard Rats" and "Pigeons from Hell" show this excellently, both classics of the genre. The tales might have been written in the 1930's but they still scare and bite. However, coming from that era, the sexual and racial politics are more than a little dated, but most readers who just want good tales fluently told will be satisfied with this collection.
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on 11 June 2015
Super swift postage - a great item at a great price - a thoroughly recommended Amazon seller.
I most certainly will use again.
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on 2 September 2011
Robert E Howard nowadays is more known for Conan than anything else, so it may surprise some to find he took a hand to horror stories too.

As has already been said, these are pulp stories and of their time, so modern readers need to be aware what to expect. They share a lot of influences with HP Lovecraft (not that surprising as they were in long-term correspondence with each other when alive).

And a lot of the stories here have a similar feel to HP Lovecraft, evoking cosmic horror and weirdness rather than dwelling on gore. Like any collection, some stories are better than others, and inevitably there were a couple that were disappointing or didn't stand the test of time.

I particularly like The Black Stone which featured Tsathoggua that Clark Ashton Smith created. The eponymous story, The Haunter of the Ring, also saw the return of one of Conan's enemies, Thoth-Amon.

In fact the stories do provide hints of links between the Hyborian Age of Conan, and the cosmic weirdness of HP Lovecraft, and you can imagine them forming part of the same universe. I would recommend to fans of either Conan, Clark Ashton Smith or Lovecraft, or to those who like 'weird tales' in general.
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on 24 January 2011
Those used to Howard's sword and sorcery adventures like Solomon Kane and Conan, will probably be surprised by just how subtle and economical he can be when writing horror.Some of these stories rival Lovecraft, if not in atmopshere then in suspense and sheer horror.I found quite a few of the tales to be reminiscent of the great Ambrose Bierce, mainly those centred in America.
One tale in particular; The Black Stone; is nothing short of terrifying. An obvious nod to Lovecraft and his 'mythos' this one evokes a real sense of cosmic horror. Tsathoggua, an entity which is often regarded as comical or even sometimes as cute (see Clark Ashton Smith), is absolutely horrifying in this one.

"And the thought recurs to me--if such a monstrous entity as the Master of the Monolith somehow survived its own unspeakably distant epoch so long--what nameless shapes may even now lurk in the dark places of the world?"

Fans of Lovecraft should certainly buy this book, as well as fans of Howard.
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on 21 April 2013
Mah gawd Robert, let go!

I can get over the racism that's present in Howard's and Lovecraft's works, mostly because that was a different era with different ethics, but in this collection, Howard's acting like an autistic racist kid whose only reason to live is to write stories about humans and "subhumans" and how the latter must be exterminated. He is so insisting in almost every single story contained in here, it certainly becomes annoying by the final story. I admit that while that was present in his other character stories, it was never as prevalent as this... overdose contained in this book.

Mind you though, that didn't cost the book any stars (although it should have). The stories themselves did cost it 2, since they really can't stand next to his other characters (such as Conan, Kull, Kane etc). I don't regret buying this book, but I was expecting more and I didn't really get that. Well... there were stories that were worthy and enjoyable (even if they also ended up being "well, you are not Aryan, but you are OK" at times), but as a book I feel a bit disappointed.
Mind you, this is strictly my opinion and you may actually like the book, should you be able to forgive the "unpolished" nature of its stories.
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on 23 August 2015
A hugely diverse collection of weird fiction by the grand master of quick-paced, erudite pulp fiction. Haunter of The Ring: And Other Tales is a truly magnificent collection, and its influence is clearly felt today; (clearly many unspectacular screenwriters have been filching from Howard for years!) Interestingly, these stories are less Lovecraftian than I was initially led to believe; the full-blooded, steel-thewed thrust of Conan and Solomon Kane is more evident, which, for me, is an absolute boon; but the palpably eerie stories therein that were suggestive of the Mythos were absolutely outstanding.
Howard himself claims that he wasn't best equipped for writing Gothic horror, but I sincerely feel that this sublime collection wholly belies that fact; suggesting to me that it was a great shame indeed that he didn't write any more tales darkly befouled by the dreaded learning of Friedrich Wilhelm Von Junzt's'Unaussprechlichen Kulten'; his malefic tome ably translated by Lovecraft himself as 'Nameless Cults'.
Howard's supremely vivid imagination is highly sensual and seemingly limitless in scope; his fabulously exhilarating Canon is replete with some of the finest genre writing of all time; and yet, I sincerely feel that he hasn't received his due by the absurdly myopic literary cognoscenti.
This is one of those infernally rare books that I didn't really want to finish; since Howard's tremendous ability to grip me from the first page is only equaled by Clark Ashton Smith.Robert E. Howard was blessed with a rare talent; clearly a writer's writer; but outside of that, Howard had a genuinely uncanny ability to make the utterly preposterous and wholly bizarre appear entirely believable, and I feel that is the greatest gift a weaver of fantastic fictions can possess.
Being from the UK I have no idea how Mr. Howard's sublime oeuvre is regarded in the US; I'd very much like to think that he is as highly thought of there as he is by me.
There really should be a Robert E. Howard award for achieving excellence in the fecund field of genre writing: maybe there is one? (that would be a cheery thought)Frankly, he had me with Conan, but recently discovering the myriad joys of 'Haunter of The Ring: And other Tales' proved to be a giddy revelation. I really enjoyed his Sax Rohmer pastiche 'Skull-Face', and can only bemoan that he didn't write more of them. And yes, 'Pigeons From Hell' really is as good as they say it is! Granted, my appraisal is absurdly gushing, for the prosaic reason that I find his work genuinely thrilling; and it doesn't surprise me that H.P. Lovecraft wrote so enthusiastically about Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith as they are both unmatched, and will, ultimately, prove to be more influential than even Lovecraft himself; due in no small part to their being superior prose stylists.
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on 25 July 2015
Absolutely incredible writing by the man who created Conan!
Every short story in this collection is a must read and they all carry a very distinct atmosphere of unease and darkness.
I loved every moment of it!
If you are a H.P Lovecraft or Clark Ashton Smith fan this will be right up your street!
If you want something a little more current I would say Rick Yancey (Montrumologist)or Brian Lumley (Fruiting Bodies) are also brilliant writers that hold similar atmospheres.
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on 3 November 2011
at the title of this book. So I gave it to her to read...she liked it but she's still laughing...
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Some people seem to find the name of this volume of the pulp fiction writer Robert E Howards supernatural tales to be, in some way, amusing. Haunter of the ring...haunter of the ring ? well I fail to see anything amusing whatsoever in the title of this volume of pulp era horrer tales from the oddly famous Robert E Howard. I have always been a fan of this type of fiction and prior to that enjoyed the great comic books of the DC line - how excited I was every time Green Lantern charged up his Ring in his special power lantern, or when the Flash would release his costume from the compresed state within his Ring where he use to secretly hide it. The Legion of Super Heros - they all had flight rings - God how I use to yearn to be among those youngsters with their special power and magic Rings. What ? Stop it...I won't even mention the day we lined up to kiss the Bishops Ring.
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on 18 May 2015
Book of short stories, ideal gift for any Robert E Howard fan!
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