Book Review 222 // Red Shadows by Robert E. Howard

I am rather excited about this short story as it stars Solomon Kane; when the Forgeworld Badab War books came out, it became clear that the works of Robert E. Howard inspired some of the names within the Executioners forces, and Kane's name was used for part of Thulsa Kane, the High Chaplain. So I am excited to see how they compare to each other.

Title: Solomon Kane #1 - Red Shadows
Author: Robert E. Howard
Blurb: The innovative Red Shadows introduces us to the avenging wanderer puritan Solomon Kane, alongside Skull in the Stars and Rattle of Bones. This volume also features The Shadow Kingdom, a masterpiece of dark fantasy, that introduces us to the barbarian philosopher and king, Kull of Atlantis, in a time-forgotten era, and The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune, and some poems published by the “unique magazine” such as The Harp of Alfred, Easter Island, Forbidden Magic, and The Moor Ghost closing the second cycle of strange fiction tales from the up-and-coming Texan writer in the 1920s.

Kindle Edition via Amazon - First published September 19, 1928


As mentioned, this is my first Solomon Kane story, and I was excited to discover his character. He did not disappoint! A dark shadowy figure of vengeance. A true punisher of evil doers and a willingness to get a little dirty doing it. He is a vigilante who doesn't need much reason to hunt down a bad guy. His description reminds me of puritan witch hunters, but he is in no way a good guy, a true anti-hero is the best way to speak of him.

This first tale of Solomon has him hunting down a bandit known as "The Wolf." Solomon's reason for tracking the bandit is the death of an unknown female victim who had escaped the Wolf only to die in Solomon's arms. The hunt last year with us dipping in and out at critical moments to enjoy the adventure with the hero.

We get hints of what is to come for the character, as this seems to be a testing pot of ideas involving Africa, tribal cultures, old gods and ancient religions. As an adventure tale of pulp action, it is a good read. I am worried about where Howard will go with it, as I understand he is a Texan of the 1920s who did not have a great view of the world, so I will be wary of racism within these works.

What are your thoughts on these tales?

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