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Red Nails (Conan (Original Short Stories) #17)

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,199 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews

One of the strangest stories ever written -- the tale of a barbarian adventurer, a woman pirate, and a weird roofed city inhabited by the most peculiar race of men ever spawned!

That was the Weird Tales editor's original terse blurb for this story's magazine publication. (There was another, longer less coherent, but it wouldn't fit here on the back cover.) Death! Decay! R

Paperback, 295 pages
Published November 1st 1977 by Berkley (first published November 1st 1936)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,671)
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Feb 20, 2014 Steve rated it really liked it
About a year ago, at a library book sale I ran across some collections of Conan stories, which were edited by Karl Edward Wagner. These were labeled as “Authorized.” I didn’t pay much attention to that, because I thought I had read pretty much all of the Conan stories back in high school. And I may have, but the ones I read were part of a multi volume set that was “edited” by Lin Carter, August Derleth, and L. Sprague DeCamp. The point here is that the stories I read way back when were leavened ...more
Seth Skorkowsky
Jan 22, 2015 Seth Skorkowsky rated it it was amazing
This is my 3rd Conan story to read and it is by far my favorite. I’d heard of Red Nails before, but didn't know anything about it. What I found was an adventure that cements Howard title as a Sword & Sorcery master.

Here we find Conan and his companion Valeria (Those familiar with the 1982 movie will recognize that name) as they go through a jungle. They are attacked by a dragon, and once that encounter is done, find an abandoned and hidden city. Hopeful for treasure, they enter the rusted d
Jul 03, 2013 Daran rated it really liked it
Shelves: appendix-n
I have to say that I very much enjoyed this story. There's a lot of early east Texas cultural baggage to get past. Once I did, I enjoyed the primal adventure, sensuality, and moral inhibition of of this very well put together Conan story.

Robert E. Howard had a complex and contradictory consciousness. For example, he's a lost cause on the subject of race. Like his colleague, H.P. Lovecraft, he was a man whose family had fallen on hard times, and aggrandized himself at the expense of other people
Tom Van Boening
Apr 05, 2013 Tom Van Boening rated it really liked it
Being a gigantic fan of all things fantasy, I am a big fan of the sword and sorcery. Never having read any of the Conan novels, but being a fan of the movies, I decided to read these books.

They certainly come out of a different era, but the fantasy elements of the lovable swashbuckler are still awesome and wonderful. This was written when you knew straight down the line who the bad guys were and who the good guys were.

What I find especially fascinating about Conan himself is that he is not a her
Jul 08, 2012 Dan rated it it was amazing
I had the pleasure of first reading the Conan stories in the order Robert E. Howard wrote them, which provided a peek into the mind of a profoundly troubled man. Conan was the last major character he created, and towards the end of Howard's life, the world of Conan became progressively more bleak and barren and grim, its people little more than the remnants of a civilization that had raped, enslaved, and murdered itself into near extinction. RED NAILS was the final Conan story and didn't make it ...more
Oct 22, 2012 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, gritty, adventure
My very first foray into the realm of Conan the Barbarian. A few things stood out for me.
1. The mood and the setting had a tremendous feel. Howard is not just some pulp fiction author - he really knew his craft.
2. Conan was far more literate than I ever expected. Probably the result of seeing the Conan movies so many years ago. This was not disappointing in the least. Just took some getting used to.
3. The action was beautifully written - something I expected of course but it far exceeded my exp
Jul 15, 2015 Sjtobber rated it it was amazing
This is a great story.
Jenny Gaines
Dec 07, 2012 Jenny Gaines rated it really liked it

This was my first foray into the world of Conan, and boy, what a trip! As I finished the story, I laughed at how little there was to actually take away from it (as in, nothing) but- that's okay. Comically racist and sexist, the story is a great adventure all the way through. Now, I just have to find a reason to exclaim, "Sulky slut!"
Jun 14, 2016 Jsrott rated it it was ok
These nine books are the original stories of Conan the Barbarian written by Robert Howard and published in 1932 and beyond in Weird Tales. While the stories are jam-packed with action, fighting, sorcery, and all the other things about fantasy I find enjoyable, they are also definitely a product of both their time and their intended audience. It seems like every story involved Conan rescuing some alabaster skinned voluptuous slave woman from a horde of black or brown skinned savages. There were e ...more
Mar 02, 2014 Jim added it

The woman on the horse reined in her weary steed. It stood with its legs wide-braced, its head drooping, as if it found even the weight of the gold-tasseled, red-leather bridle too heavy. The woman drew a booted foot out of the silver stirrup and swung down from the gilt-worked saddle. She made the reins fast to the fork of a sapling, and turned about, hands on her hips, to survey her surroundings. They were not inviting. Giant trees hemmed in the small pool where her horse had just drunk. Clump

Timothy Boyd
Jan 23, 2016 Timothy Boyd rated it did not like it
Robert E. Howard is my all time favorite writer, but for many years much of his work was heavily edited. This is another of the heavily edited collections of Robert E. Howard's stories. I am a purist when it comes to a writers works. I know some of these stories are no longer PC but they should be read as Howard wrote them and understood that he wrote in another time period. Don't read this book unless you just can't find any others of Howard's unedited books to read. Message me if you need a li ...more
Larry Piper
Mar 15, 2016 Larry Piper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
My friend, Michael, says I read too many girly books. You know lasting literary works by the likes of Jane Austen, Sarah Orne Jewett, Willa Cather, ..., hell even Dorothy Sayers. So in an attempt to ready more manly stuff, I tried out Zane Grey, Walter Mosley, and now Robert E. Howard.

Robert E. Howard, it seems, wrote fantasy adventure things that are wildly popular with a certain set. Other than Tolkein and J. K. Rowling, I've never read fantasy adventure. Well, now I have. I didn't figure I'd
Ned Leffingwell
Mar 15, 2015 Ned Leffingwell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read some Conan stories many years ago in my youth, and my memories of them were quite fond. I recently downloaded a bunch of Robert E. Howard stories that are in the public domain and I decided to read a Conan story for old times sake. Red Nails follows Conan and his companion Valeria as they stumble upon a mysterious city in the desert. Conan and Valeria become involved in a feud between the crazed inhabitants of the city. There is action, magic, lust, and enough bloodshed to satisfy th ...more
Peregrine 12
Jun 23, 2013 Peregrine 12 rated it really liked it
Four out of five stars from an REH fan - one champion story, a good one, and one stinker. Glenn Lord's commentary is outstanding, though, as is the chance to read REH's own description of his world-building.

The foreword and afterword by Glenn Lord were, for any REH fan, worth reading just by themselves. Otherwise, this compilation includes:

1. Beyond the Black River (1935);
2. Shadows in Zamboula (1935);
3. Red Nails (1936);
4. The Hyborian Age (notes from Howard on his world mythos).

My review:

Jan 21, 2013 wally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: howard
another from howard...the...7th, 8th or so...most of them conan stories, all save 2 i think. kindle edition...and it seems there's...what? 3? 4? kindle editions available? haaaa-rumph.

this one begins:
1. the skull on the crag
the woman on the horse reined in her weary steed. it stood with its legs wide-braced, its head drooping, as if it found even the weight of the gold-tasseled, red-leather bridle too heavy. the woman drew a booted foot out of the silver stirrup and swung down from the gilt-wor
Mar 05, 2015 Curt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the only Conan story I've read. It was fun. Strange creatures, mysterious places. Howard's prose is a bit overwrought, though he's not nearly as prolix as Lovecraft. Conan is less of a brute than he comes across in the Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. Most of the story takes place in a city that is essentially one huge building inhabited by warring factions. I kept wondering how the residents managed food, water, sanitation, etc. I read it about a year ago so my memory is hazy.
Edgar Pérez
Jun 28, 2015 Edgar Pérez rated it it was amazing
Es la primera vez que leo una historia de Conan y se nota que su autor vivía en una época de gran racismo. Pero dejando de lado el contexto, es una entretenida historia de espada y hechicería.

De Conan sólo había visto las películas de la década de 1980 y leído algunos comics. Esta historia de Red Nails trata sobre el odio entre dos pueblos condenados por ese mismo odio a vivir encerrados, esto habla mucho de como son las guerras sociales / religiosas hoy en día.
Phillip Rodgers
Feb 02, 2016 Phillip Rodgers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Howard's final Conan outing...

Red Nails was Robert E. Howard's final Conan novella. Indeed, I believe that he was already dead by the time it was published. Howard is one of the great story tellers and this is no exception. It clips right along and has, what at the time would have been called, "spicy" elements. A good and entertaining read.
Nov 18, 2015 Russell rated it liked it
My first Robert E. Howard read. The story itself was good, fast-paced and imaginative, though no one will ever mistake Howard for a high-caliber wordsmith. Also, his portrayals of race and women are what you'd expect for a man of the 1930s, so you might want to avoid this tale if that's a big issue for you.

3 stars.
Matthew Devlin
Jul 12, 2012 Matthew Devlin rated it it was amazing
In my opinion, one of the strangest Conan stories ever written, and one of the best. Sure, the character development is pathetic, but who cares? A completely enclosed city, factions of the same tribe at war with one another, engaged in a violent competition, gorgeous women in loin cloths, a despot king, monsters from below, and a dinosaur. They call it a dragon, but it is totally a dinosaur. You won't find the furthering of gender equality, or even racial equality in the works of Howard. Let us ...more
Oct 17, 2014 Benjamin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: awesome
This Book Is another Robert E. Howard classic. Red nails Is one of the best Robert Howard books I have ever read! Shadows over Zamboula is a little dull, but besides that, it is a good book overall.
May 25, 2012 Jason rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
In my opinion one of the best of Howard's Conan short stories.

I have read this story several times in the past, and after the Conan movie I thought "Wow, the plot really sucked. Why didn't they do something like "Red Nails" which reminded me I hadn't read it for ten or twenty years. I figured I would reread it, just in case I remembered it through rose colored glasses. Nope, still as fun as ever.

Think of if the Hatfields and MaCoys were trapped in an enclosed city of three or four stories, surr
Doug Polen
Feb 01, 2014 Doug Polen rated it it was amazing
Great Conan story. No one else writes them as well as REH. This story is available for free on the Kindle store, so it makes a great introduction to the world of Conan.
Oct 28, 2011 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I did actually enjoy this book despite it's over the top almost Comic book characterisation and intense bloodlest...ultimately very few are left standing when Conan is in the house(so it seems.)
Got this as a free download from Amazon and it was a quick read and a fun adventure which was very much of a typical sword and sorcery type vein..the characters are themselves ultimately familiar even if you haven't read a Conan book before(I hadn't) but bring to mind more recent warrior figures whether X
Greg Kemble
Feb 18, 2015 Greg Kemble rated it liked it
Ah, the guilty pleasures of Robert E. Howard and that oh-so-unPC Conan.
Oct 08, 2014 Kyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Undeniably fun, but the action occasionally overshadows the characterization.
J.D. Burke
Aug 24, 2012 J.D. Burke rated it really liked it
I found myself wanting to sing the title followed by the words " the sunset..." but there is little of the dreamily romantic in this short story of Robert E Howard's barbarian hero Conan, save a short interlude with the voluptuous heroine and pirate Valeria, up above the treeline hiding from a jungle dragon... Soon enough our sword-wielding pair are in a familar maze of passages fighting familiar hordes of monsters, magicians and gigantic serpents! I came to Conan via Marvel Comics versions ...more
Chris S.
Jul 06, 2015 Chris S. rated it it was amazing
One of my all time favorite Conan stories.
Feb 19, 2016 Carlton rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
More than thirty years on and it still reads as quickly written, populist fiction, but it is still enjoyable, if taken in the right spirit!
Conan and a female battle and overcome a "dragon" in the jungle, only to escape to an ancient city in the desert, where two clans of the same tribe are slowly battling it out to the death having wandered into the ancient city created by an older race with sorcerers 50 years ago.
And there is an evil witch who maintains her youth through dark and fiendish ritua
Apr 23, 2014 Harley rated it liked it
Good. Light entertainment.
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Robert Ervin Howard was an American pulp writer of fantasy, horror, historical adventure, boxing, western, and detective fiction. Howard wrote "over three-hundred stories and seven-hundred poems of raw power and unbridled emotion" and is especially noted for his memorable depictions of "a sombre universe of swashbuckling adventure and darkling horror."

He is well known for having created — in the p
More about Robert E. Howard...

Other Books in the Series

Conan (Original Short Stories) (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • The Phoenix on the Sword
  • The Scarlet Citadel
  • The Tower of the Elephant (Conan, #3) (Weird Tales)
  • Black Colossus (Conan the Barbarian, #4)
  • The Slithering Shadow (World Cultural Heritage Library)
  • The Pool of the Black One
  • Rogues In The House
  • Shadows In The Moonlight
  • Queen of the Black Coast
  • The Devil in Iron

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