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

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  995 ratings  ·  55 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

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Paperback, 295 pages
Published November 1st 1977 by Berkley (first published November 1st 1936)
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Steve
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
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
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Daran
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
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Tom Van Boening
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
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Dan
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
John
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
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Sjtobber
This is a great story.
Jenny Gaines


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!"
Jim
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

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Peregrine 12
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:

'Shad
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wally
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
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Curt
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
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.
Matthew Devlin
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
Benjamin
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.
Jason
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
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Doug Polen
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.
Andrew
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
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Greg Kemble
Ah, the guilty pleasures of Robert E. Howard and that oh-so-unPC Conan.
Kyle
Undeniably fun, but the action occasionally overshadows the characterization.
J.D. Burke
I found myself wanting to sing the title followed by the words "...in 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.
One of my all time favorite Conan stories.
Harley
Good. Light entertainment.
Gary
I am a huge fan of Robert E. Howard's Conan series and almost all of his other writings. Just pure fun and good fantasy. Nothing heavy but well written. The most astonishing thing about Howard's vision of Conan is when you realize where he lived (in the middle of no-where Texas on the west plains) and how could a guy like that manage to write material like this. Incredible. Nothing heavy, just good he-man fighting and love making. Some creative plots and characters. Just good mindless reading fo ...more
Netanella
Conan the Barbarian and Valeria of the Red Brotherhood in a strange, windowless city filled with crazy, blood-feuding natives and bad juju magic. Sigh. This story takes me back to my early years with my older brother and his ginormous collection of The Savage Sword of Conan, Vol. 1 magazines.

I need to go visit my brother. And his collection ;)
gazoo
The first book I chose to read on line and it rocked like thunder. You get the towering Cimmerian in a locked city using his wits and brawn to hold off the charms of a sultry sorceress and the back biting swords of misguided subjects. A crazed king who won't be satisfied until everyone is down for the count. And a monstrous being from the underworld looking for revenge. Robert E. Howard is the Nine Inch Nails of sword and sorcery.
Jacob Aitken
Easily Howard's best collection of novellas.
Allen Burton
Red Nails was exactly what I needed, a light, self contained and straightforward read. At times it read like the era in which it was written but, in the end, that is quite OK with me. Though I've read Robert Jordan's take on the Cimmerian, I'm fairly certain that this was my first taste of Robert E. Howard's Conan. I was entertained enough to read further in the future.
Ellen
A fun Conan tale mentioned on tor.com in their look at the books that influenced the creator of D&D. Robert E. Howard is a Texas author I knew little about, even though his over-the-top style of adventure touched so many later writers and filmmakers. This tale reminded me of the Barsoom stories in pacing and discovery of "alien" groups and creatures.
Gaston Keller
I had seen the movie, *Conan* -- who hasn't seen it? -- but had never read a story about the Cimmerian... until now. And probably I'll be back to read some more stories about the famous barbarian.

This one story was rather short, so if, like me, you haven't read any Conan, this is a good starting point. Enjoy!
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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
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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
The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian (Conan the Cimmerian, #1) The Conquering Sword of Conan (Conan the Cimmerian, #3) Conan of Cimmeria (Conan 2) The Bloody Crown of Conan (Conan the Cimmerian, #2) Conan (Book 1)

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