Recently, my day job has not left me much time for posting, but of course Conan, REH and his works keep a heavy rotation in my reading list. A few weeks ago I made the decision to join the Robert E. Howard Foundation; at the same time, I ordered Mark Finn's Blood & Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard. The following is not so much of a review as it is a capsule recommendation. I plan to share more from this book in the future.
Finn's book is one that I have wanted to read ever since it was first published, but for one reason or another, had not obtained a copy. I should not have waited so long to do so.
Finn does much in these pages to give an honest account of REH. He debunks many of the myths started by L. Sprague de Camp and others. The focus of the book is to show that REH was first and foremost a Texan story-teller of Tall Tales. Finn's thesis is strong and well presented.
For the Conan fans, there is a chapter devoted entirely to the creation and writing of the original Conan stories. Warning, Finn admits that Conan is not his favorite character, nor group of stories; however, I would say they get fair treatment.
Blood & Thunder has many great photographs and quotations from Howard's letters and poetry. For these alone, the book was worth the price of admission. While I am at least a layman to the letters of Howard and his poetry, Finn's research has encouraged me to seek out more of the same.
I could give you a chapter blow by blow of Finn's book, but frankly, I would much rather just say that I enjoyed it and believe that all REH fans should give themselves the opportunity to enjoy it as well.
|Signed and numbered|