Red Nails (The Essential Conan #3) ★★★★☆

rednails (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Red Nails
Series: The Essential Conan #3
Author: Robert Howard
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 295
Format: Digital Edition



Another collection of stories about Conan with the final part of the book being a “history” of the Pre-Cataclysmic world and the post-Cataclysmic world leading up to our own known history.


My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this book the most of all 3 of these Essential Conan books and I think it was a combination of slightly longer stories coupled with not having as many. The final part of the book, the “History” part was boring as all get out but I expected that as History and me are acquaintances by circumstances instead of friends by choice.

The History definitely showed up Howard’s racial bias more than anything in the stories. Purity of blood and the continual references to racial superiority or inferiority really began to grate.

The titular story, Red Nails, was probably the best Conan story of all I’ve read with these. From the killing of a monstrous lizard to an enclosed city with near insane inhabitants to a sorceress who feasts on live sacrifices, it just had it all. You could probably read that story alone and get enough of everything to decide if more Conan was for you or not.

I’m pretty pleased with this Essential omnibus that I read. I felt like I got a real taste of who and what Conan is about, what kind of author Howard was and it was just the right size so I’ve had enough without having too much. There are more Conan stories by Howard, and tons by other authors, but this has sated me so I feel no need to seek out more. I’d highly recommend this if you wanted to try out Conan or even simply wanted a better understanding of Fantasy from the early 1900’s. You are never going to go wrong by reading works that are foundational to the genres we have today.



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12 thoughts on “Red Nails (The Essential Conan #3) ★★★★☆

    1. It was an omnibus released by the SFBC back in ’98. You can pick up cheap copies on Amazon for under $10, but honestly, the print is really small, since they stuffed 3 books into one. That is my biggest complaint (now) about the sfbc omnibuses.

      And I forgot to change it in my little info block, but it is hardcover.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great post – I’ve enjoyed your Conan reviews. I’ve read every word written by Howard about the guy and have to agree that “Red Nails” is likely the best. Cheers, Brian

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I was pretty impressed with just how “good”, for lack of a more descriptive term, Red Nails was. I’ve read a lot of Forgotten Realms books, but while they may be “sword and sorcery”, Conan is head and shoulders above that, literary’lly speaking 🙂

      If you’ve read a lot of Howard, anything else to recommend that I might try later? Not a complete meal course, but something like this omnibus where I just get a taste?

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I”ve read one of those stories but it was over 20 years ago and my recollection, hazy mind you, was that I hated it. No idea why but I’ve associated non-enjoyment with Leiber ever since then…

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Is this The Hyborian Age essay? Howard’s handling of race does grate (much more so than in, say, his horror stories set in the Piney Woods in the early part of the 21st century, because it is utterly unnecessary). I do appreciate his grasp for the movement of peoples over time. It is a lot more realistic than what a lot of fantasy writers present, where people are static over hundreds or even thousands of years.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So, did you ever see Arnold as Conan in your life? 😀 I totally agree that you could never go wrong reading books like these that got things going for a genre. I still wouldn’t exclude this off the must-read stuff I need to get through, although I wouldn’t put this very high for now. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did watch that Conan movie. I still don’t know why they just didn’t dye his hair black. Howard makes that such a part of his description of Conan. Never been tempted to watch the newer movie though…


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