Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Blood & Thunder: The Life & Art of Robert E. Howard, by Mark Finn

(pb; 2006: biography. Introduction by Joe R. Lansdale)

From the back cover:

"Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan the Cimmerian, Solomon Kane, King Kull, and many other characters helped define the genre of heroic fantasy, lived all of his thirty years in the small town of Cross Plains, Texas. While his books remain continually in print, Howard himself has fallen into obscurity. The details of his personal life have become mired in speculation, half-truth, and lies. This engaging biography traces the roots of his writing, correcting many long-standing misconceptions, and takes on a tour of Howard's world as he saw it best: through his own incomparable imagination."

Review:

This is a solid biography that keeps true to its themes (Howard was considered a social misfit within his longtime Texas town; Howard's larger-than-life characters were exaggerated imaginings of rugged Texas men that Howard grew up around; and Howard was a multi-genre writer - humor, fantasy, Westerns - whose non-fantasy works overshadows his other well-written works).

Finn's writing doesn't gets bogged down in superfluous dissections of Howard's work, nor does Finn wallow in unnecessary details regarding Howard's tragedy-truncated life: this makes for a fast-flowing, intriguing book.

Good read, worth owning if you're a fan of Howard's writing.

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