Saturday, June 8, 2013

Conan - The Thing in the Crypt

"The Thing In The Crypt", authored by L. Sprague De Camp and Lin Carter, appears in the 1967 Conan book by Lancer. The story was later reprinted by Ace after Lancer's business operations ceased. 

If we were to view Conan's life chronologically, I believe "Legions Of The Dead" is right before "The Thing in the Crypt." At the closing of that story, Conan is in chains, snared by the Hyperboreans after a raid in Asgard. This short story begins when Conan finds a way to break his chains, thus escaping to the south. Once there, he discovers a pack of snarling, hungry wolves on his trail. In one captivating scene, Conan fights the wolves with a length of broken chain. Fearing certain death, he escapes into a mountain cave for protection. The wolves become frightened in the doorway of the cave and refuse to go in.

Inside, the Cimmerian finds darkness, bones and a mummy seated on a throne holding an iron sword. Looking for a means to arm himself for the coming danger, Conan takes the sword, triggering something that animates the mummy. Conan is thrust into a fight with this "thing" and at the end emerges from the cave with his new iron sword.

These scenes are in the original Conan The Barbarian film, albeit minus the mummy fight. In the movie, Conan simply picks up the sword and the mummy continues his corpse slumber. I can't find any fault with the story's presentation and deliverance. I know these authors receive tons of heat from the fans and some of it might be valid. "The Thing In The Cryp"' is basically one long action sequence and the descriptive detail regarding the snow capped mountains, the crunch of bones in the crypt and the snarling wolves are certainly eye candy for the adventure hounds. Recommended.

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