'The Thing In The Crypt' marks the third entry in a chronological reading order of Conan. This was written by L. Sprague De Camp and Lin Carter and appears in the 1967 'Conan' book by Lancer and then later re-issued as book one by Ace.
Where 'Legions Of The Dead' left off we saw Conan in chains, snared by the Hyperboreans after a raid in Asgard. This short story has a rather rousing beginning. Conan finds a way to break his chains and escapes to the south only to find a pack of hungry wolves on his trail. In one furious, ironfist scene Conan fights the wolves with the length of broken chain. Fearing certain death, he escapes into a mountain cave. The wolves become frightened in the doorway of the cave and refuse to go in.
Once inside the Cimmerian finds darkness, bones and a mummy seated on a throne. This mummy has an iron sword on his lap and Conan takes the sword. This apparently triggers something in the mummy and a fight ensues. Conan is seen at the end emerging 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. This entry is really short weighing in at less than twenty pages. I can't really find any fault with the writing. I know these authors receive tons of heat from the fans and some of it might be valid. 'The Thing In The Crypt' 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. I really enjoyed the story and new Conan fans will receive a really high octane read in a short amount of time. It could serve as the perfect doorway for more readers to jump into Conan literature.
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