The People of the Black Circle by Robert E. Howard
is a gripping tale of sword and sorcery, first published in 1934. It is one of the most famous stories featuring Howard’s legendary hero, Conan the Barbarian, and is widely regarded as one of the best examples of his work.
The story is set in the mythical world of Hyboria, a place of ancient civilizations, dark sorcery, and brutal conflict. At the center of the story is Conan, a powerful warrior and adventurer, who is hired by the beautiful Yasmina of Khauran to rescue her brother, who has been taken captive by the mysterious Black Circle. The Black Circle is a secretive organization of wizards and sorcerers who wield great power and seek to dominate the kingdoms of Hyboria.
As Conan sets out on his mission, he discovers that the Black Circle’s influence reaches further than he had imagined, and that they pose a grave threat to the entire region. Along the way, he is aided by a band of fierce warriors, including a fierce Amazon named Zelata and a band of nomadic raiders known as the Afghulis.
As the story unfolds, Conan and his allies engage in a series of epic battles and confrontations with the Black Circle and their allies, leading to a final showdown in which Conan must face his most fearsome opponent yet.
“The People of the Black Circle” is a thrilling and fast-paced adventure story that is full of action, suspense, and mystery. It is also a powerful exploration of themes such as power, betrayal, and loyalty, as well as the nature of magic and its impact on those who wield it.
One of the most striking features of Howard’s writing is his vivid and evocative descriptions of the Hyborian world. From the sprawling deserts of Stygia to the frozen tundras of Hyperborea, Howard’s world is a rich and varied tapestry of landscapes and cultures that are both familiar and strange.
In addition to his world-building skills, Howard is also a master of character development. Conan is a complex and multifaceted character, with a fierce sense of honor and a brutal streak of violence. He is a man of contradictions, fiercely independent yet deeply loyal to his friends and allies. In many ways, he is the archetypal hero of the sword and sorcery genre, a figure who embodies the virtues and flaws of humanity in equal measure.
The supporting cast of characters in “The People of the Black Circle” is also rich and varied, from the enigmatic Yasmina to the fierce Zelata and the wise nomad, Gobinda. Each character brings a unique perspective and set of skills to the story, making it a rich and layered experience for readers.
At its heart, “The People of the Black Circle” is a classic tale of heroism and adventure, with all the excitement and danger that entails. But it is also a story that explores deeper themes and questions, such as the nature of power and its impact on those who wield it, and the eternal struggle between good and evil.
In conclusion, “The People of the Black Circle” is a must-read for fans of sword and sorcery, as well as anyone who appreciates a good adventure story. It is a powerful and engaging work of fiction that has stood the test of time, and remains one of the most iconic works of fantasy literature ever written.