"The Thing In The Crypt" marks our third entry in chronological reading order of Conan. This was written by L. Sprague De Camp and Lin Carter and appears in the "Conan" book by Lancer (1967) and then later re-issued as book one by Ace. I picked up a fairly good copy of the Ace reissue at an old paperback exchange a few weeks ago for a buck.
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 vs wolves! 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 testosterone fueled fury 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" albeit minus the mummy fight. In the film 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 if anything new Conan fans could pick this short story up and receive a really high octane read for fifteen minutes.
The next entry in the chronology is "Conan The Defiant" by Steve Perry. That novel picks up as Conan leaves "The Thing In The Crypt".
MUSICAL SELECTION - Metal Law - "Night Of The Wolf"