This Cimmerian Life
Hoofs drummed down the street that sloped to the wharfs. The folk that yelled and scattered had only a fleeting glimpse of a mailed figure on a black stallion, a wide scarlet cloak flowing out on the wind. Far up the street came the shout and clatter of pursuit, but the horseman did not look back. He swept out onto the wharfs and jerked the plunging stallion back on its haunches at the very lip of the pier. Seamen gaped up at him, as they stood to the sweep and striped sail of a high-prowed, broad-waisted galley. The master, sturdy and black-bearded, stood in the bows, easing her away from the piles with a boathook. He yelled angrily as the horseman sprang from the saddle and with a long leap landed squarely on the middeck.
Thus begins “Conan and the Queen of the Black Coast,” a classic tale of Conan the Barbarian from Robert E. Howard, first published in the May 1934 issue of Weird Tales magazine. Science fiction editor and scholar Everett F. Bleiler described “Queen of the Black Coast” as “probably the best of the Conan stories.”
A new reading of this story by Phil Chenevert can be found at LibriVox, whose objective is to make all books in the public domain available in audio format for free. Robert E. Howard was the creator of Conan, an originator of the sword and sorcery genre and, along with Clark Ashton Smith and H.P. Lovecraft, one of the Big Three contributors to Weird Tales.
A swash of the buckle to Cory Doctorow for bringing this to our attention.