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Book Review: The Dark Man and Others by Robert E. Howard(, Introduction by August Derleth

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The Dark Man and Others: 15 Journeys Into The Weird And The Fantastic by Robert E. Howard is packed with stories substantially derived from Celtic themes. One of the bloodiest stories is “Gods of Bal-Sagoth.”

The story begins with Turlogh engaging in free-wheeling combat with an ax. He is taken hostage and chained aboard a crippled dragonship. His captor, Athelstane the Saxon, decides to spare his life. The ship comes upon a beach where Turlogh and Athelstane get off.

While roaming about the island, they come upon a screeching monster bird chasing a woman. Athelstane kills the bird with a thrust to the eye. The woman named Brunhild is saved. After the incident, she explains how monsters on the island warred against the people of Bal-Sagoth.

Just after leaving the scene of battle, Turlogh, Athelstane and Brunhild come upon Ska, the King of Bal-Sagoth. After consultations, they decide to have Athelstane fight Ska to the death. Athelstane is outfitted in armor while Ska has a spear. The two fight until Ska is killed.

Turlogh and Athelstane escape from the island unscathed. Turgoth sports a jade which is widely regarded as an emblem of kingship by the people of Bal-Sagoth. This story, like others in this volume, contains lots of action and interesting ancient cultural themes throughout.

In “The Voice of El Lil,” the expedition comes upon an interesting archeological finding: “It was the Tower of Babel true to life! Not as tall or as big as I’d imagined it, but some ten tiers high and sullen and massive just like the pictures, with that same intangible impression of evil hovering over it.”

Howard’s writing is very similar to Edgar Rice Burroughs or even Henry Rider Haggard. The settings are in unfamiliar territories with suspenseful encounters involving surprise discoveries, exotic wildlife, hostile tribes or unusual local customs.

The Dark Man and Others is an important voyage into civilizations past. Readers are treated to exciting stories with many unexpected twists and turns until the stories reach a high point and conclude — often without notice. This seeming abruptness of the storytelling leaves readers contemplating a plethora of possibilities. Alternatively, Howard could have set forth a definitive ending for each story without any further challenge to the readers.

Readers should be interested to know that Robert E. Howard originated the sword and sorcery hero-Conan the Barbarian.

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.