Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Season 3, Episode 7 - The Hills of The Dead

"Yonder in the unknown vastness"--his long finger stabbed at the black silent jungle which brooded beyond the firelight--"yonder lie mystery and adventure and nameless terror. Once I dared the jungle--once she nearly claimed my bones. Something entered into my blood, something stole into my soul like a whisper of unnamed sin. The jungle! Dark and brooding --over leagues of the blue salt sea she has drawn me and with the dawn I go to seek the heart of her. Mayhap I shall find curious adventure--mayhap my doom awaits me. But better death than the ceaseless and everlasting urge, the fire that has burned my veins with bitter longing." 
N'Longa stirred the fire, saying nothing..."
[The Hills of the Dead]
Art by Gary Gianni

This week we return to Africa for the third time with Solomon Kane in Robert E. Howard's pulpy vampire-slaying adventure, The Hills of the Dead. (Read it on Project Gutenberg Australia). In contrast to our last story (The Blue Flame of Vengeance), this tale is full of magic and supernatural creatures. We think it's an interesting tale with layers that go much deeper than you might guess at first glance!

Ecoregions of Africa. Based on the descriptions in the tale, we think Kane began his journey to the Hills of the Dead somewhere near Gabon/Congo and traveled north into the Tropical Dry Forest and Savannahs. 

As in Red Shadows, Kane would not have made it through the events of the tale without the aid of the might N'Longa. In fact, without the staff that N'Longa gives Kane at the beginning of the tale, it is likely the initial confrontation with the two vampires would have ended much differently. Though Kane's will is nigh-unbreakable, N'Longa's power far exceeds that of Solomon Kane's and arguably N'Longa is the true hero of the tale, though Kane is not minimized by this statement! What mortal man can hope to stand against magical powers like N'Longa's? We're just glad N'Longa's a good guy!

[The Hills of the Dead]
Kane did serve as a good distraction to buy time for N'Longa to cast his powerful magic, though.
Michael Whelan's interpretation of Roland's fight with The Slow Mutants from Stephen King's The Gunslinger.
Similarities abound!

It seems as though we have been watching the gradual disintegration of Solomon Kane's worldview, and wonder how much longer his faith, will, and sanity can hold out!

One Things

Jon: Netflix's Original Series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt!

Josh: All Things Song of Ice and Fire, specifically the upcoming Dunk and Egg collection A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms and The World of Ice and Fire, a history of Westeros and Essos!

Luke: AMC's Better Call Saul!

Also be sure to check out the new book from Brian Keene, The Lost Level. All of our Cromrades will receive a 50% discount off either the trade paperback or digital copy of this book if you order it from Apex Publications and use the promo code mentioned in this episode... Listen for that promo code! And get your hands on a tale of high adventure!

While you're at it, check out the new publisher, Strange Books, and stay tuned in the future for more discussion of their material!

Our next stop on the Road of Vengeance will be the Solomon Kane tale, Wings in the Night. (Read it on Project Gutenberg Australia). Until then, Cromrades, safe travels!

Our episode is freely available on archive.org and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 

Our closing theme for this episode is "Africa" performed by Toto and found on the album Toto IV. All music was obtained legally; we hope our discussion of this content makes you want to go out and purchase the work!

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