The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane, Robert E. Howard, Wandering Star Press

{Ed. Note: This review is courtesy of LibraryThing user astropi}.

“While evil flourishes and wrongs grow rank, while men are persecuted and women wronged, while weak things, human or animal are maltreated, there is no rest for me beneath the skies”. – Solomon Kane

H.P. Lovecraft said that Robert E. Howard “was a bitter foe of civic injustice in every form”. This trait is easily identifiable in Howard’s virtuous, evil-fighting puritan, Solomon Kane. While Kane is not nearly as popular as Howard’s most famous creation, Conan, Kane does have his own significant following. In 2009 a Solomon Kane film was released, though unfortunately not in the United States, and numerous Solomon Kane comics have been around (and popular) since the 1970s.

A barbarian, such as Conan, may fight for honor, glory, women, or just the thrill of battle, but Kane cares for none of these. His sole purpose is to destroy evil. A God fearing man, Kane travels to various parts of the world (during the late 16th and early 17th centuries) in order to attain his unending goal of eradicating evil. As is the case with all of Howard’s characters, Kane is dangerous, mysterious, powerful, and unyielding no matter the odds.

A strange blending of Puritan and Cavalier, with a touch of the ancient philosopher, and more than a touch of the pagan… A hunger in his soul drove him on and on, an urge to right all wrongs, protect all weaker things.

In 1998, Wandering Star Press decided to release an illustrated collection of the adventures of the heroic Puritan. The result was an absolutely stunning edition! The volume was released as a Limited Edition that included the following:

  • Hardcover (full cloth) with stitch binding and a gilt-edged top
  • Around 200 original illustrations by Gary Gianni
  • Gold-embossed front cover and spine
  • Wrap-a-round dust jacket
  • Beautiful slipcase with full-color illustration on the cover
  • Additional folder with an extra set of the 6 color plates
  • Twelve-minute CD featuring a reading of Howard’s Solomon Kane poems with a musical score
  • Book is numbered (limited to 1050) and signed by the artist, Gary Gianni
  • An advertisement for a limited edition Solomon Kane statue (interestingly enough, the advertisement is also numbered with the same limitation number as the book)
  • An Ultra Limited Edition was also produced available, which was essentially the same as the Limited Edition, but bound in goatskin with a much smaller limitation number

One bonus that sets this apart from other limited editions is the wonderful CD. Although the CD is short, it nevertheless is a pleasure to hear. Howard’s poetry is beautiful, and truly comes alive when a professional actor reads it! Furthermore, the background music is a classy touch. The CD was a brilliant move by Wandering Star; other presses should look for opportunities to emulate.

As of November 2011, you will be hard-pressed to find a copy. Although a copy becomes available occasionally, the asking price is typically near $1000. A trade edition, by Del Rey books, can be purchased online for less than $20. Needless to say, the trade edition does not contain any of the extras or niceties of the limited edition. If you have your heart set on the Limited Edition, my opinion is that it is worth every penny!

Pictures

(All pictures on Books and Vines are exclusively provided to highlight and visualize the work being reviewed.  A side benefit, hopefully, is encouraging healthy sales of fine press books for the publishers and fine retailers that specialize in these types of books (of which Books and Vines has no stake or financial interest). Please note that works photographed are copyrighted by the publisher, author and/or illustrator as indicated in the articles. Permission to use contents from these works for anything outside of fair use purposes must come directly from the copyright owner and no permission is granted or implied to use photo’s found on Books and Vines for any purpose that would infringe on the rights of the copyright owner.)

The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane, Wandering Star Press, Book and Extras
The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane, Wandering Star Press, Set of Color Illustrations
The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane, Wandering Star Press, Frontispiece and Title Page
The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane, Wandering Star Press, Sample Pages with Text and Illustrations
The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane, Wandering Star Press, Second Sample Pages with Text and Illustrations

One thought on “The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane, Robert E. Howard, Wandering Star Press

Leave a Reply