BLACK VULMEA'S VENGEANCE: Swords of the Red Brotherhood; The Isle of Pirate's Doom

Black Vulmea's Vengeance - Robert E. Howard "Arrr, me hearties!" is one pirate stereotype that you won't find in this book of three bucaneering tales.You will, however, find much in the way of the seeking of cursed booty, secret treasure maps, dead men's tales, lost cities, savage tribes-people, villainous Royal Navy captains, treacherous French noblemen and covetous corsairs!There's actually little time spent ship-board, with most of the action taking place on deserted islands and in dense jungles. The feel is more Indiana Jones than Treasure Island, and, as the stories were written before Disney's adaptation of Stevenson's classic served us up the "hearty" image of piracy, they have a freshness despite their age."Black" Terence Vulmea is the hero of the first two stories, Swords of the Red Brotherhood and Black Vulmea's Vengeance. He's cast in Howard's usual mould - a Celtic superman - but he's not simply Conan by another name (despite the fact that Howard adapted the first story into a Conan tale): he's given a distinct (if briefly sketched) background and motivations. I wish Howard had written more than these two stories about his adventures.The last story, The Isle of Pirates' Doom while written from the viewpoint of a male narrator is more interesting for its female pirate, Helen Tavrel. She could have made a good heroine for a series of Virgin Pirate Queen stories but again, alas, Howard wrote only this one story about her (at least as far as I'm aware). She's beautiful (of course), intelligent and resourceful, and an excellent swordswoman. She seems to be strategically more capable than her male partner, dictating many of their plans, and saves his life more than once (though he does return the favour).Three excellent examples of escapist fiction by a master of the genre.