“The Flame Knife”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague deCamp
Artists: John Buscema and Tony DeZuniga
Conan is in the capital of Iranistan when an assassin tries to knife him. He manages to easily dispatch his assassin and make his way to his second in command. Conan tells how someone tries to kill him and he thinks its the king. Conan refused to lead his Kozaki against a rebel hillman because that rebel help him. So the king wants Conan out of the way. This is confirmed when a young woman named Nanaia who is in the king’s harem comes to him. She tells Conan of the plot and asks that she take her with him which Conan is glad to do. So the next morning Conan leaves the city with his Kozaki and heads to the rebel hillman. The king is furious and orders his troops after Conan. Later an assassin tries to kill the king. His guards manage to stop him and the assassin is revealed to be a member of the cult of the Sons of Yezm. They have been after neighboring kings and now the cult has targeted Iranistan.
Conan arrives at his friend and finds that he is having trouble with raiders from a place inhabited by demons. He shows one of the men killed and Conan recognizes him as a Khitain. The Khitain also has the symbol of the Flame Knife on his chest. So Conan with his trusted lieutenant, the girl Nanaia and three others go to scout out this valley. During the night they are ambushed and Nanaia is captured and three of Conan’s followers are killed but Conan and Tubal manage to beat them off. They follow the blood trail to a wall and Conan finds a hidden entrance. It leads to a hidden city. Conan sends Tubal to get help as Conan decides to bluff his way in. He meets former Zuagir comrades guarding the trail and convinces them he is expected. So they take him to the Magus who rules the cult of the Sons of Yezm. Conan manages to convince him that he could be useful and learns the origin of the city of Yanaidar.
The Magus is part of an ancient cult but used his wealth to gather the members of this cult from all over the world and rebuild the city of Yanaidar. The Magus has plans to rule the world and says that the Tiger must decide if he can join their cult. So Conan is put in a room and given drugged wine which he doesn’t take. A young woman named Parusati was sent to find out information and Conan convinces her to show him where Nanaia is being held. So she leads him through a secret passage to her cell. Conan kills the guard and frees his woman who is to wait for him in the secret corridor. Later Conan is summoned to the throne room as the Tiger has arrived. Conan finds out the Tiger is Olgerd Vladislav who Conan deposed as leader of the Zuagirs and left for dead in the desert.
“A Gazetteer of the Hyborian World of Conan Part II”
By Lee Falconer
A guide to the places in the Hyborian and world of Kull from B to F.
So Marvel had just got the rights to all Conan stories including those written by deCamp, Carter and Nyborg. Now Roy could adopt those and chose this story. It was a non-Conan story that deCamp adapted to Conan. An enjoyable story with some mysterious cult that has people from all over the world gathered in a rebuild city. It also ends with the return of a character that Conan left for dead. Now Thomas did write a sequel years back that had Olgerd dragged to hell by a demon so this does contradict the version by deCamp. Yet I believe Roy did manage to explain that away in the next issue.
Otherwise the second entry to the Gazetteer was an informative read. All around another enjoyable installment to this wonderful magazine.