“The Ghouls of Yanaidar”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from “The Flame Knife” by Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp
Artists: John Buscema & Tony Dezuniga
Conan finds out the Tiger is Olgerd Vladislav the former chief of the Zuagirs who he deposed and left for dead in the desert. Naturally Olgerd has some nasty plans for Conan. Conan isn’t one to submit meekly. He grabs a sword and starts swinging. Some archers come and he charges them and cuts his way to freedom. Soon he is looking to escape and fights a guard on the wall. They plumed off and Conan uses the body to cushion his fall. He later uses it as a shield for the arrows fired at him. Olgerd says he will wish he submitted to the tortures than what awaits him where he fell.
Conan finds himself in some maze with a creature. This creature is a snow-ape that Conan has to fight with a knife. Of course being Conan he kills it. Then waits for a guard to bring it food for him to escape. He forces the guard to lead him to the dungeon. There he finds the Zuagirs locked up for allowing Conan to enter the city. He gets a pledge to follow him if he lets them out. So the group then searches for Nanaia who was left on the stairs. He finds out she is with the Magus in his throne room being tortured. So he gets there and frees her after killing the guards and the Magus.
Conan, Nanaia and his Zuagirs are forced to barricade themselves in a tower. Soon the Yezmites bring up a siege tower and it looks like the end. But Conan’s men and his hillmen allies come to the rescue. A big fight ensues with Conan killing Olgerd. Then a third force enters. The Iranistani under general Gotarza. The two start to fight but another force has entered the fray. The demons of Yanaidar have come up from their subterranean caves to attack everyone. Soon all the men are running out of the city. A messenger comes from the capital. The king died and his son now rules. He has pardoned Conan and the rebel hillmen. He requests Conan’s help in fighting off Turanian invaders. Conan decides he will go into the desert and resume his life of banditry.
The conclusion of the Flame Knife adaptation. This was an enjoyable story. It had plenty of action. Conan was on the constant move and fighting off men, beasts and demons. Ends with a free for all and mysterious demons coming after everyone. Howard knew how to write a good story. De Camp knew how to adapt his non-Conan stories into Conan stories. Roy of course just does his usual excellent job of writing to give us one fun story. It was great to get a full issue devoted to Conan and the beautiful artwork was great.