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Renegades and Rogues

Renegades and Rogues
The Life and Legacy of Robert E. Howard

The first comprehensive biography of Robert E. Howard, the enigmatic creator of Conan the Barbarian and progenitor of the sword and sorcery genre, who published hundreds of short stories and poems before taking his own life at the age of thirty.

January 2021
Not yet published

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This book will be available in January 2021.
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312 pages | 6 x 9 | 20 b&w photos |

You may not know the name Robert E. Howard, but you probably know his work. His most famous creation, Conan the Barbarian, is an icon of popular culture. In hundreds of tales detailing the exploits of Conan, King Kull, and others, Howard helped to invent the sword and sorcery genre.

Todd B. Vick delves into newly available archives and probes Howard’s relationships, particularly with school teacher Novalyne Price, to bring a fresh, objective perspective to Howard's life. Like his many characters, Howard was an enigma and an outsider. He spent his formative years visiting the four corners of Texas, experiences that left a mark on his stories. He was intensely devoted to his mother, whom he nursed in her final days, and whose impending death contributed to his suicide in 1936 when he was just thirty years old.

Renegades and Rogues is an unequivocal journalistic account that situates Howard within the broader context of pulp literature. More than a realistic fantasist, he wrote westerns and horror stories as well, and engaged in avid correspondence with H. P. Lovecraft and other pulp writers of his day. Vick investigates Howard’s twelve-year writing career, analyzes the influences that underlay his celebrated characters, and assesses the afterlife of Conan, the figure in whom Howard's fervent imagination achieved its most durable expression.


Todd B. Vick, a researcher and independent scholar, has presented papers at multiple PCA/ACA conferences and runs "On an Underwood No. 5," an award-winning blog devoted to Howard and pulp studies. He has contributed to Weird Fiction Review, The Dark Man Journal: The Journal of Robert E. Howard and Pulp Studies, and REH Changed My Life.