You can see the first post here.
You can see the second post here.
It seems like there are lot of Solomon Kane stories that have the word “Skull” in the title. He may not approve of this statement, but that is metal as heck!
THE MOON OF SKULLS
The story begins with Solomon Kane traveling through an African jungle. We do not know where he is going and why, but is clear he has a purpose in his meanderings. He comes across a corpse propped up as a warning to turn back. Solomon considers saluting the corpse, but decides that wold not be the proper thing to do. You can see that he cares about societal norms, but that does not weaken him as a person. Politeness does not need to be weakness.
Eventually, we discover that he is after the Vampire Queen of Negari. Her given name is Nakari. Now THAT is a name for a villain!
After fighting off several warriors allied with the Vampire Queen, he falls off a cliff, but brings a warrior with him, using the body of the warrior to cushion the fall. He goes through a cavern reminiscent of hell and, in the darkness, battles a serpent-like creature that is likened to Satan. Part of what makes these stories great are the biblical allusions. Solomon’s foes are not merely flesh and blood, there is a spiritual component as well. In many ways, he is fighting the forces of hell in the physical realm.
After making his way through the cavern, he comes across a hidden structure and lays eyes on the Nakari. She is nearly nude, lounging on a throne, cruelly treating her followers / worshipers. He sneaks by and finds what he came for, an English woman who had been captured and forced into slavery. Solomon has tracked her across all of Europe and Africa to find her. Why? Was he promised great riches? Power?
No. He did it because it was the right thing to do.
He was a man born out of his time – a strange blending of Puritan and Cavalier, with a touch of the ancient philosopher, and more than a touch of the pagan, though the last assertion would have shocked him unspeakably. An atavist of the days of blind chivalry he was, a knight errant in the somber clothes of the fanatic. A hunger in his soul drove him on and on, an urge to right all songs, protect all weaker things, avenge all crimes again right and justice. Wayward and restless as the wind, he was consistent in only one respect – he was true to his ideals of justice and right. Such was Solomon Kane.
That is a man right there. A man and a half.
Shortly after finding the English woman, Nakari captures him. She offers him a place at her side, all of the power and wealth she possesses could be his, a landless vagabond could become a king without equal. He refuses. Once again, I am reminded of the biblical account of the serpent in the Garden of Eden while reading this. Unlike Adam and Eve, Solomon wisely refuses her offer.
While being transported by some guards, Solomon escapes and sneaks around the city. Eventually, he comes across a strange man…who is the last son of Atlantis! I cannot tell you how my heart filled with joy when reading this the first time. Sometimes I wonder why I watch movies when there are written works this awesome (except Predator…every frame of that movie is perfect).
Solomon learns of secret ways around the city (which was originally built by Atlanteans and later inhabited by the Africans) and the fact that tonight the English woman will be sacrificed to an evil god. Solomon interrupts the sacrificial ceremony and causes a mass riot. In the chaos, he is able to rescue the young woman.
I am not doing this story justice. It might be my favorite Solomon Kane story. In it, Solomon waxes theological, resists temptation, and smites the enemies of God. This is a story of action and adventure that could be easily turned into an table top module. You would probably have to play Lamentations of the Flame Princess for an OSR-style romp in Kane’s world. Now there’s an idea…