The Flame Knife

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The Flame Knife
The Flame Knife.jpg
Cover of the first stand alone publication
Author Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp
Illustrator Esteban Maroto
Cover artist Sanjulián
Country United States
Language English
Series Conan the Barbarian
Genre Sword and sorcery
Publisher Ace Books
Publication date
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 157 pp
ISBN 0-441-11666-3
OCLC 7696117

The Flame Knife is a 1955 fantasy novella by American writers Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp, featuring Howard's sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. It was revised by de Camp from Howard's original story, a then-unpublished non-fantasy Oriental tale that featured Francis X. Gordon titled "Three-Bladed Doom". De Camp changed the names of the characters, added the fantastic element, and recast the setting into Howard's Hyborian Age. The story was first published in the hardbound collection Tales of Conan (Gnome Press, 1955), and subsequently appeared in the paperback collection Conan the Wanderer (Lancer Books, 1968), as part of which it has been translated into German, Japanese, Spanish, Dutch and Italian. It was published by itself in paperback book form by Ace Books in 1981, in an edition profusely illustrated by Esteban Maroto.

Plot summary[edit]

Conan, leader of a band of kozaki in the service of King Kobad Shah of Iranistan, quarrels with his patron over the latter's command to capture Balash, chief of the Kushafi and Conan's friend. Instead, Conan takes his band to warn the Kushafi. In the Gorge of Ghosts, the two bands are attacked by members of the Sons of Yezm, a cult of assassins whose symbol is the flame knife. The cultists kidnap Nanaia, Conan's current girlfriend. The Cimmerian tracks them to their stronghold, where he becomes embroiled in a conflict with his old enemy Olgerd Vladislav, a foe first encountered in Howard's story "A Witch Shall be Born".


  • Laughlin, Charlotte; Daniel J. H. Levack (1983). De Camp: An L. Sprague de Camp Bibliography. San Francisco: Underwood/Miller. p. 54. 
Preceded by
"The Devil in Iron"
Complete Conan Saga
(William Galen Gray chronology)
Succeeded by
Conan and the Shaman's Curse