Wolves Beyond the Border

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"Wolves Beyond the Border"
Author Robert E. Howard
Country United States
Language English
Series Conan the Barbarian
Genre(s) Fantasy
Published in Conan the Usurper
Publication type Anthology
Publisher Lancer Books
Media type Print (Paperback)
Publication date 1967

"Wolves Beyond the Border" is one of the original stories by American writer Robert E. Howard featuring Conan the Cimmerian, a fragment begun in the 1930s but not finished or published in Howard's lifetime. It is a peripheral story in the canon in that while it takes place in Conan's "Hyborian Age" and during Conan's lifetime, Conan does not actually appear, but is merely mentioned. The story was completed by L. Sprague de Camp and in this form first published in the collection Conan the Usurper (1967). It has since been published in its original form in the collection The Conan Chronicles Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon (Gollancz, 2001) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) (Del Rey, 2003).

Plot summary[edit]

(From the Conan The Usurper version, ISBN 0-441-11459-8)

Set during the time of Conan's conquest of Aquilonia, the foreword and story refer to ongoing battles between the armies of Conan and King Numedides. The Picts see an opportunity however.

Told by a border ranger named Gault Hagar's son, the Gault witnesses a secret Pictish ceremony conducted by Tenayoga, a Ligurean shaman, and witnessed by Lord Valerian, an Aquilonian nobleman.

Gault flees to Fort Kwanyara, thence to the town of Schondara where he meets an old friend, exchanges news on Conan's forces and discovers Lord Valerian. Valerian is imprisoned but escapes.

Gault escapes the attack of a giant ape and with others, follows Valerian to a cabin where they watch him meet with the old shaman and a band of Gunderman guards. The leaders of four Pictish tribes plan to meet together and consult a wizard in the swamp. Gault, Hakon and their rangers attack the cabin setting it alight. The two track those who escaped the carnage to the swamp meeting and are captured.

The tribes agree to attack Schondara and depart, leaving the captives bound to stakes. Gault escapes his bonds, slays the wizard and the pair are just in time to sabotage the Pictish assault and be proclaimed as heroes.

The atmosphere of the story is reminiscent of the American Frontier, and that the plot could have been easily transferred to that environment, with Aquilonian settlers as early Americans and Picts as Indians. Indeed, Howard did effect such a transformation with the preceding Conan story, "The Treasure of Tranicos", which is set in the same Pictish environment: failing to find a publisher, he did transfer the story to a historical American background.


The story was first adapted by Roy Thomas and Ernie Chan in Savage Sword of Conan #59[1] and then in 2015-2016 by Timothy Truman and Tomas Giorello for Dark Horse Comics.


  1. ^ The Savage Sword of Conan #59 (in comicvine.com)

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"The Vale of Lost Women"
Original Howard Canon
(publication order)
Succeeded by
"The Hand of Nergal"
Preceded by
"Jewels of Gwahlur"
Original Howard Canon
(Dale Rippke chronology)
Succeeded by
"The Phoenix on the Sword"
Preceded by
"The Treasure of Tranicos"
Complete Conan Saga
(William Galen Gray chronology)
Succeeded by
Conan the Liberator