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"The Devil in Iron" is one of the original stories by Robert E. Howard about Conan the Cimmerian, first published in Weird Tales in August 1934. Howard earned $115 for the publication of this story.[1]

"The Devil in Iron"
Weird Tales 1934-08 - The Devil in Iron.jpg
Cover for Weird Tales, August 1934.
Art by Margaret Brundage
AuthorRobert E. Howard
CountryUnited States
SeriesConan the Cimmerian
Published inWeird Tales
Publication typePulp magazine
PublisherRural Publishing Corporation
Publication dateAugust 1934
Preceded by"Queen of the Black Coast"
Followed by"The People of the Black Circle"

The plot concerns the resurrection of a mythical demon due to the theft of a sacred dagger, and an unrelated trap that lures Conan to the island fortress roamed by the demon. Due to its plot loopholes and borrowed elements from "Iron Shadows in the Moon", some Howard scholars claim this story is the weakest of the early Conan tales.[2]


Plot summaryEdit

In "The Devil in Iron", an ancient demon, Khosatral Khel, is awakened on the remote island of Xapur due to the actions of a greedy fisherman. Upon reawakening, Khel resurrects his vast fortress which once dominated the island, including its cyclopean walls, gigantic pythons, and undead citizens.

Meanwhile, Conan— a leader of the Vilayet kozaks— is tricked by an evil governor from Turan, Jehungir Agha, into pursuing Princess Octavia to the island of Xapur. Jehungir Agha plans for Conan to fall into a prepared trap on the island. The unforeseen resurrection of Khel and his ancient fortress, however, interrupts Agha's original plan.

When Conan arrives on Xapur, he must battle against not only the mercenaries employed by Jehungir Agha, but a giant serpent and the iron-fleshed monstrosity who is Khosatral Khel.

Publication historyEdit

The Devil in Iron was first published in the August 1934 issue of Weird Tales. The story was republished in the collections Conan the Barbarian (Gnome Press, 1954) and Conan the Wanderer (Lancer Books, 1968). It has more recently been published in the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 1: The People of the Black Circle (Gollancz, 2000) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) (Del Rey, 2003).


The story was adapted by Roy Thomas, John Buscema and Alfredo Alcala in Savage Sword of Conan #15.


  1. ^ REHupa Fiction Timeline, retrieved 30 August 2012
  2. ^ Patrice Louinet. Hyborian Genesis: Part 1, page 452, The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian; 2003, Del Rey.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
"Queen of the Black Coast"
Original Howard Canon
(publication order)
Succeeded by
"The People of the Black Circle"
Preceded by
"A Witch Shall be Born"
Original Howard Canon
(Dale Rippke chronology)
Succeeded by
"The People of the Black Circle"
Preceded by
Conan and the Amazon
Complete Conan Saga
(William Galen Gray chronology)
Succeeded by
"The Flame Knife"