Wolves Beyond the Border

"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).

Wolves Beyond the Border
by Robert E. Howard
CountryUnited States
SeriesConan the Barbarian
Published inConan the Usurper
Publication typeAnthology
PublisherLancer Books
Media typePrint (Paperback)
Publication date1967

Plot summaryEdit

(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. Narrated by a border ranger named Gault Hagar's son, he witnesses a secret Pictish ceremony conducted by Tenayoga, a Ligurean shaman, and Lord Valerian, an Aquilonian nobleman. Gault travels to Fort Kwanyara, near the village of Schondara, where he meets an old friend, exchanges news on Conan's forces, and discovers Lord Valerian's treachery. Valerian escapes his imprisonment and flees into the Pictish Wilderness.

Gault escapes his encounter with a giant ape and follows Valerian to a nearby cabin, where he spies on the nobleman's meeting with Tenayoga and his band of Gunderman guards. The leaders of four Pictish tribes plan on joining forces and consult a wizard in their swamp. Gault, Hakon, and their rangers attack the cabin, setting it alight. The two rangers track those who escaped the carnage into a swamp and are soon captured. The tribes agree to raid Schondara first and quickly depart, leaving their captives bound at the stake. Gault escapes his bonds, slays the wizard, and the pair are just in time to sabotage the Pictish assault while being declared as heroes.

The atmosphere of the story is reminiscent of the American Frontier, with a plot that 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 transferred 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 2005-2006 by Timothy Truman and Tomas Giorello for Dark Horse Comics.


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

External linksEdit

Preceded by Original Howard Canon
(publication order)
Succeeded by
Preceded by Original Howard Canon
(Dale Rippke chronology)
Succeeded by
Preceded by Complete Conan Saga
(William Galen Gray chronology)
Succeeded by