Also published under the title The Lame Man.
wolfish hardness that suggested the nomad. He was closer to the basic Turanian rootstock than was the Turk; nearer to the wolfish, wandering Mongols who were his ancestors.
"Speak, Ak Boga," said the Amir in a deep powerful voice. "Ravens have flown westward, but there has come no word."
"We rode before the word, my lord," answered the warrior. "The news is at our heels, traveling swift on the caravan roads. Soon the couriers, and after them the traders and the merchants, will bring to you the news that a great battle has been fought in the west; that Bayazid has broken the hosts of the Christians, and the wolves howl over the corpses of the kings of Frankistan."
"And who stands beside you?" asked Timour, resting his chin on his hand and fixing his deep somber eyes on the Scotsman.
"A chief of the Franks who escaped the slaughter," answered Ak Boga. "Single-handed he cut his way through the melee, and in his flight paused to slay a Frankish lord who had put shame upon him aforetim
Howard's take on the Tamerlane story is certainly detailed and colorful, but including the renegade Scotsman is a bit odd. Perhaps he was created to give Western readers someone to relate to amidst the Turks and Tartars. The account is pure pulp storytelling, not literal history. It's not badly done, but pure fabrication.
Unlike the film Wanted and its lame attempt to make a "point," (the moral being, "Life is meaningless. Go do something violent."), Robert E. Howard could write a piece of heroic fiction and touch on existential themes of purpose and meaning and do so with such masterful effect, that the writers of Wanted should take vows of literary silence for the rest of their lives.
Lord of Samarcand is historical fiction about Timur, commonly called Tamerlane or Timur the Lame, a 14th century Turco-Mongol conqueror of much of western and Central Asia, and founder of the Timurid Empire and Timurid dynasty (1370–1405) in Central Asia. In this fictional retelling, Timur's right hand man turns out to be a Dark Ages Scottish mercenary who got sidetracked during the Crusades.
Military buffs will enjoy the detailed battle scenes, Howard fans will enjoy an epic that is based on real history instead of fantasy, and people who enjoy literature will enjoy the thought that goes behind the story. Though this particular reviewer does not share in the existential philosophy of the story, I cannot deny it is well woven into the tale.
Years from now, long after Wanted is a reject in the Wal-Mart DVD discount bins, people will still be reading and enjoying Howard.