As she neared the island, she saw that it rose sheer from the water in castlelike cliffs. She reached them at last but found neither ledge to stand on below the water, nor to cling to above. She swam on, following the curve of the cliffs, the strain of her long flight beginning to weight her limbs. Her hands fluttered along the sheer stone, and suddenly they found a depression. With a sobbing gasp of relief, she pulled herself out of the water and clung there, a dripping white goddess in the dim starlight.
She had come upon what seemed to be steps carved in the cliff. Up them she went, flattening herself against the stone as she caught a faint clack of muffled oars. She strained her eyes and thought she made out a vague bulk moving toward the reedy point she had just quitted. But it was too far away for her to be sure in the darkness, and presently the faint sound ceased and she continued her climb. If it were her pursuers, she knew of no better course than to hide on the island.
An average Conan story, which is to say, well-written and plotted, and without a lot of introspection on the part of the characters. Conan leads the kozaks--warrior horsemen--but they don't really enter in the story itself, that's just where he is on his career path. There's a mysterious city that appears overnight, a seemingly indestructable demon, and a blond princess/slave who needs to be rescued.
Premium-sized adventure short featuring Conan. While one could say a lot against some of the sexist fantasies in Conan stories, Howard's stories always are crisp and satisfying through their completeness. Don't miss yet another from the master of adventure pulp!