THE COWBOY AND THE CONQUEROR
A Bob Howard Adventure
By Teel James Glenn
Pro Se Press
In 2020, writer Teel James Glenn wrote “A Cowboy in Carpathia” and in 2021 it was nominated for a Pulp Factory Award for Best Novel. The story’s conceit was that pulp writer Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan, and other fantastic characters, did not commit suicide and in this alternate world went on to have real adventures. In one such he took and defeated the Vampire King, Dracula. Talk about a great pulp concept. It was no surprise to this reviewer that it went on to win the Best Novel title.
And so here we go again, back to this “what if” world, and this time the battler from Cross Plains teams up with another pulp writer. This one is German and his name is Adolf Hister. Whoa. After reading the opening chapter, this reviewer sat back and wondered if our eyes had deceived us. Was the first-person narrator of this sequel actually an alternate-world version of Adolf Hitler? The answer is yes, he was. Only this little fellow with the Charlie Chaplain mustache is married and has two sons. His life has been blessed and he is a successful spinner of tall tales. Wow. You have to give Glenn kudos for having the courage to pull this switch.
Howard and Hister meet on a boat in Egypt traveling the Nile. Their ship is boarded by Arab revolutionists who kidnap a British headmistress and her girls on a field trip. Our two pulp scribes give chase, assuming the girls are going to be held for ransom by the bandits. Little do they know that behind the raid, is a mysterious cult known as the White Hand and their objection is a great deal more sinister. When this comes to light, the Cowboy and German wordsmith return to London where they will uncover the White Hand’s master plot, the true leader.
In Glenn’s topsy-turvy upside world, our good guys are villains and vice versa. As if that wasn’t enough plot for this non-stop action-adventure romp, he even gives us a very unhealthy dose of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cluthu mythos. Oh, yeah.
“The Cowboy and the Conqueror” may be Glenn’s most accomplished work to date. He cleverly sets the table with all kinds of familiar pulp tropes and then peels back a philosophical layer that is at the core of all stories. The myths behind life and death and the choices we make. What else can we say but…bravo!!! Clean a space off your trophy self, Mr. Glenn.