Sunday, January 4, 2015
Review: Tarra Khash: Hrossak!
Finished Tarra Khash: Hrossak! by Brian Lumley. I'll be frank: this was actually pretty good.
Surprising, I know. I am ordinarily the lead anti-cheerleader for Brian Lumley, but he actually pulled it off this time. It's not great, even by Mythos standards, but this is a fun little book without pretensions.
Tarra Khash is a Hrossak (hence the title). Hrossaks are your typical barbarians, dwelling in the Primal Land of Mu, as previously seen in Lumley's House of Cthulhu anthology. This book is a collection of short stories and novellas, each telling a separate tale but picking up where the previous left off. It's standard Sword & Sorcery fare in the vein of Conan and his ilk. We see him escape from prison with the aid of a scorpion-god, encounter a mysterious race of silver-skinned humanoids from prehistory, loot the tomb of an ancient and not-quite-human king, etc. All good clean fun.
My only real complaints are, first, Lumley has a tendency to use rape as a way to make his villains seem extra evil. It's not unrealistic, given the medieval-ish society in the stories, and it all happens tastefully off-screen, but it adds nothing to the plot, so I would have left it out. And second, while aside from that there's nothing really wrong with this book, there's nothing particularly right about it either. There's nothing that distinguishes Tarra Khash from any of a thousand other Conan clones, there's no particularly memorable plots or settings or characters.
But, you know, sometimes you want Mac & Cheese for dinner, and sometimes I want to read a Conan clone. And Tarra Khash: Hrossak! is a perfectly fine example of its breed. 3/5 stars.