Book Report: Tigers of the Sea by Robert E. Howard / Edited by Richard L. Tierney (1979)

Book coverAh, gentle reader. You are forgiven if you think that I’ve not been reading much these days, but it’s sort of true. I’ve divided my evenings between watching DVD sets that I bought twenty years ago (like Red Dwarf) with reading, and in that reading, I have taken up the second volume of The Story of Civilization, The Life of Greece. I’ve been interspersing it with the old hardback Houghton Mifflin poetry primers like The Deserted Village and Other Poems and Longfellow’s The Courtship of Miles Standish and Elizabeth), but instead of 19th century writing, I picked up a volume of Alexander Pope from the 18th century which is harder to read and is not as compelling of a narrative. So I picked up this little paperback, part of my 2021 haul in Berryville, Arkansas, to intersperse with all of the above. And it was just what I needed.

This book collects a set of stories featuring Cormac Mac Art, a Gael, and Wulfhere, a Viking leader, in their various adventures in Britain not long after the Romans retreated. We’ve got four stories of how the odd couple and the ship which follow a fairly basic pattern of Cormac infiltrating and then the Vikings bringing the hammer, whether they’re tasked to rescue a princess or dealing with Picts or what have you. They’re fun reads, but they’re not going to stick with you. To be honest, I finished the book two weeks ago, and I could not easily nor quickly distinguish between the four stories by their titles (“Tigers of the Sea”, “Swords of the Northern Sea”, “Night of the Wolf”, and “The Temple of Abomination”) nor by a quick skim of the contents of the first. So a fun read, but nothing to stick to your ribs.

Still, this might be my reading pattern going into the summer: A little of the Durant, a little of the old-timey poetry, and then one of the Howard and Howard-related paperbacks from Berryville. There are worse things, and they’ll ensure that I keep slogging at the Durant.

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