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"He never sought to analyze his motives and he never wavered, once his mind was made up. Though he always acted on impulse, he firmly believed that all his actions were governed by cold and logical reasonings. He was a man born out of his time -- a strange blending of Puritan and Cavalier, with a touch of the ancient philosopher, and more than a touch of the pagan, though the last assertion would have shocked him unspeakably. An atavist of the days of blind chivalry he was, a knight errant in the somber clothes of the fanatic. A hunger in his soul drove him on and on, an urge to right all wrongs, protect all weaker things, avenge all crimes against right and justice. Wayward and restless as the wind, he was consistent in only one respect -- he was true to his ideals of justice and right. Such was Solomon Kane."
Robert E. Howard, "Moon of Skulls"

Solomon Kane is a character created by Robert E. Howard in 1928. He appears in several short stories by Howard.

A 16th century Puritan, Solomon Kane is a somber-looking man who wanders the world with no apparent goal other than to vanquish evil in all its forms. His adventures, published mostly in the pulp magazine Weird Tales, often take him from Europe to the jungles of Africa and back.

Howard described him as a somber and gloomy man of pale face and cold eyes, all of it shadowed by a slouch hat. He is dressed entirely in black and his weaponry consists of a rapier, a dagger, and a couple of flintlock pistols. During one of his latter adventures his friend N'Longa, a black African shaman, gave him a juju staff that served as a protection against evil, but could easily be wielded as an effective weapon. It is revealed in another story, "The Footfalls Within," that this is the mythical Staff of Solomon, a talisman older than the Earth and unimaginably powerful, much more so than even N'Longa knew. In the same adventure with N'Longa, Kane is seen using a musket as well.

The Solomon Kane stories (like most of Howard's writing) are a peripheral part of the Cthulhu Mythos. One story, "Death's Black Riders" (by Robert E. Howard and C.J. Henderson), pits Kane against Tsathoggua, a well-known Great Old One.

Some of the original stories here. As of 2010, he's having a bit of a renaissance, with a new comic, roleplaying game, and live-action movie.

Stories by Robert E. Howard

  • Red Shadows. First published in August, 1928.
  • Skulls in the Stars. First published in January, 1929.
  • Rattle of Bones. First published in June, 1929.
  • Blades of the Brotherhood, also known as The Blue Flame of Vengeance. There are 3 known versions of this tale Two by Howard, and one by John Pocsik. Howard wrote his original version in 1929, but could not find a publisher for it. This version was first published in 1968. Howard wrote a second version in 1932, replacing Solomon Kane with Malachi Grim. This version was not published until 2007. Pocsik revised the original story and added new elements in it. His version was first published in 1964.
  • The Moon of Skulls. First published in 2 parts, from June to July, 1930.
  • Hills of the Dead. First published in August, 1930.
  • The Footfalls Within. First published in September, 1931.
  • Wings in the Night. First published in July, 1932.
  • Solomon Kane's Homecoming. Poem. First published in Spring, 1936. An elderly Solomon Kane returns to his native Devon, contemplating retirement. He learns that Bess (apparently his former lover) is long dead, and nobody remembers him. He steps away once again, heading for unknown destinations. The story is seen as a finale for the character, with the date estimated to c. 1610.
  • The One Black Stain. Poem, first published in Spring 1962. Kane attends the trial and execution of Thomas Doughty (1545-1578). He has an argument with the man responsible Francis Drake (1540-1596). This is the only Solomon Kane story with a specific date for the events covered.
  • The Right Hand of Doom. First published in 1968. Unusually, Solomon Kane is actually a peripheral character in this story.
  • The Castle of the Devil. Left in fragmentary form, first published in 1968. Ramsey Campbell wrote a completed version of the story in 1978.
  • The Children of Asshur. Left in fragmentary form, first published in 1968. Ramsey Campbell wrote a completed version of the story in 1978.
  • Hawk of Basti. Left in fragmentary form, first published in 1968. Ramsey Campbell wrote a completed version of the story in 1978.
  • The Return of Sir Richard Grenville. Poem. First published in 1968. Solomon Kane encounters the ghost of his old friend Richard Grenville (1542-1591).
  • Death's Black Riders. Left in fragmentary form, first published in Spring, 1968. Several writers have created alternate completed versions of the story.

Tropes:

 With a great advantage in height, weight, strength, and reach, Kane had still other advantages - those of skill and of speed.

  • Darkest Africa
  • Dark Is Not Evil: N'longa can be a bit creepy even to a modern reader. He's a good guy because he keeps limits on how to use his significant magical powers, mainly to help others.
  • The Determinator / Always Gets His Man: Kane will pursue wrong-doers all along continents to avenge the innocent.
  • Devil but No God: Kane comes across various kinds of supernatural phenomena in his travels, both good and evil, but never anything that would confirm the existence of his God, and this causes him a great deal of internal turmoil.
  • Dual-Wielding: Kane often uses a rapier and a dagger.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Kane sometimes battles these.
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue: N'longa. When he speaks to Kane through his dreams and in one of the river language Kane knows, he's impressively well-spoken to the point of delivering a fairly epic Dark Is Not Evil speech at the end of "The Hills of the Dead". However, he sticks to pidgin English when talking to Kane simply because he's proud that he's learned it.
    • He also seems to be aware that he spooks Kane out, and makes himself a bit of an Uncle Tomfoolery to avoid becoming too threatening with his black magic to a Puritan Christian.
  • Genius Bruiser: Kane
  • Guns Akimbo: With two snaphaunce (an early form of flintlock) pistols. They're single-shot weapons, so it actually makes sense and was done in real life.
  • Harping on About Harpies: The akaanas from "Wings in the Night"
  • Helping Hands: "The Right Hand of Doom"
  • In Harm's Way
  • Inn of No Return: "Rattle of Bones"
  • It's Probably Nothing: In "Footfalls Within", the titular footfalls are blithely dismissed as "nothing" by a bunch of slavers, with foreseeable consequences.
  • Kangaroo Court: The poem "The One Black Stain" deals with the aftermath of the (Real Life) trial and execution of Thomas Doughty by Sir Francis Drake:

 Solomon Kane stood forth alone,

grim man of sober face:

"Worthy of death he may well be,

but the trial ye held was mockery,

"Ye hid your spite in a travesty

where justice hid her face."

  • Knight Errant: Kane.
  • Knight Templar: Kane
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Seemingly Nekari in "The Moon of Skulls". An earthquake destroys the hidden city mere minutes after she is killed.
  • Lost World: "The Moon of Skulls"
  • Magical Negro: N'Longa
    • Only in the literal sense - N'longa helped Kane so he could get reclaim his recently usurped position of power in his tribe. He's not so much a saintly, benevolent figure that solely uses his (actual) magic to aid the white Kane as he is a clever man who knows how to play a situation to his advantage.
      • He does come to Kane's aid in later stories simply to provide magical aid that Kane desperately needs to survive certain encounters. Once he even possesses the body of a young warrior from miles away to help Kane fight some vampires.
  • Man Bites Man: In "The Children of Asshur."
  • Meaningful Name: A deeply religious man and determined killer who bears the names of the man most favored by God and the first murderer.
  • Mighty Whitey: subverted in Wings in the Night, when villagers in Africa, impressed by Solomon's guns, beg him to protect them against flying monsters. Kane is helpless when the monsters in overwhelming number slaughter the entire population.
  • Mission From God: Kane is a relentless righter of wrongs. The fact that this generally involves killing people doesn't seem to bother him much (if at all).
  • The Musketeer: Kane normally discharges both of his pistols before drawing his rapier and dagger.
  • Nice Hat: Possibly the Trope Codifier for the (now standard) hat worn by Witch Hunters.
  • Pirate: "Blades of the Brotherhood"
  • Powder Trail: Kane uses one to kill the majority of Le Loup's gang in Red Shadows.
  • Precursors: Kane meets the last Atlantian man in Negari's dungeon. He tells Kane of the vast, terrible ocean empire of his people that ruled great swathes of the world in times past and then dies.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: and Hell, and past, and future, the entire universe, after the village population he was trying to protect at "Wings in the Night" was brutally slaughtered and eaten by the harpies, it's the only time where something manages to truly break poor Kane.
  • Right Makes Might: Or so Solomon believes.

 "The right is on my side," said Kane somberly. "And right is mightier than a thousand men-at-arms."

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