I know the price a man must pay for calling forth the nameless shape that roams the gulfs of darkness…”

-John Kirowan, “The Haunter of the Ring”

While Robert E. Howard is perhaps best known for creating Conan, he had his share of occult investigators of one stripe or another. There was Steve Harrison of River Street,Solomon Kane with his fiery Puritanism and cat-headed ju-ju staff and, of course, John Kirowan. 

Kirowan is of an age and appearance with a number of Howard’s other characters, being tall, slender, brooding, and black haired — a Celt of the modern age. Sorrow hangs about him like a shroud, and his history is tragic. Though few agree on what form said tragedy might have taken, all believe that it has something to do with the years that he spent studying the occult arts in the black hills on Hungary and the secret places of Inner Mongolia.

What is known for certain is that Kirowan renounced these studies, and assumed the guise of a sceptic. But, when the nightmarish denizens of diabolical realms intrude upon the lives of his friends and companions, John Kirowan shows his true colours, and the haunted wanderer once more thrusts himself between the innocent and the devils in the dark.

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