This is one of the first horror stories written by Robert E. Howard as it is found in the collection of stories by Del Rey "The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard". First published in Weird Tales, August 1925, ?In the Forest of Villefere," is very different from the Conan stories I have read and reviewed thus far. I really went into these stories with no expectations, but what struck me from the first few paragraphs was it seemed to be forced, as if he was trying to write like someone else, later in reading I realized it sounded a lot like Edger Alan Poe.
Being a horror story its main point was to frighten, and that it did. I didn?t make me keep the light on at night nor didn?t it stay in my mind and work mess with my mind on a subconscious level, it was scary although on a level that it could be read to an eight year old without to much of a worry about scaring them for life.
"In the Forest of Villefere", is a very short story, barely 4 pages long. But, the story is tight in that it; introduces the main character de Montour of Normandy, puts him on a dark road at night that is known for strange happenings, and strange creatures. de Montour meets a mysterious traveler along the way, who tells him a legend about werewolves. The traveler attacks de Montour and when he pulls a mask from his face, he realizes he is a werewolf. According to the legend if a werewolf is killed in wolf form it is dead, if it is killed while in the form of a man, then the half-soul of the wolf will haunt the killer for the rest of his life. de Montour defeats the werewolf but doesn?t kill him right away because he is in man form, he watches the moon come close to is zenith, and the mans body begin to turn into a wolf. de Montour picks up a sword and hacks it to bits, and runs off into the words.
As I said earlier this is a very short story, but worth at least two reads. I was tripped up by the language Howard used, since he was writing as if the characters were speaking old English with a dash of French thrown in, but after a second read it was much easier, and the story seemed to develop more substance. Additionally I read it for a second time after I had finished the story "Wolfshead", which I will review shortly and is very much related to "In the Forest of Villefere".
Here is a link to purchase the book through Amazon, ?The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard?, pick it up and following along with my reviews, and if you have any comments please post them.