The Ice Woman’s Prophecy

The initial setup for Ghor Kinslayer/Genseric’s Fifth Born Son was now over. Joseph Payne Brennan’s section in the round robin novel had Ghor attaining his revenge against his family.  Now what? Richard L. Tierney had no problem. Dick Tierney was one of those new writers in the 1970s though older by a decade than the average neophyte. He grew up on Arkham House and Gnome Press hardbacks in the 1950s plus a steady diet of historical movies. He had started writing a series of stories about Simon of Gitta, an actual historical person important in Gnosticism. Tierney also along with David C. Smith served as a pinch hitter writing the Bran Mak Morn novel, For the Witch of the Mists. Karl Edward Wagner had bailed on writing a sequel to Legion From the Shadows which forced Zebra Books to scramble at the last minute for a replacement.

Tierney picks up immediately with Ghor on the run from the pursuing Vanir.  The Ice Woman Ythillin comes to him sent by the Ice Gods to bear a prophecy that Ghor will help lead the Aesir against the gods of the South. Ghor meets up with the Aesir, Hialmar, the very same Hialmar mentioned in Howard’s “The Hyborian Age.” Tierney not only knows his Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, and Clark Ashton Smith, he studies them. He even remembered to make the Vanir a red-haired people again. There is some well done blood letting in the Aesir camp to firmly establish Hialmar’s primacy against all comers. Some Vanir captives are also given the choice of joining on the southern migration. Tierney has given a great new set up for the rest of the writers to follow. Part of it is laid out in “The Hyborian Age.”

One quibble, Tierney wrote the ground breaking essay “The Derleth Mythos” which began the process of separating Derleth out of Lovecraft and Derleth’s Catholicism out of Lovecraft’s original vision.  He then turned around and has the whole hero cursed by the gods and also tool of the gods against other gods plot coupon. This is what de Camp & Carter did with Conan in Conan of Aquilonia and therefore not an idea that I warm up to.