As readers of this blog will know I love a good pulp and was wrapped to find a couple of 1980's Red Sonja Ace Fantasy paperbacks stashed in a box, forgotten underneath a bookcase in a secondhand bookstore on one of my recent outings in search of such diamonds on the rough in the world of secondhand books.
This edition of THE RING OF IKRIBU is a fifth printing published in 1985 with the original published in 1981. You can't argue with the popularity of these books during the 1980's with each of the six book having multiple print runs.
Ace Fantasy carved out a niche during this time, not only publishing the 'she devil with a sword' but also the Conan books and works by such greats as Frank Herbert and Roger Zelazny. I've got a bunch of these books on my radar and hope to continue to uncover them in my secondhand bookstore rummaging.
As for Red Sonja and THE RING OF IKRIBU I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer volume of sword and sorcery action thrust upon the readers face from word go. Authors David Smith and Richard Tierney didn't waste time in getting this story off to a fast start. More importantly they maintained the momentum throughout the entire book.
The plot itself is fantasy formulaic as you'd expect, following a linear path from Red Sonja's appearance at a drinking hole through to her eventual journey to face off against an resurrected sorcerer determined to claim the mysterious ring of Ikribu for his sinister means.
There are loads of great moments filled with character development and bloody fantastical battles which are just fun to read. While THE RING OF IKRIBU is first and foremost a book of Red Sonja, I found her not to be the constant center of attention with many characters given time to shine through on the page. This approach added depth and context to the quest.
I can't compliment THE RING OF IKRIBU enough, I simply loved everything about this book and will track down the remaining books in the series as fast as I can.
The books in the Ace Fantasy Red Sonja series:
Book 1: THE RING OF IKRIBU (1981)
Book 2: DEMON NIGHT (1982)
Book 3: WHEN HELL LAUGHS (1982)
Book 4: ENDITHOR'S DAUGHTER (1983)
Book 5: AGAINST THE PRINCE OF HELL (1983)
Book 6: STAR OF DOOM (1983)