THE SHADOW OF THE VULTURE – This story by Robert E. Howard, the ONLY Howard story to actually feature Red Sonya, was first published in the January 1934 issue of Magic Carpet Magazine. As I’ve mentioned in many other reviews of old pulp characters, Howard’s REAL Red Sonya was indeed a warrior woman, but not one from his fictional Hyborian Age.
It was Marvel Comics who distorted Red Sonya into “Red Sonja” and placed her as a guest star in assorted Conan stories as well as her own series. That Red Sonja has more in common with female author C.L. Moore’s warrior woman Jirel of Joiry than she does with Robert E. Howard’s Red Sonya.
The Shadow of the Vulture is one of Howard’s historical adventures and it’s set during the 1520s, largely at the Siege of Vienna from September 27th to October 15th in 1529. Red Sonya of Rogatino is a Polish-Ukrainian woman who is more skilled than most men with swords and guns.
The storied red-haired woman has a personal grudge against Muslim Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who was besieging Vienna with over 100,000 soldiers against Vienna’s 21,000. Red Sonya was glad to serve against Suleiman’s armies whenever she could. Continue reading