Almuric is a savage planet of crumbling stone ruins and debased, near-human inhabitants.
Into this world comes Esau Cairn, Earthman, swordsman, murderer. Only he can overthrow the terrible devils that enslave Almuric. But to do so he must first defeat the inner demons that forced him to abandon Earth.
The novel features a muscular hero known on earth as Esau Cairn, a complete misfit in modern America. Exploited by a corrupt political boss which he finally kills with his bare hands, Cairn must flee. A sympathetic scientist helps him get through space to a world known as Almuric, by unspecified scientific methods. There he finds a life to which he is more fitted, battles with frightening monsters and beautiful women. Cairn becomes known as the Iron Hand due to his powerful punches and boxing skills.
Cairn is described as an honorable man who was “born out of his time” in terms of his temperament and physical abilities. He attempted brief careers in college football and boxing. But had to abandon both due to severely injuring opponents due to his incredible strength. From then, he became a wanderer, seeking his place in the world but unable to find one.
The novel shares similar elements with the John Carter of Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
These is one of Howard’s few novels, of one of America’s most distinct literary voices. Serialized in three parts in the magazine Weird Tales beginning in May 1939.