Howard wrote several drafts of “The Isle of the Eons,” each version revealing his iterative process and evolving vision. Draft A1, written circa July 1925, is a captivating blend of adventure and mysticism, embodying Howard’s flair for the dramatic and the supernatural. This draft introduces readers to a tale of survival, ancient curses, and mysterious islands, showcasing Howard’s talent for weaving intricate narratives that transport readers to fantastical worlds.

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The story begins with a dramatic scene of a sea battle in the dead of night, where the protagonist finds himself clinging to a piece of wreckage after his ship is sunk by enemy forces. Amid the chaos, he encounters a Dutch sailor, and despite their initial antagonism, they form an uneasy alliance to survive the perils of the open sea.

Drifting on the remnants of their vessel, the two men face numerous challenges, including the relentless sun, thirst, and circling sharks. Their ordeal is compounded by the mysterious appearance of a distant island. As they approach, the island’s perilous shoals and monstrous marine life threaten their lives further, but they miraculously make it to the island’s shore.

Exploring the island, they discover an array of ancient ruins, including unscalable cliffs, hidden passages, and strange carvings. Their journey leads them to a vast network of caves where they encounter eerie, slithering creatures and other inexplicable phenomena. In the caverns, they find a massive idol that seems almost alive, hinting at the island’s sinister past.

The protagonists’ explorations uncover the remnants of an advanced, long-lost civilization. They decipher carvings and inscriptions that tell the story of an ancient people who worshipped the god Ke-Nahaa. This deity, represented by a grotesque idol, is tied to dark rituals and human sacrifices. The Dutchman, who has knowledge of ancient scripts and legends, deciphers much of the lore, revealing a past filled with magic and mysticism.

Their ordeal intensifies as they encounter more of the island’s dark secrets, including a massive, predatory octopus and a hidden, music-producing cliff that nearly drives them mad. They also find evidence of an ancient curse linking their fates to the island, suggesting that they have been there before in another life.

The narrative culminates in a series of harrowing confrontations with the island’s supernatural inhabitants. The Dutchman, obsessed with the island’s mysteries and the promise of the elixir of life, becomes increasingly unhinged. The story ends on a cliffhanger, with the protagonists continuing to search for a way to escape the island’s grasp while grappling with the haunting realization that their destinies are inextricably tied to its ancient horrors.


  • Protagonist (Unnamed): The narrator and central character, a resilient sailor who survives a shipwreck and explores the mysterious island.
  • Dutchman: A fellow survivor with knowledge of ancient civilizations and languages, aiding in deciphering the island’s secrets.
  • Nayah: An ancient high-priest of Ke-Nahaa, mentioned in the inscriptions, who played a crucial role in the island’s dark history.
  • Ke-Nahaa: The god worshipped by the island’s ancient inhabitants, represented by a grotesque idol.
  • Ka-Ha: The last son of Ke-Nahaa, granted immortality and responsible for some of the island’s current dangers.
  • Neptune: Mentioned as a deity opposed by the followers of Ke-Nahaa, symbolizing the conflict between different religious factions of the ancient world.

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