Now this is a yarn! One of my favorite Robert E. Howard stories, and one of my favorite WEIRD TALES covers, with art by the great J. Allen St. John. This story is considered part of the Cthulhu Mythos, and rightly so, but for most of its length it's a classic adventure tale with one of Howard's two-fisted American adventurers in the Middle East, Steve Clarney, who, along with his Afghan sidekick Yar Ali, ventures into the desert to find a lost city where a fantastic, mysterious gem known as the Fire of Asshurbanipal rests in the skeletal hand of a long-dead emperor. Along the way they have to battle Bedouin bandits and an Arab outlaw and slave-trader.
Well, even if you've never read this story (and I'll bet most of you have, some multiple times like me), you can guess that Steve and Yar Ali will find what they're looking for, and more besides, and it's that more that ties this yarn in with Cthulhu and his outfit. If I have one quibble with the story, it's that our heroes act more like Lovecraft protagonists in the end, rather Howard protagonists, but I can accept that in exchange for all the great stuff along the way. I reread this in the Del Rey edition THE HORROR STORIES OF ROBERT E. HOWARD and thought it held up just fine.