It is a novel book. Techotl pointed to a black column of ebony which stood behind the dais. Hundreds of red dots scarred its polished surface — the bright scarlet heads of heavy copper nails driven into the black wood'.Five red nails for five Xotalanca lives!' exulted Techotl, and the horrible exultation in the faces of the listeners made them inhuman'.Red Nails' begins in the jungles far to the south of any known civilized or barbarian lands. Valeria of the Red Brotherhood enters this wilderness, fleeing persecution after killing a would-be rapist. She is followed into the wilderness by Conan, a fellow adventurer who hopes to make her his woman. They meet and quarrel, but their stand-off is interrupted by a "dragon" (actually a dinosaur, though described with the characteristics of a stegosaurus and an allosaur) that mauls their horses. They retreat to a crag the monster cannot scale, but are trapped without food or water. Conan recognizes some poisonous fruit growing nearby; they juice it to coat the tip of a spear, and pierce the jaws of the monster with it. Although blinded, the raging monster pursues them by their scent. Overtaken, Conan whirls to face the beast and lures it to its death.