The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian: The Original Adventures of the Greatest Sword-and-Sorcery Hero of All Time! by Robert E. Howard
illustrated by Mark Schultz
materials originally published 1932-1976
DelRey, 1st edition, 2005
Genre: Fantasy, sword & sandals, short stories, adventure!
Jacket copy: “Between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities . . . there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars. . . . Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand . . . to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.”
Conan is one of the greatest fictional heroes ever created–a swordsman who cuts a swath across the lands of the Hyborian Age, facing powerful sorcerers, deadly creatures, and ruthless armies of thieves and reavers.
In a meteoric career that spanned a mere twelve years before his tragic suicide, Robert E. Howard single-handedly invented the genre that came to be called sword and sorcery. Collected in this volume, profusely illustrated by artist Mark Schultz, are Howard’s first thirteen Conan stories, appearing in their original versions–in some cases for the first time in more than seventy years–and in the order Howard wrote them. Along with classics of dark fantasy like “The Tower of the Elephant” and swashbuckling adventure like “Queen of the Black Coast,” The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian contains a wealth of material never before published in the United States, including the first submitted draft of Conan’s debut, “Phoenix on the Sword,” Howard’s synopses for “The Scarlet Citadel” and “Black Colossus,” and a map of Conan’s world drawn by the author himself.
Here are timeless tales featuring Conan the raw and dangerous youth, Conan the daring thief, Conan the swashbuckling pirate, and Conan the commander of armies. Here, too, is an unparalleled glimpse into the mind of a genius whose bold storytelling style has been imitated by many, yet equaled by none.
Book report: So, I dig Conan. I totally dig Conan, from the stories to the movies. (Basil Poledouris’ score for Conan the Barbarian is one of the greatest film scores of ALL TIME. I listen to it constantly. We played the “Anvil of Crom” at our wedding, in fact. That is how much I love Conan. And how much of a huge dork I am.) I love the idea of Conan, and that exotic, crazy world in which he lives. It’s totally awesome, and I want to go there–but just for a visit. Now, I’ve discussed Conan before, and the treatment REH’s creation suffered at the hands of MONSTERS in the decades following his death, so I probably don’t need to go into that again. Read the rest of this entry »
Conan the Swordsman by L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter, and Björn Nyberg
Bantam, 1st printing, 1978
Genre: fantasy, adventure, sword & sorcery
Synopsis & Review: Before he wore the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow, Conan the Cimmerian (or more popularly, Conan the Barbarian) traveled the Hyborian world. From Asgard in the north to Vendhya in the east he wandered, from southern Stygia to the Barachan Isles of the west, and into the Pictish Wilderness. He was a thief, a pirate, a mercenary, and a general. He battled men, demons, and monsters. He was Conan the Swordsman.
Oh, hells yes. In theory. You see, though Robert E. Howard created Conan, after his too-shirt career and too-early death, the Conan stories became a lucrative franchise, with more stories, novels, and even comics, games, movies, and television series, both animated and live action. These later pastiches were written by the likes of L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter, Björn Nyberg, Robert Jordan, Poul Anderson, Leonard Carpenter, and Harry Turtledove, among others. Some of Howard’s original works were even expurgated of some content, and also revised and rewritten, notably by Cater and de Camp. And in the comics and movies, Conan and the Hyborian world differed noticeably from Howard’s depiction. Due to the vast body of work (over fifty novels and dozens of short stories) and the many and varied writers, there is not even one agreed upon chronology of Conan’s life, but five. Of course the quality varies drastically, some writers being accomplished in their own right, while other efforts are simply elevated fan fiction. click here to continue reading about my Conan adventures