Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Conan Chronicles Volume 2 : The Hour of the Dragon - Robert E. Howard

This is subtitled the 'Hour of the Dragon' to confuse people a little, but it does contain that novel.

The second part of a Fantasy Masterworks double by Orion/Gollancz that collects all the Robert E. Howard Conan stories. It also has his poem 'Cimmeria' and the Notes on the Peoples of the Hyborian Age. This again has an afterword by Stephen Jones.

The contents:

Notes on Various Peoples of the Hyborian Age
Red Nails
Jewels of Gwahlur
Beyond the Black River
The Black Stranger
Wolves Beyond the Border
The Phoenix on the Sword
The Scarlet Citadel
The Hour of the Dragon


Red Nails

Download Conan - Red Nails

Conan is travelling, finds a dead woman, and then encounters Valeria of the Red Brotherhood. After trading some insults, they have the misfortune to stumble across a dragon.

Then they have fun in an abandoned city full of crazed warriors, two evil leering royals, and a third undeed type one. Capture, bondage, slayage, all the great stuff in this tale of a fantastic partnership.

5 out of 5



Jewels of Gwahlur

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600761.txt

To quote Mr. Howard - "Conan was basically a direct-actionist. Such subtlety as he possessed
had been acquired through contact with the more devious races."

and when a woman tries some subterfuge, about being a goddess :

"Why, you sacrilegious little hussy!" rumbled Conan. "Do you not fear
the gods? Crom! Is there no honesty anywhere?"

For military reasons, Conan has to get the Teeth of Gwahlur from their hiding place in a mystic castle before his political and military opposition.

He decides he can get the girl Muriela to run the same scam she tried on him, on some others. The only problem is that the real goddess Yelaya shows up! Then it is time to scarper, sharpish.


4.5 out of 5


Beyond the Black River

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600741.txt

Conan is working around a fort on the border of Aquilonia, when many tribes of Picts, united by the wizard Zogar Sag, combine to attack.

Conan takes out a scouting party to see what goes on, but they are ambushed, and most captured and killed, except one man, that he rescues. The wizard summons beasts by virtue of the powers of an old god, whom Conan is familiar with. With the help of an old dog, Slasher, Conan and his companion try and get the settlers to safety, while the fort is overrun.

Zogar Sag makes a mistake when he sends a fleshly avatar to try and destroy Conan. The barbarian kills the avatar, which destroys the wizard, and the Pictish invasion is over.

4.5 out of 5


The Black Stranger

A tale of three brigands, that starts slow, and then rip-roars along. With multiple pirates, you know there has to be a treasure map. This time, to the Treasure of Tranicos.

Add in a mystical demon warrior, a bunch of raiding Picts, a couple of sieges, three pirates that can't trust each other, a beautiful woman, and Conan, and all hell will break loose.

4 out of 5


Wolves Beyond the Border (draft)

This is pretty much a Conanless Conan story. Conan is away fighting in Aquilonian and we follow a man in the Westmerck near the Picts as he encounters shapeshifting and beast magic.

2.5 out of 5


The Phoenix on the Sword

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600811.txt

King Conan is bored. Politics and statecraft and maps, and all that stuff.

In a dream, a man magically enhances his sword, and that certainly comes in handy later when the odd traitor and demon relieves the tedium of the ruling class.

3.5 out of 5


The Scarlet Citadel

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600821.txt

King Conan's army of Aquilonians has been smashed by a far superior force, led by a wizard. Conan refuses to sign over his kingdom, and the wizard throws him in a dungeon.

He escapes an assassin and a monster, and rescues a wizardly rival that Tsotha had imprisoned. This wizard, please, summons a flying steed to bear Conan back to his kingdom, to take revenge.

4.5 out of 5


The Hour of the Dragon

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600981.txt

The novel length Conan work. An aging Conan is now in a position of responsibility, being King of Aquilonia.

His reign is threatened by a very powerful sorcerer, whom Conan is unable to stop by mundane means, and must take himself off hunting for a mystic artifact.

Having done this, there is some wizard smiting to be done.

Top notch work.

5 out of 5



5 out of 5

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