Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Conan Chronicles - Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague De Camp and Lin Carter

Yes, this was an earlier book called Conan Chronicles. A nice compilation of Conan, Conan of Cimmeria, and Conan the Freebooter. The first three Lancer Conan paperbacks put together by de Camp and Carter. A little bit higher quality I think, and the maps look better. This edition is from Sphere.


This compilation contains :-

Howard's Letter to Miller

The Hyborian Age


This is not a story as such, but an account of the fictional history of Howard's world through the ages, to the time of Kull and Atlantis down to the entitled time when Conan ran amok. Quite nicely done.

4 out of 5

The Thing in the Crypt

A young Conan has been fighting wolves, and they are still after him. He finds a door in a rock wall, but it leads him to an encounter with a skeletal mummy thing. He learns why DnD clerics use maces against the undead, and manages to get out of there.

3 out of 5

The Tower of the Elephant


Conan is in thieving mode here. In a tavern, he is asking the assembled crowd of nogoodniks why no-one has stolen a famous jewel from this tower.

They tell him because it is guarded by some very nasty things.

He, of course, investigates, and meets a master thief attempting the same thing.

Humans, animals, a giant spider and a wizard are to be encountered, not to mention an alien.

3.5 out of 5

The Hall of the Dead

De Camp completed this from an outline of Howard's that was found. Conan has left Shadrizar to look for the treasure of Larsha, and a squad of soldiers, out to arrest him for other larceny are on his trail.

He deals with most of them, but the leader, Nestor is not dead and follows him into the city, meeting him in the treasure room after he deals with a giant slug.

They leave, quickly, when mummified warriors come to life and the building starts collapsing. Their loot is not too stable, and not enjoyed for long.

3 out of 5

The God in the Bowl

Conan is indulging in a bit of thievery and is busted by the local constabulary, right near a dead body. Conan proclaims his innocence, which they find hard to believe, but are not going to fight him over it.

Some digging reveals a local wastrel nobel is involved, up to ears in debt, but he ends up with a few problems with the God In the Bowl, of the mortal kind. When he orders Conan restrained, the constabulary lose a few body parts, and others more than that.

3 out of 5

Rogues in the House


Conan is yet again in trouble because of drinking and wenching. A crime has gone wrong, and a woman he was with has betrayed him to the authorities.

He is offered a way out, if he will kill a man. This man is Nabonidus, The Red Priest.

The only problems involve breaking in, a huge hulking ape-man servant, and then The Red Priest himself and his powers.

3.5 out of 5

The Hand of Nergal

Another story fleshed out from an outline.

Conan is fighting as Turanian irregular cavalry when large mystical bat creatures attack the force he is fighting with. Their morale breaks, leaving them easy prey, all except the Cimmerian who happens to have found The Heart of Tammuz amulet.

A local scholar sends his girl slave to find Conan and hire him to help him get rid of the evil sorceror using The Hand of Nergal to summon the bat creatures, and worse.

Conan is not able to do much, and is a lot of trouble until the girl arrives, and is able to employ the amulet. As a reward, he takes her with him, out of servitude.

3.5 out of 5

The City of Skulls

A pretty ordinary story. Conan's Turanian warrior band is destroyed by Meruvian raiders. He is taken captive there, with a friend and a girl. A spider-idol monster causes some havoc.

2 out of 5

3.5 out of 5

Conan of Cimmeria

This contains

The Curse of the Monolith
The Bloodstained God
The Frost Giant's Daughter
The Lair of the Ice Worm
The Queen of the Black Coast
The Castle of Terror
The Snout in the Dark

Conan, by dint of prowess is now a Turanian captain. He is sent on a mission to Khitai. The foppy type he takes along lures him into a night quest by promise of treasure.

Conan is none to pleased to learn he is to be a human sacrifice, instead.

Now, said magic using fop guy. Out of all the band, and people, he picks Conan?

What is Khitan for fracking stupid?

3 out of 5

Conan has deserted Turan, and is on the trail of treasure in the Kezankian mountains. Can't trust anyone in this bunch of treasure hunters.

The statue he is after is something he decides he definitely doesn't want, after all.

2.5 out of 5


Conan meets a very pale woman after fighting a battle in the frozen north. She is haughty, and arrogant, and summons a couple of her brothers to fight Conan. Giant men they might be, but the Cimmerian grabs them, and then grabs the girl.

She calls to her father Ymir, and disappears. Conan wakes up - was it all a dream?

4 out of 5

Conan, uneasy after his encounter with the Frost Giant's Daughter, heads south.

He saves a girl from a pack of white hairy beast men only to lose her in the tunnel of the ice worm. He barely makes it out himself.

3 out of 5

Download Queen of the Black Coast

One of the classic Conan stories. The barbarian goes a-reavin', and finds another of the rare women that can match him. Belit has fire, and presence, and command, but again, it does not end well. Highly recommended.

4.5 out of 5

Conan is war chief of the Bamulas, and the story is told from the point of view of an Ophirean woman that is a captive of the group he is leading.

She talks him into letting her go by offering herself to him, for variety. He doesn't hold her to it, however, knowing that would be wrong, and lets her go.

She manages to get herself into trouble in the vale, where the women she finds definitely are not human. The Cimmerian, luckily for her, had been following her trail, and arrives just in time, another day at the office for him :

"A devil from the Outer Dark," he grunted. "Oh, they're nothing uncommon."

3.5 out of 5

It all piles on the barbarian here. He has to leave his Bamulas warrior chief post due to racism.

Travelling through the Kushian grasslands a pride of lions decide he would be quite tasty, being so young and meaty. He fights off lions for a while, but runs out of arrows and has to run.

Amazingly, he comes to a black onyx tower, and the lions won't enter. Everything is dead around it.

He enters due to having no choice, but his superstitious barbarian self is worried, and he sleeps uneasily.

He is right, because a whole bunch of slavers turn up, and a hundred headed monster promptly appears and starts slaughtering them with its bare hands, head ripping off and all that good stuff.

He takes one of their horses and leaves, to take his chance with the lions.

3.5 out of 5

A short draft. A popular military officer is imprisoned by a dangerous queen type. When she returns from hunting, the population is beginning to turn ugly, and tries to tear her from her horse.

A large, scarred Cimmerian is nearby, and manages to rescue her, not without injury to either.

She promptly orders her Captain of the Guard slain, and gives Conan the job. He is not displeased to be the captain for a good looking naked and bleeding ruler, at least for now.

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

Conan the Freebooter

This has


A fun passage from the intro :-

"...If, on the other hand, you insist on realism in your readin--if you must have novels about introverts suffering in a brutal world--if your
meat is something "close to the soil" or concerned with psychopathology or the state of the world, then, my friend, this book is not for you.
You'd better find yourself a hole and read Crime and Punishment. But I won't be there with you--I have an engagement in the Hyborian Age, and
will be busy all evening.

John D. Clark, PhD."

One of the rewritten from another Howard story into a Conan story jobs.

In Shem, a local king has gone the whole extremely repressive Islam style no fun city thing. No drinking, gambling, women wandering around, etc., etc. Thinks he is a god, as well.

As such, Conan is not having a great time, and is more than happy to lend a hand in changing the leadership to a variety that isn't so insane.

2.5 out of 5


Princess Yasmeela is visited by the sorceror Natokh, in an unearthly appartion. Terrified, she consults the oracle of Mitra, who tells her to make the first man she sees head of her armies.

It is her good fortune that this man is Conan. Her understands her political and military problems, and leads her army in war against the forces of Natokh, who has a resurrected monster up his sleeve.

Carnage ensues.

4 out of 5


Conan comes across an Hyrkanian battle leader who has slaughtered the mercenaries he was with. He slays him and allows a girl the dead man had captured to come with him.

Attempting escape they come across pirates, a man ape, and spooky statues at night.

4 out of 5

Another historical story adapted to a Conan tale.

Conan is now leading a Red Brotherhood band of pirates, and a general has been sent to clear them out. Bad luck for everyone, really.

A younger prince has been exiled into the care of a bandit, rather than killed.

Add in a somewhat too hasty woman, pirates, brigands, and soldiers, and some vampire monsters, and Conan is happy to leave for somewhere else.

3 out of 5


A bad problem to have - how do you tell which of two women is the very evil twin. Luckily, our favorite barbarian is a very pragmatic man. Excellent and evocative, this story.

4.5 out of 5

4 out of 5

4.5 out of 5

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