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Conan the Barbarian: The Complete Collection (Heron Classics)

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- The Phoenix on the Sword - The Scarlet Citadel - The Tower of the Elephant - Black Colossus - The Slithering Shadow - The Pool of the Black One - Gods of the North - Rogues in the House - Shadows in the Moonlight - Queen of the Black Coast - The Devil in Iron - The People of the Black Circle - A Witch Shall be Born - Jewels of Gwahlur - Beyond the Black River - Shadows in Zamboula - Red - The Phoenix on the Sword - The Scarlet Citadel - The Tower of the Elephant - Black Colossus - The Slithering Shadow - The Pool of the Black One - Gods of the North - Rogues in the House - Shadows in the Moonlight - Queen of the Black Coast - The Devil in Iron - The People of the Black Circle - A Witch Shall be Born - Jewels of Gwahlur - Beyond the Black River - Shadows in Zamboula - Red Nails - The Hour of the Dragon - The Hyborian Age Conan xConan the Barbarian xConan the Barbarian complete xconan the barbarian the complete collection x


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- The Phoenix on the Sword - The Scarlet Citadel - The Tower of the Elephant - Black Colossus - The Slithering Shadow - The Pool of the Black One - Gods of the North - Rogues in the House - Shadows in the Moonlight - Queen of the Black Coast - The Devil in Iron - The People of the Black Circle - A Witch Shall be Born - Jewels of Gwahlur - Beyond the Black River - Shadows in Zamboula - Red - The Phoenix on the Sword - The Scarlet Citadel - The Tower of the Elephant - Black Colossus - The Slithering Shadow - The Pool of the Black One - Gods of the North - Rogues in the House - Shadows in the Moonlight - Queen of the Black Coast - The Devil in Iron - The People of the Black Circle - A Witch Shall be Born - Jewels of Gwahlur - Beyond the Black River - Shadows in Zamboula - Red Nails - The Hour of the Dragon - The Hyborian Age Conan xConan the Barbarian xConan the Barbarian complete xconan the barbarian the complete collection x

30 review for Conan the Barbarian: The Complete Collection (Heron Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lanko

    Took me two months to read it, since it's a collection of short works (and one novel) that I didn't read everyday, but now I'm finished. And I believe not reading all the stories in one go is the best way to savor them best. Here we simply have why Conan is a character who stood the test of time, remaining an iconic, almost archetypal character almost a century later. Thief, pirate, king, mercenary, he has been and can be a placeholder for everything you can imagine. One thing that stood out for m Took me two months to read it, since it's a collection of short works (and one novel) that I didn't read everyday, but now I'm finished. And I believe not reading all the stories in one go is the best way to savor them best. Here we simply have why Conan is a character who stood the test of time, remaining an iconic, almost archetypal character almost a century later. Thief, pirate, king, mercenary, he has been and can be a placeholder for everything you can imagine. One thing that stood out for me the most was Conan's intelligence and creativity. Because of the movies and other people milking the franchise (since Howard, the creator, died young) the image most common depicted or thought of him is the brainless barbarian, all brawn and nothing else. Conan schemes, sees political scenarios clearly, haggle with merchants, seduces, commands armies with precision and out thinks his opponents. Also, Conan is often imprisoned and even bested sometimes. He needs help of other people a lot of times. He isn't invincible, completely getting out of everything thrown at him by himself. A man, even one like Conan, is not an island after all. Another thing that's refreshing is the style and pace. If you read a lot of fantasy it's inescapable that you will read novels with pages upon pages of location descriptions, meals, exposition, worldbuilding, secondary characters, tertiary characters, sub-plots, sub sub-plots, flashbacks, etc. In Conan for the most part everything is direct and straight to the point. It's simple, efficient and no less vivid. It's a nice change to just have a story with beginning and end in 3-5 chapters. Of course, some stories will be good and even be surprising, considering their length, while others not so. Also surprising is the portrayal of women. Yes, there are some damsels, but also a pirate woman, a warrior woman, queens, princesses, merchants, sorceresses, priestesses, dancers, aristocrats, etc. Looking now, women are represented in every possible position in the society of Conan's world, and this was written in the 30's, something that would make a lot of pseudo "progressive" authors blush. And no, he doesn't always get the girl at the end. Although he does most of the time. He is Conan, the apex of manliness, after all. And even when that happens, Howard is careful to portray everything through the woman's own POV. The work isn't without it's own flaws, of course. I thought the writing would be a bit dated, but it's actually not. It's even better than some recent fiction I've read in the past years. Most of it wouldn't have any problems today. But at other parts it does show it is a product of almost a century ago. Maybe people can get a bit tired of reading Conan's description, but they have to remember the author never dreamed of one day all his stories would be collected in a huge anthology. He was a pulp writer, and although fast, it could be weeks or months between stories, I believe. But the most glaring one is that in some stories, including the novel included, sometimes things happen a bit too conveniently in Conan's favor. Like super powerful wizards suddenly being not so powerful. Or when escaping certain situations. Or maybe the excessive use of necromancers as villains. Luck affects real-life ans is often shunned in fiction ("everything has to have a purpose or be foreshadowed"), but this can be challenged and used to good effect (like in The Folding Knife), but here I think sometimes was a bit excessive. But no work is without some flaws, and they are very minor in the grand enjoyment of the overall work. Like I said it earlier, I would recommend not to try to read it in one-go, but to savor it slowly.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michael Sorbello

    The Phoenix on the Sword - 3/5 Conan is a hardcore badass that loves danger, adventure and beautiful maidens as much as he enjoys bashing in some heads with heavy weapons; man and monster alike. He might not be the deepest in terms of character, but you have to admire the sheer amount of adrenaline, excitement and gory intensity he delivers with nearly every scene he's involved in. Although this is the first tale in the Conan series, it takes place near the very end of his journey in terms of chr The Phoenix on the Sword - 3/5 Conan is a hardcore badass that loves danger, adventure and beautiful maidens as much as he enjoys bashing in some heads with heavy weapons; man and monster alike. He might not be the deepest in terms of character, but you have to admire the sheer amount of adrenaline, excitement and gory intensity he delivers with nearly every scene he's involved in. Although this is the first tale in the Conan series, it takes place near the very end of his journey in terms of chronology. The prose in this tale is incredibly vivid but it's also a bit messy and hard to follow at times, Robert's writing improved immensely as the series progressed. Hour of the Dragon for example is one of my all time favorite sword & sorcery books. Even though it's not quite up to par with the later Conan tales, it's still an entertaining introduction to the legendary barbarian himself. *** The Frost-Giant's Daughter - 3/5 A battle between Conan's companions and a war-party of Vanir ends with Conan, the sole survivor of his band, facing the final surviving Vanir, Heimdul. Conan is victorious but so weakened he collapses onto the battlefield. In a dreamlike state, Conan encounters Atali, the daughter of the god Ymir, in the frozen wastes of the north and chases after her as she lures him with demeaning taunts and laughter. Conan exerts himself from chasing her until he passes out, waking up to discover that quite a few of his companions actually survived and came to his rescue while he was unconscious. Upon being reunited with his companions, Conan tells them the story of his strange encounter with the Frost Giant's Daughter. This tale steers away from action and adventure in favor of a bit of slapstick humor featuring our barbarian Conan. *** The God in the Bowl - 3/5 Conan plies his trade as a thief in the city of Numalia. He is caught while attempting to steal a valuable object from a museum and becomes the suspect in the death of the museum's owner. It's a taste of bloody Conan action with a detective fiction twist. The story primarily takes place over a long interrogation scene that's surprisingly well-crafted for an early fantasy tale. The twist at the end was certainly neat, but it was very rushed and could've had more build-up. It was nice to see the unshakable barbarian get a taste of fear. *** The Tower of the Elephant - 4/5 This story really serves to flesh out the lore and history of Conan's world, adding a ton of context and emotional value to all of the previous stories as well as all that came after it. Conan teams up with the master thief Taurus to climb the Tower of the Elephant in order to obtain a rare jewel that awaits them at the very top. On their way up the tower, they encounter a massive spider and things turn nasty. After dealing with the spider, Conan makes it to the top of the tower and encounters something otherworldly. Conan’s meeting with the Lovecraftian entity is reminiscent to the wonderfully eldritch encounter in Lovecraft's Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath. We learn a lot about the lore, the setting and the history of Conan's age which adds a much-needed layer of world-building to make the stories feel more realistic. *** The Scarlet Citadel - 3/5 Conan teams up with the mysterious sorcerer Pelias who happens to share Conan's desire for revenge against the man threatening his kingdom. After being captured through treachery and thrown into an eldritch dungeon, Conan escapes with Pelias's help and the two unleash chaos against their imprisoners. It's a massive battle sequence, an orgiastic clash of blades and magic. The story was on the weaker side but I enjoyed seeing the sadistic, shapeshifting sorcerer Pelias in action alongside Conan's usual chaotic antics. *** Queen of the Black Coast - 4/5 Conan joins the pirate crew of Bêlit, Queen of the Black Coast, until the exploration of an ancient city and an encounter with the primordial creature that dwells within wreak havoc on the crew. Fun, exciting and the prose is candy for the eyes. It's everything I look for in a Conan story and it's a nice follow-up to Iron Shadows in the Moon which ended abruptly. My only complaint this time around is that the villain/monster felt underwhelming and had no time to develop compared to many other villains in the series. The final battle was flashy and cool, but it lacked emotional substance because of the lack of characterization. Other than that, still Conan at its finest with lots of bloody, sexy action. *** Black Colossus - 4/5 Princess Yasmela, the city of Khoraja's remaining sovereign, has been haunted by the terrifying apparitions of the evil wizard Natohk. When Natohk threatens to bring his demonic hordes to Khoraja, Yasmela prays to the god Mitra for help. Mitra responds and tells her to place the fate of her entire kingdom into the hands of the first man she meets out in the city streets, and that man just so happens to be a drunk and feisty Conan. Not quite as adventurous or horrific as the best works in the series, but a clean and fun ride with a creepy villain nonetheless. It was also nice seeing Conan show off his skills in front of a bunch of prudish nobles that looked down on him as a savage unworthy of their attention or respect. *** Iron Shadows in the Moon - 3/5 Escaping a massacre that claimed his army, Conan and an abandoned princess make their way to a haunted and occupied island at the same time as a band of pirates. A fairly fun voyage, but no exciting conclusion happens as the story cuts off very abruptly and sets itself up for the next volume. I feel like both volumes should've just been included in the same story since this is literally just one half of something with no conclusion. Other than that big gripe, the writing and pacing is still superb and I hope the next volume does this one justice for all it has set up. Conan becomes the leader of a pirate crew which could prove to be a fun little escapade. *** Xuthal of the Dusk - 4/5 Driven by the intense heat of the desert, Conan and his lovely companion seek water and food in a nearby city. Conan and his companion Natala discover the nearly-abandoned city of Xuthal in the desert, occupied only by a Stygian witch and a shadowy demon. The city of Xuthal is full of haunting imagery, as all of its inhabitants are frozen in a state of constant dreaming. Anyone that dares to wake them will be shown no mercy. It's a chilling premise with a strong Lovecraftian horror vibe. Despite how nightmarish the story is, the ending is surprisingly humorous and it left me with a smile on my face after finishing the tale. *** The Pool of the Black One - 3/5 Conan makes himself the captain of a pirate vessel and travels to a remote island with a mysterious pool that has powers of transmutation. The violence, action and excitement were all on point as usual, but the elements of racism in this particular tale were unnecessary to the point of being uncomfortable to read. I prefer watching Conan wage epic battles against horrifying demons and armies of mad soldiers, not engage in racist drivel. *** Rogues in the House - 4/5 Conan is drawn into a feud between a priest and a nobleman in Corinthia which leads him to be trapped in a decrepit house that contains a terrifying beast within it. Very simplistic in comparison to many other tales in the series, which is not a bad thing by any means. Instead of focusing on expanding the lore and the development of Conan, we have a straightforward plot about taking down a brutal baddie to settle a deadly dispute. Lots of horrific imagery and badass action scenes. No more, no less. Pure and simple fun. *** The Devil in Iron - 3/5 While pursuing an enslaved princess, Conan is led into a trap on a seemingly abandoned island. On this island, Conan discovers a slumbered, resurrected city which is watched over by an ancient evil. It reads like several of the older stories stitched together with a few unrealized new ideas. Not bad, but it feels a bit uninspired at times and doesn’t bring anything new to the expanding universe. Just like Queen of the Black Coast, the villain doesn’t offer much either and the ending after Conan saves the girl feels awkward because he forces herself on her a bit too hard. She takes a liking to Conan, but it still feels a bit cringy. *** The Vale of Lost Women - 1/5 I think this is the absolute worst of the Conan stories. I’ve enjoyed many of them and even gave Hour of the Dragon a 5 Star review, but this one is just scathing with racism, sexism and a lousy plot that can’t save it in any way. A shame. *** The Hour of the Dragon - 5/5 The Hour of the Dragon is worth five stars alone. It combines all of the greatest elements from every other story in the Conan saga while excluding their flaws. It's an adrenaline-filled slugfest with nearly 200 pages worth of war, epic bloody battles and savage warriors against supernatural abominations. The action was incredible and the characterization of Conan is more mature and complex than ever before. The ending is surprisingly heartwarming as we watch a slave girl become a queen while Conan reclaims something precious that he once lost. A fitting finale for the legendary conqueror. *** A Witch Shall Be Born - 4.5/5 A Witch Shall Be Born is a story about a queen that is dethroned by her evil twin that was once thrown out into the desert and left to die because she was born with the mark of a witch. The outcasted sister builds up her powerful magic and hatred over the years and turns it against the kingdom that left her to die. The sister steals the queen's place on the throne and commits countless atrocities in her name. Conan comes along to make the evil sister pay for her crimes and restore the glory of the true queen. A thrilling tale of deception and sisterly betrayal. I ended up feeling a bit sorry for the villain this time around, I can't blame her for hating a world that cursed her to such a tragic fate the moment she was born. Salome is one of the most sympathetic villains in the entire Conan the Barbarian series. *** The People of the Black Circle - 4/5 Hill Chieftain Conan heads into the Himalayan Mountains to rescue the Vendhyan queen, as Turanians, Afghulis, and Irakzais are caught in the machinations of demonic sorcerers of the Black Circle. It's a visceral, bloody and blindingly fast fantasy adventure that keeps up a consistent pace. It's an adrenaline rush from beginning to end. *** Red Nails - 4/5 Wandering across the scorching desert in search of adventure, Conan stumbles upon the beautiful and fearsome pirate Valeria. After narrowly escaping from a dragon by making clever use of a poison fruit, Conan and Valeria take refuge in an entirely walled and enclosed city named Xuchotl where generations of inhabitants have waged war against each other for hundreds of years. Conan and Valeria get swept up into some nasty affairs between the two warring clans, a storm of swords and demonic sorcerey rages throughout the city until the warriors put an end to the insane clans war once and for all. It's a haunting and visceral story with lots of bloody action on par with Hour of the Dragon. *** Jewels of Gwahlur - 3/5 Conan battles his way through Gwahlur in search of ancient jewels and riches but ends up empty handed. Although his original mission ended in failure, he got to experience the thrill of bloodshed and brought a girl that resembled a real goddess back home with him, so perhaps his journey for treasure wasn't a total waste after all. Not the best of Conan, but still a fun and quick read. *** Beyond the Black River - 3.5/5 Conan teams up with a warrior named Balthus in an attempt to thwart the conquests of the Pictish sorcerer Zogar Sag. Just like People of the Black Circle, it's a nonstop adrenaline fest with lots of blood and guts. *** The Black Stranger - 3/5 The story begins with Conan fleeing for the hills after being pursued by a flock of angered tribesman. While fleeing, the tribesman give up their chase upon reaching a peculiar hill that stands out from all the others. The hill turns out to hold a treasure cave along with the preserved bodies of a pirate captain, Tranicos. Conan's attempt to remove the treasure proves futile, as a demon of mist appears and attempts to strangle him. He barely escapes with his life, leaving the treasure undisturbed. After getting away, Conan forms a thieves pact with several groups of feuding pirates to steal the forbidden treasure. Little do they know however, each person involved in the pact are manipulating each other and have a plan to dispose of each of the opposing groups once they've gotten their hands on the treasure. Debauchery, betrayal and cunning pirate trickery ensue until the last man gets away with what they came for. *** Shadows in Zamboula - 3/5 Conan helps a dancer named Zabibi save her insane lover from a flock of cannibals and evil priests that are terrorizing her desert town. Conan fights his way through the cannibal horde does what he does best. The action was good and the setting was interesting, but the story was often ruined by a lot of unnecessary racist undertones.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Darjeeling

    Timeless classic. The authors method was surprisingly similar to Tolkien in that he essentially had a 'design document', a set of rules about the world he wanted to create that he referred back to. Another interesting thing is how familiar the stories will be to anyone who has played Dungeons and Dragons, or pretty much any fantasy themed videogame. The hero spends a great deal of time in dungeons filled with traps and wandering monsters. And this was written before D&D, and all those videogames, Timeless classic. The authors method was surprisingly similar to Tolkien in that he essentially had a 'design document', a set of rules about the world he wanted to create that he referred back to. Another interesting thing is how familiar the stories will be to anyone who has played Dungeons and Dragons, or pretty much any fantasy themed videogame. The hero spends a great deal of time in dungeons filled with traps and wandering monsters. And this was written before D&D, and all those videogames, so it's weird how 'gamey' many of the stories feel. Enter dungeon, kill monsters, rescue princess/treasure. But then I remembered that these themes are archetypal, basically timeless narratives carved into our DNA. Of course the hero has to go deep into the bowels of some foul demonic dungeon to find that which is valuable. Where else would valuable things be found? In Sterquilinis Invenitur.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Conan. It took a barbarian's strength to push through this whole thing. It was a test of endurance for me. Not because I didn't like the stories, just because there was so much of the same thing stacked up in one place! This collection was assembled (as I understand it) from multiple novels that were not originally part of the same work. What happens when they are lumped together is that you get a repetition of phrasing you might not otherwise notice. Comparisons to wolves and tigers using the sa Conan. It took a barbarian's strength to push through this whole thing. It was a test of endurance for me. Not because I didn't like the stories, just because there was so much of the same thing stacked up in one place! This collection was assembled (as I understand it) from multiple novels that were not originally part of the same work. What happens when they are lumped together is that you get a repetition of phrasing you might not otherwise notice. Comparisons to wolves and tigers using the same descriptors gets really old – quickly. I see clearly where the inspiration for Frazetta and so many others comes from. This is a cornerstone in the building that is modern fantasy. There are many, many things that clearly descend from this ancestor. At the same time, it does have issues. IF you decide to take the challenge and plow through this whole thing, be prepared for turns of phrases that are out of date. Prepare for the use of language that has developed different connotations over the intervening eighty years or so – giving an odd flavor to the text despite the technically correct usage of certain words. Also be prepared for characters that are placed / labeled or otherwise called out based on their physical descriptions. Any non-white persons in this book are judged and categorized based on that fact. I don't know if that was the opinion of the author or a shorthand sort of cheat. Why develop a villain when all I need to say is “he was of the darkest jungle with fuzzy hair and sharpened teeth”? It's uncomfortable and makes certain aspects of the book less enjoyable for it. Females fall directly into either weak and lust worthy or strong and lust worthy – either category to be part of the conquest. There really are women of power in here, just don't expect them to take on significant roles. I would say it's important to read this original Conan material to learn where so much of today's fantasy comes from, but read it with the age and context in mind.

  5. 4 out of 5

    juliette dempsey

    Barbaric How could you not love these stories. A rip roaring collection of adventure tales. If you love fantasy novels then you have to read this collection.10\10

  6. 5 out of 5

    Leons1701

    Very interesting. After a bit of research, I'm seeing why so little of this was familiar to me, the Lancer/Ace editions I had previously read (not sure how far I actually got) contained mostly work by de Camp and Carter, thus the only Howard story I could recall for certain was Tower of the Elephant, though I must have read Rogues in the House since they're in the same volume (and it did seem familiar). Anyhow, this is an almost complete collection of the Conan stories published in Howard's life Very interesting. After a bit of research, I'm seeing why so little of this was familiar to me, the Lancer/Ace editions I had previously read (not sure how far I actually got) contained mostly work by de Camp and Carter, thus the only Howard story I could recall for certain was Tower of the Elephant, though I must have read Rogues in the House since they're in the same volume (and it did seem familiar). Anyhow, this is an almost complete collection of the Conan stories published in Howard's lifetime (Thus it does not include The God in the Bowl, Vale of Lost Women or The Black Stranger, all published well after his death). The almost is due to leaving out The Black Colossus, but since that was largely reworked into Hour of the Dragon, I can kind of see the point. Now this is most certainly not a knock on L. Sprague de Camp, one of my favorite authors and certainly a worthy writer to carry on Howard's legacy, nor is it necessarily a knock on Lin Carter, though I don't believe I've ever read any of his non-Conan work (and there's quite a lot of it), but now I see a lot more clearly why Conan has had the influence he had (not that de Camp and Carter didn't contribute to it, but that came later). The stories are in publication order, so when we first meet Conan, he is already King of Aquillonia (a bit of a surprise, I had always assumed that was added later) and it definitely helps see the development of the character. And not just the character, because of course Howard is largely inventing the entire Sword and Sorcery genre with these stories. Overall, a quite worthy collection and a very interesting read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    It has been a while since I first read these stories, reformed into a narrative of Conan's life by De Camp and Carter. They are better this way, truer to Howard's intentions and truer to the time when they were written. It has been a while since I first read these stories, reformed into a narrative of Conan's life by De Camp and Carter. They are better this way, truer to Howard's intentions and truer to the time when they were written.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Rivoli

    Granted, these stories are pulp fiction without any deep theme at the core. But there is obvious passion in the writing. Howard’s words are detailed and descriptive, but fast-paced and full of badass action sequences that are as artfully written as they are intense.

  9. 4 out of 5

    David Brady

    The original and still the best.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hank Hoeft

    When I was an adolescent back in the 1970's, I discovered Robert E. Howard, thanks to Lancer Books. The first Howard collection I read was The Dark Man and Others, but I soon discovered Conan the Barbarian comic books, by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith. Then I quickly put two and two together and realized the comic book character was the same brooding barbarian that was featured in all those Lancer editions with the Frank Frazetta covers, and soon bought all the Conan books available. Of cou When I was an adolescent back in the 1970's, I discovered Robert E. Howard, thanks to Lancer Books. The first Howard collection I read was The Dark Man and Others, but I soon discovered Conan the Barbarian comic books, by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith. Then I quickly put two and two together and realized the comic book character was the same brooding barbarian that was featured in all those Lancer editions with the Frank Frazetta covers, and soon bought all the Conan books available. Of course, not all stories in the Lancer (and later Ace) editions were written by Howard, and indeed, not all stories written by Howard were in fact Conan stories to begin with. L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter wrote their own Conan stories, and also altered non-Conan stories to fit their timeline. But even though I liked all the stories, my favorites were clearly those penned by Robert E. Howard himself. Since Howard was incredibly prolific during his relatively short writing career, the '70's and '80's saw a plethora of Howard paperbacks. After Lancer went out of business, Ace, Zebra (R.I.P, Zebra Books), and Berkley published a seemingly endless series of titles, and I, by then in college, tried my darnedest to buy and read them all, regardless of the genre. So I have a pretty good appreciation of Howard as a writer. When I saw Conan the Barbarian: The Complete Collection listed on Amazon (and for free!), I couldn't resist, but I downloaded it with some trepidation; there is nothing so deflating as to revisit a childhood pleasure as an adult and find it wanting. But I downloaded it anyway, and sat down to plow through all 700+ pages to see if the stories were really as good as I remembered. To my surprise and delight, I enjoyed them just as much as when I was thirteen. In fact, I think I enjoyed them more this time than when I first read them over 45 years ago. When Howard died, he was still fairly young (only 30 years old), and he had yet to fully mature as a writer. But the vigor and strength of his imagination jumps off the page with as much energy as Conan fought his battles. Author Harlan Ellison once wrote about another writer's work (I think he was talking about Stephen King), "It pulls the plow." And Robert E. Howard's Conan stories certainly do that. Howard's Conan stories should be considered essential reading for anyone interested in sword-and-sorcery fantasy. (Note: Robert Howard lived and wrote in small-town Texas during the 1930's. Anyone reading his works needs to remember and understand this when encountering Howard's attitudes about race and gender, and judge the stories by the historical and social matrix of the time.)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    It’s been such. Long time since I read a Conan story and I throughly enjoyed them! Howard was a much better writer than he is usually given credit for and the tales of the lusty Cimmerian are the foundations of all modern heroic/epic fantasy. Conan is a hero that reflects the times in which Howard wrote his stories. Despite the inherent racism, misogyny and ethnic stereotyping the short stories are engaging. The quality of the writing varies and some stories work better than others but the pace It’s been such. Long time since I read a Conan story and I throughly enjoyed them! Howard was a much better writer than he is usually given credit for and the tales of the lusty Cimmerian are the foundations of all modern heroic/epic fantasy. Conan is a hero that reflects the times in which Howard wrote his stories. Despite the inherent racism, misogyny and ethnic stereotyping the short stories are engaging. The quality of the writing varies and some stories work better than others but the pace of the tales and the imagination which created them are excellent. When Conan is creeping through the catacombs of some ancient city, pushed by zombies and ghouls the reader is there heart in mouth willing him on as they turn the page to find out the next twist. When Conan discovers a city in the middle of a desert Howard does not settle for the obvious abandoned city, he gives it a history of an alien race from another dimension and weaves the story around this and his hero. Conan is primal yet he is not without conscience. His code is direct and when bloodlust takes him brutal in the extreme. Always worth revisiting the roots of the genre from time to time just to confirm that while fantasy has become more complex it still displays its traditions proudly.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rick Iacobo

    Conan the man, the myth, the legend. Great chronological survey of the Original Conan stories by Robert E. Howard. Loved revisiting these again all in one volume. Howard's dark, gritty style is what gave Conan life. Others have tried to copy it (a good recent rendition is the character called 'the bloody nine' in the book entitled 'the first law' by Abercrombie.) but you can't beat Howard's style of writing that draws you in with hidden steamy jungles, the unforgiving frozen tundra, the harsh sal Conan the man, the myth, the legend. Great chronological survey of the Original Conan stories by Robert E. Howard. Loved revisiting these again all in one volume. Howard's dark, gritty style is what gave Conan life. Others have tried to copy it (a good recent rendition is the character called 'the bloody nine' in the book entitled 'the first law' by Abercrombie.) but you can't beat Howard's style of writing that draws you in with hidden steamy jungles, the unforgiving frozen tundra, the harsh salt spray of the sea, or the warm passionate embrace of a willing wench. Great read!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jason La Vertue

    You could summarize just about all the stories in this collection with "Conan is a badass, kills the bad guys, and gets the woman" but the author managed to come up with different enough scenarios that my interest was consistently held and I didn't know exactly what was going to happen in every story despite the overall similarity. These stories were written in the 1930's so expect some racism and women whose main job is being an object of desire. On the whole though both of these were much less You could summarize just about all the stories in this collection with "Conan is a badass, kills the bad guys, and gets the woman" but the author managed to come up with different enough scenarios that my interest was consistently held and I didn't know exactly what was going to happen in every story despite the overall similarity. These stories were written in the 1930's so expect some racism and women whose main job is being an object of desire. On the whole though both of these were much less than I've read in other books from the same time.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tom Sims

    to be honest you can ignore the first 2 3rds of this collection. Those are short adventures of Conan. avetage, non-descriptive and full only of a hulking Conan and scantily-clad women who all fall at his feet. the last couple of stories are decent length and good albeit still sexist and a little racist. coplection finishes up with the authors pre-History European history to visialise and create his world. interesting from a point of view of what it spawned with a whole genre & influence into so man to be honest you can ignore the first 2 3rds of this collection. Those are short adventures of Conan. avetage, non-descriptive and full only of a hulking Conan and scantily-clad women who all fall at his feet. the last couple of stories are decent length and good albeit still sexist and a little racist. coplection finishes up with the authors pre-History European history to visialise and create his world. interesting from a point of view of what it spawned with a whole genre & influence into so many other novels but you need Hurculean strength and stamina if you intend to read in 1 hit.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    The stories are timeless and incredible, pulp fiction sword and sorcery at it's best. These are fun binge reading short stories of high adventure and if you are into that genre, then this is the must read granddaddy of them all. Only downside about this edition was though being very cheap, it is unfortunately full of spelling and grammatical errors, I believe this is due to it being a scanned copy of the book which has not been properly proof read to ensure that the text was picked up correctly The stories are timeless and incredible, pulp fiction sword and sorcery at it's best. These are fun binge reading short stories of high adventure and if you are into that genre, then this is the must read granddaddy of them all. Only downside about this edition was though being very cheap, it is unfortunately full of spelling and grammatical errors, I believe this is due to it being a scanned copy of the book which has not been properly proof read to ensure that the text was picked up correctly by the scanner. I would probably invest in future in the physical copy of the book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Almustafa Couch

    An interesting look at character development (Conan), it was rather sexist not to mention racist, but did explain all the factors involved in Conan's development and evolution as a staple character of fantasy fiction. The final chapter of this book does contain and examine the social aspects of the "Hyborean age", though this age does not exist except in the fantasy context, it is good to acknowledge this as if it were real and provides a social context in which to see the elements that may infl An interesting look at character development (Conan), it was rather sexist not to mention racist, but did explain all the factors involved in Conan's development and evolution as a staple character of fantasy fiction. The final chapter of this book does contain and examine the social aspects of the "Hyborean age", though this age does not exist except in the fantasy context, it is good to acknowledge this as if it were real and provides a social context in which to see the elements that may influence the development of the character of Conan the Barbarian.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joe Minichino

    Absolute classic. Reading all the stories consecutively highlights both problems (plot repetition) and the growth of Howard as a writer, Conan goes from being a cunning barbarian to a king and a strategist, retaining all his "barbarian-ness". Ans yes, some of the accusations of racism may be true, but to they are to be put in perspective with what represented mainstream thinking in 1920-30s Texas. Absolute classic. Reading all the stories consecutively highlights both problems (plot repetition) and the growth of Howard as a writer, Conan goes from being a cunning barbarian to a king and a strategist, retaining all his "barbarian-ness". Ans yes, some of the accusations of racism may be true, but to they are to be put in perspective with what represented mainstream thinking in 1920-30s Texas.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Noah

    As a product of its time, nany of the themes are racist and sexist. If you can push that aside, it's fairly easy to get into. The first stories were slightly broken and of a swashbuckler nature, while not very deep were still entertaining. In the second half of the book, longer more developed stories were introduced that were very enjoyable. I liked the mixture of swashbuckling adventure and Lovecraftian horror. As a product of its time, nany of the themes are racist and sexist. If you can push that aside, it's fairly easy to get into. The first stories were slightly broken and of a swashbuckler nature, while not very deep were still entertaining. In the second half of the book, longer more developed stories were introduced that were very enjoyable. I liked the mixture of swashbuckling adventure and Lovecraftian horror.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sherry Vaughan

    Invigorating I have always loved a good swashbuckler and Conan delivers in spades. Howard's use of the English language puts most modern authors to shame. His stories are invigorating. I loved Tarzan (movies and books) when I was a child and Conan is a rougher, tougher version of the same type of action hero. Invigorating I have always loved a good swashbuckler and Conan delivers in spades. Howard's use of the English language puts most modern authors to shame. His stories are invigorating. I loved Tarzan (movies and books) when I was a child and Conan is a rougher, tougher version of the same type of action hero.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Luis Fernández

    If you want to read everything from Conan this is your book. 18 Conan tales, order by data, the way they were published. It's a good way to read them as it was the way it was written by the author and the way the Conan world is unwrapping in front of our eyes. Highly recommended if you like fantasy. If you want to read everything from Conan this is your book. 18 Conan tales, order by data, the way they were published. It's a good way to read them as it was the way it was written by the author and the way the Conan world is unwrapping in front of our eyes. Highly recommended if you like fantasy.

  21. 5 out of 5

    John Graham

    I read the famous 12-volume set of Robert E Howard's Conan books published by Ace and featuring covers by Frank Frazetta in my teens. They helped shape my already runaway imagination, and although I haven't read them in decades, I remember fearing the eldritch dark and wanting to create worlds as fascinating as Howard's. I read the famous 12-volume set of Robert E Howard's Conan books published by Ace and featuring covers by Frank Frazetta in my teens. They helped shape my already runaway imagination, and although I haven't read them in decades, I remember fearing the eldritch dark and wanting to create worlds as fascinating as Howard's.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Frigg's Daughter

    Conan lives in his own world of savagery & violence as a fish lives in a stream, and invites us in to join him. Refreshingly to-the-point, brutal, and yet restrained (in telling the reader what to think of any of it, at least), I really recommend it. Sometimes a little silly & antique though, just be warned; the tropes & dialogue may seem a little old-fashioned in a jarring way.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Miller

    I was not expecting how good these stories are or that I would be looking up words. I had a stereotype of Conan and the writing of the stories that has not survived actually reading them.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chad Ringgenberg

    A classic They don't write like this anymore. True world building. Conan is not a hero or a villain but a true superman with his own code. A classic They don't write like this anymore. True world building. Conan is not a hero or a villain but a true superman with his own code.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Adam Sams

    It was a good book, but a lie saying it's the complete collection. It was a good book, but a lie saying it's the complete collection.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mira A. Wilson

    I have the old Ace paperbacks, but they're old and dog- eared. It's nice having all these classic sword and sorcery stories in one handy, easy to read source to read over and over again. I have the old Ace paperbacks, but they're old and dog- eared. It's nice having all these classic sword and sorcery stories in one handy, easy to read source to read over and over again.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    Would have really enjoyed this more without all the racism. Blah blah blah "product of it's time" blah blah blah. Still racist AF. Would have really enjoyed this more without all the racism. Blah blah blah "product of it's time" blah blah blah. Still racist AF.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Matt Herrera

    Simple pros but oddly engaging.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    All the Conan you'd ever want, in one endless volume. All the Conan you'd ever want, in one endless volume.

  30. 4 out of 5

    J.T.

    A classic.

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