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The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian (Conan the Barbarian Book 1) Kindle Edition
“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.”
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.
“Howard’s writing seems so highly charged that it nearly gives off sparks.”
“I adore these books. Howard had a gritty, vibrant style–broadsword writing that cut its way to the heart, with heroes who are truly larger than life. I heartily recommend them to anyone who loves fantasy.”
Author of Legend and White Wolf
“The voice of Robert E. Howard still resonates after decades with readers– equal parts ringing steel, thunderous horse hooves, and spattered blood.
Far from being a stereotype, his creation of Conan is the high heroic adventurer. His raw muscle and sinews, boiling temper, and lusty
laughs are the gauge by which all modern heroes must be measured.”
–ERIC NYLUND, Author of
Halo: The Fall of Reach and Signal to Noise
“That teller of marvelous tales, Robert Howard, did indeed create a giant [Conan] in whose shadow other ‘hero tales’ must stand.”
–JOHN JAKES, New York Times bestselling author
of the North and South trilogy
“For stark, living fear . . . What other writer is even in the running with Robert E. Howard?”
–H. P. LOVECRAFT
About the Author
Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) was an American author who wrote pulp fiction in a diverse range of genres. He is well known for his character Conan the Barbarian and is regarded as the father of the sword and sorcery subgenre. Born and raised in the state of Texas, Howard spent most of his life in the town of Cross Plains.
Todd McLaren, an Earphones Award-winning narrator, was involved in radio for more than twenty years in cities on both coasts, including Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. He left broadcasting for a full-time career in voice acting, where he has been heard on more than five thousand television and radio commercials, as well as television promos; narrations for documentaries on such networks as A&E, Discovery, and the History Channel; and films, including Who Framed Roger Rabbit?--This text refers to the audioCD edition.
- ASIN : B000FBJE24
- Publisher : Del Rey (December 2, 2003)
- Publication date : December 2, 2003
- Language : English
- File size : 105962 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 496 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0345461517
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #74,055 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Fact: no one wrote the Cimmerian better than his creator Robert E. Howard. Later on a few writers took some fairly informed stabs at continuing his material, most failed. Robert Jordan was the best imitator I read but that's a slight statement comparing him to Lin Carter and Björn Nyberg's fan-fic efforts.
L. Sprague de Camp was embarrassingly bad trying to write the character too although I don't damn the guy like most purists. He may have churned out crappy Conan fare, but he actually edited Howard's prose quite well, i.e. Treasure of Tranicos gives the largely absent Conan more onstage time, is funnier and more fleshed out than The Black Stranger (not in the book on review). Most important, de Camp went to great lengths to keep Conan in the public eye by getting Howard's tales reprinted in Gnome Press in the fifties and then in Lancer Books in the sixties. If it wasn't for de Camp none of us may ever have heard of Bob Howard. I don't care if de Camp changed story titles, he always told readers the original names anyway; don't care if he padded the saga for meretricious reasons; and could care less if de Camp (and Glen Lord and Lancer) got rich off Howard's writing. With Howard long deceased somebody was going to. Readers can't deny the benefits they've reaped from being introduced to Conan.
Frazetta had more to do with Conan's success in the sixties than de Camp. You had to be there to grasp that. I'd seen Frazetta for years on Ace Book covers and in MAD Magazine and thought highly of his art. But nothing prepared me for Frazetta's savage vision of the Cimmerian, it was the best art of Frank's career. Back then I'd buy books with Frazetta covers just for the art and seldom read the book, but when I opened the pages of Conan the Adventurer I realized that just for once the art matched the story. Frazetta is definitely the iconic Conan illustrator but others have done well by the barbarian: Buscema, Alcala, Maroto and I welcome Mark Schultz to those distinguished ranks. I enjoyed his take on Conan in this book a lot, although he's more clean cut than the Conan in my imagination. The other volumes in this set also have excellent artwork.
I disagree with many about the best stories in THE COMING OF CONAN THE CIMMERIAN. Rogues in the House (Howard paying homage to Poe?) and The Tower of the Elephant (a Cthulhu mythos tale with Conan?) are classics, of course, like The Phoenix on the Sword and The Scarlet Citadel. Black Colossus and Queen of the Black Coast are considered classic Conan too by most, but I never have liked them. I've read them a couple times apiece and they just don't put that stupid grin on my face I get with "formula" pieces like Iron Shadows in the Moon, Xuthal of the Dusk, The Pool of the Black One and The Devil in Iron (stories I've reread countless times). If I'm odd man out on that score, so be it. Howard evidently enjoyed presenting Conan through another character's eyes instead of telling all the stories from Conan's POV, i.e. Iron Shadows in the Moon is interestingly written in strict third person limited, entirely related from the viewpoint of Olivia, not once is the reader inside Conan's head. A Witch Shall Be Born (not in this volume) is a variation of this motif.
I'm grateful Del Rey got the unadulterated Howard-and-only-Howard Conan into readers' hands in these fine collections. Too bad the fiscally challenged Weird Tales didn't pay Howard the two large they owed him in 1935 or readers might have a couple more Conan novellas the caliber of Red Nails (also not in this volume). And too bad Robert E. Howard got the literary reputation he truly deserved thirty years too late. I'm certainly not as passionate a Conan fan now as I was as a 14-year-old boy staring agog at the cover of Conan the Usurper for the first time in 1967, but reading Howard somehow reminds me of being that kid. And the older I get, the more important that seems to become.
The first volume of Del Rey’s three-volume collection of Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories is my introduction to Howard and almost my introduction to Conan. The Del Rey editions collect the stories in the order that Howard wrote them rather than by publication date or plot chronology. The first book includes a foreword by Mark Schultz and an introduction by Patrice Louinet. Both are excellent, neither denigrating the source material. Louinet is the editor, and Schultz contributed extensive illustrations (I understand these are missing from the Kindle version). He is no Frazetta—no one is—but I like Schutlz’s artwork a lot, and I find it supplanting Frazetta and the Ah-nold movies in how I picture Conan and his world. They do tend to be a little spoilery. The first volume also includes drafts, synopsizes, and, most notably, Robert E. Howard’s fictional history of the Hyborian Age.
The stories in this volume are shorter than the stories in the other two volumes. I’m not going to review each. They are excellent, but Conan benefits from the longer stories in the other two volumes, and the stories in the second half of this volume are some of Howard’s weakest Conan stories.
The dichotomy Howard draws between barbarianism and civilization is oft remarked on by commentators, not the least because Howard himself quite plainly lays it out. But there is more to it than a cursory, simplistic interpretation might imply. My impression of Conan was sealed by two of the first four stories—The God in the Bowl and The Tower of the Elephant.
In each, Conan is a young thief. He doesn’t wear his role as a barbarian in civilized lands as comfortably as he does as an older man. This is a Conan who reacts to his discomfort with civilized society with anger and violence. In The God in the Bowl, Conan is loath to admit he came to the Temple to steal, but he reacts viciously when the watch thinks to seize him.
“‘Back, if you value your dog lives!’ he snarled, his blue eyes blazing. ‘Because you dare to torture shop-keepers and strip and beat harlots to make them talk, don’t think you can lay your fat paws on a Hillman! I’ll take some of you to h___ with me! Fumble with your bow, watchman – I’ll burst your guts with my heel before this night’s work is over!’”
In The Tower of the Elephant, Conan naively asks about the tower, brazenly declares he could burglarize it, and then kills the man for laughing at him.
It is not the loincloth that makes the barbarian.