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The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian Unknown Binding – January 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 4th edition (2003)
  • ASIN: B004VT44E4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,230,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book for those who enjoy sword and sorcery and dark fantasy.
Jeffrey Elmquist
The Conan stories by Robert E. Howard are some of the first and the best in the Heroic Fantasy / Swords and Sorcery genres.
Glenn G. Thater
The stories themselves are wonderfully written--filled with great visuals, never overdone, and compelling action.
DonAthos

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

244 of 248 people found the following review helpful By Claude Avary on January 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
If you're a fan of fantasy author Robert E. Howard, who wrote for the pulps in the 1920s and 30s, rejoice! His stories of the great barbarian adventurer Conan are coming back in print, without unnecessary editing. These are the original texts.
If you enjoy fantasy, but have never read either Howard or Conan -- BUY THIS NOW. It is a must for lovers of fantasy. Banish any notions you have of Conan in other media: movies, comics, books by other authors. Howard's Conan is a stunning, unique creation. At turns bloody thrilling, filled with passionate rushes of action, at other times brooding and beautiful, sweeping you off to strange vistas. Howard was a one of a kind author, an American great, and with Conan he was at his best.
This first volume covers the first third of Howard's Conan stories, presented in the order they were written. The included stories are (in order):
1. The Phoenix on the Sword
2. The Frost-Giant's Daughter
3. The God in the Bowl
4. The Tower of the Elephant
5. The Scarlet Citadel
6. Queen of the Black Coast
7. Black Colossus
8. Iron Shadows in the Moon (aka Shadows in the Moonlight)
9. Xuthal of the Dusk (aka The Slithering Shadow)
10. The Pool of the Black One
11. The Vale of Lost Women
12. The Devil in Iron
13. The Phoenix on the Sword (first submitted draft)
Plus a number of fragments and outlines, and Howard's guide to Conan's world: "The Hyborian Age."
All the stories are enjoyable, although a few are minor entries in the Conan canon. The superior works are "The Tower of the Elephant," "The Scarlet Citadel," "The Frost-Giant's Daughter," and "Queen of the Black Coast.
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71 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on June 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
If a teacher assigned a project requiring you to draw up a list of the most influential authors in the fantasy/science fiction genre, Robert E. Howard would sit safely in the top five. Along with H.P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith, Howard was one of the groundbreaking influences in popular fiction of the 1930s. His influence is still felt today as evidenced by the large number of books containing stories based on his most popular creation, Conan the Cimmerian. Sadly, most of these newer tales, spun from unfinished fragments found in Howard's possession after his untimely demise in 1936, barely manage to attain a shadow of the glory found in the original tales. I think of Lin Carter's "Conan the Liberator," a truly awful piece of junk based on one of these fragments, and I shudder at the damage done to Robert Howard's reputation. That's why we should all give a warm round of applause to Del Rey for releasing this comprehensive collection of the earliest Conan stories. It's great to see a collection of the original tales available for sale at a reasonable price. Moreover, the book contains a foreword from the illustrator chosen to draw for this collection, a fascinating piece of criticism examining Howard's influences, and a few other goodies shedding even more light on how Conan came about. The order of the stories, too, mirrors exactly the sequence in which the author wrote them.
"The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian" is, I am embarrassed to say, my first foray into the original Conan tales. I looked around for these things for years, but always found the prices in the secondary market-usually for moth eaten copies of decades old versions-to much weight to place on my wallet.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By John C. Hocking on December 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
In a society in which self-conscious irony has become standard in virtually every form of entertainment, these stories shine with the blinding light of 100% sincerity. This is pulp fiction elevated to the level of myth. Howard's hero moves through, and dominates, the Hyborian Age in much the same way that Beowulf and Odysseus do in their own, older, more respected, myths.
Conan is a character hewn from the fabric of saga and legend; dark, dangerous, unpredictable, as much an embodiment of the forces of nature as a human being. His world comes alive as a wildly imaginative patchwork of ancient and medieval history, filled with haunting references to our own past yet existing as a independent world as lushly alive as any in fantasy.
These stories have been more influential and imitated than practically any others in genre literature. But they have never been duplicated. Howard's prose is shocking in both its power and diversity, frustrating attempts at either imitation or parody. Sharp, hardboiled sentences drive home the fierce brutality of combat. Vivid, often lyrical, passages describe the sprawling majesty of the Hyborian world. Darkly ominous writing depicts the creeping horror of otherworldly sorcery.
If you know Conan only from film, comics or pastiche novels, you don't know Conan at all. Read Robert E. Howard's fiery words and discover some of the most potent, most primal, fantasy ever written.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Mark Finn on December 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
It's not a question of artwork. I like Schultz just fine. He may not be to some people's tastes, but Vol 2 and 3 will have different artists. I personally think it's cool that Del Rey kept the artwork; it's a classy move, one you don't often see in TPBs anymore.
Nor is it a question of packaging. They ended up running the original artwork of the artist who appears on the inside. A bait and switch would have been to run a Frazetta cover and have different illustrators inside. The book is nicely packaged and has a great retail price. 98% of the people who buy it won't notice the niggling little things that may or may not be wrong with the production.
No, what an online review really should be all about is the fiction, the stories, that Howard wrote. They get under your skin and make you want to jump around. It is impossible to calculate the influence of Robert E. Howard on the world of fantasy. And these stories have been inaccessible for far too long--over ten years!
Now, they are even better. Presented in the order that Howard wrote them, and with fully-restored text, to boot. Now that's a project that deserves some attention. This is Howard's most famous work, and it took a lot of people's blood, sweat, and tears to get them out for public consumption. This is an auspicious time, quite possibly the beginning of a Second Howard Boom!
Howard was an original. He is often imitated (badly) and never duplicated. He was lightning in a bottle. Read these, the true Conan stories, and you can see for yourself why Howard is considered one of the greatest adventure writers of the 20th century.
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