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The Bloody Crown of Conan (Conan of Cimmeria, Book 2) Paperback – November 23, 2004

4.9 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Conan the Barbarian Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Stories such as “The People of the Black Circle” glow with the fierce and eldritch light of his frenzied intensity.”
–STEPHEN KING

“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.”
–DAVID GEMMELL, author of Legend and White Wolf

From the Inside Flap

In his hugely influential and tempestuous career, Robert E. Howard created the genre that came to be known as sword and sorcery-and brought to life one of fantasy's boldest and most enduring figures: Conan the Cimmerian-reaver, slayer, barbarian, king.
This lavishly illustrated volume gathers together three of Howard's longest and most famous Conan stories-two of them printed for the first time directly from Howard's typescript-along with a collection of the author's previously unpublished and rarely seen outlines, notes, and drafts. Longtime fans and new readers alike will agree that "The Bloody Crown of Conan merits a place of honor on every fantasy lover's bookshelf.
THE PEOPLE OF THE BLACK CIRCLE
Amid the towering crags of Vendhya, in the shadowy citadel of the Black Circle, Yasmina of the golden throne seeks vengeance against the Black Seers. Her only ally is also her most formidable enemy-Conan, the outlaw chief.
THE HOUR OF THE DRAGON
Toppled from the throne of Aquilonia by the evil machinations of an undead wizard, Conan must find the fabled jewel known as the Heart of Ahriman to reclaim his crown . . . and save his life.
A WITCH SHALL BE BORN
A malevolent witch of evil beauty. An enslaved queen. A kingdom in the iron grip of ruthless mercenaries. And Conan, who plots deadly vengeance against the human wolf who left him in the desert to die.
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Product Details

  • Series: Conan of Cimmeria (Paperback) (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (November 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345461525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345461520
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tim Janson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
I've read practically everything that Robert E. Howard has ever written, from Conan, Kull, Kane, and Bran Mak Morn to Kirby O'Donnell, El Borak, Sailor Steve Costigan, Pike Bearfield and most of his other weird menace, horror, boxing, and adventure stories in the middle. But I never tire of reading them again, especially when they are in handsome, lavishly illustrated editions such as the Bloody Crown of Conan. The book contains only three Conan stories but they are among the longest and best.

"A Witch Shall Be Born" written in 1934 contains among the most powerful images in all of Conan Lore as Conan is crucified in the desert and left to the pickings of the vultures. It is among the most vivid testaments to his strength and fortitude to have survived where any other man would perish.

"The Hour of the Dragon" was Howard's longest Conan tale and the only true Conan novel that REH ever wrote. Having just become King of Aquilonia, intrigue from neighboring Nemedia where the exiled Valerius had fled, results in the ressurection of one of Acheron's most powerful wizards Xaltotun, dead for some 3,000 years.

Conan is deposed from the throne and tossed into the dungeons to rot but is saved by a salve named Zenobia, who Conan would later re-pay by making her his wife and Queen. Conan then goes on a quest to find the Heart of Ahriman, the one item that can destroy the wizard. A truly epic Conan story and one where he must admit that his sword cannot win the day without help. Some make undue comparisons to Tolkien but Hour of the Dragon was written LONG before Lord of the Rings and there's no evidence that Howard was even aware of Tolkien.

The last story is another Classic, The People of the Black Circle.
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Format: Paperback
I was unaware that an editing process took place with the books. I always believed that the stories were always printed in their original form. This wasn't the case. If you are a Conan and Robert E. Howard fan; these are the best editions ever. I only wish there were more beautiful chapter illustrations. They really add a quality to the book that otherwise wouldn't have been there. If you want to see a good movie about the real Robert E. Howard I'd get "The Whole Wide World" ...it has lots of insight as to the type of person he was...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The second volume of Del Rey's definative collection of Robert E. Howard's Conan stories contains three of the best ones, The People of the Black Circle, The Hour of the Dragon, and A Witch Shall Be Born.

The People of the Black Circle: Its obvious early on that Howard was really starting to hit his stride with the character by the time he wrote this . It was, at the time, the longest Conan story he ever wrote, and contains multiple plotlines which converge. It also contains some great black humor which would be right at home in today's cinema. My favorite line is, "I think I'll have your heart, Kerim Shah!", at which point the evil wizard telekenetically rips the heart out from the victim's chest. This is basically an oriental adventure story. The geographical names are changed just enough so that the reader will immediately identify with its historical counterpart. India is Vendya, etc. Many people consider this the finest Conan story that REH ever wrote. While its not my personal favorite, its definately in the top five.

The Hour of the Dragon: The only full length Conan novel that Howard ever wrote. Yes, while its true that certain plot elements are derivative of earlier Conan stories (particarly "The Scarlet Citadel" and "Black Colossus"), this is nevertheless a remarkable achievement, and one of the best fantasy adventure novels of all time. Chronologically, its the last Conan story in the saga. Here we have a Conan that is less reckless, and more mature and responsible than his younger counterpart. After he loses his kingdom, he's driven to regain it, not for personal wealth and glory, but to bring justice back to the land on behalf of his subjects.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While there already is a review highlighting the Kindle versions problems, it deserves repetition. The Kindle version lacks the illustrations and what makes this more regrettable is the fact that the description in the Kindle store took the description from the original paper copy and talks up the missing illustrations. There is also a forward in each book that is written by the illustrator discussing his work. Without the illustrations, the main factor for purchasing what are mostly public domain stories is lost.
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Format: Paperback
"The Bloody Crown of Conan" is the second collection of Robert E. Howard's classic character published by DelRey. It contains three stories, including the only Conan novel "The Hour of the Dragon", as well as the novella "The People of the Black Circle", and the shorter "A Witch Shall be Born." While I'm not sure if any of these rank highly as personal favorites, they are all entertaining, rousing, and even chilling.

Because there are only three stories, it's relatively easy to critique each story, as opposed to the first collection.

Naturally, "Hour of the Dragon" is the centerpiece of this collection: nearly 200 glorious pages of intrigue, fantasy, horror, and war. Conan, king of Aquilonia, finds himself unseated from his thrown when a group of plotters, led by Valerius, a Aquilonian duke, resurrect Xalotun, a long-dead wizard, who uses his powers to defeat Conan. Taken prisoner, Conan escapes, and sets upon a quest for a magic amulet with the power to destroy Xalotun. Through the course of this episodic novel, Conan encounters evil in various forms, especially in the dark land of Stygia, where he meets giant snakes, vampire women, and evil priests. Through this, he comes to understand the importance of his tenure as king to the people of Aquilonia, as they are subject to tyranny by the gang of usurpers. Indeed, "The Hour of the Dragon" represents an interesting level of growth in the character. Even though Howard did not write these stories with any sort of chronology, he have taken into consideration how the character would have changed throughout his life. Stories that take place early in Conan's life reveal a basic callowness. He's a thief and adventurer, essentially thumbing his nose at so-called civilization.
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