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The Bloody Crown of Conan (Conan of Cimmeria, Book 2) Paperback – November 23, 2004
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“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
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of them printed for the first time directly from Howard's typescript-along with a collection of the author's previously unpublished and rarely seen outlines, notes, and drafts.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.
Top Customer Reviews
"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. the plot involves a group of wizards on Mount Yimsha who kidnap the Devi Yasmina to their mountain stronghold. Conan must join up with another ruffian and rescue her. While all the characters are remarkably multifaceted, I particularly liked Khemsa, a novice wizard who is talked into rising above his station (and defying his masters) by his beautiful, scheming girlfriend.
Best of all these tales are not the edited versions you may have read in the old Ace and Berkely paperbacks, but pure, unedited Howard. Great stuff!
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. King Conan is depicted as a wise and just ruler craves peace and prosperity, rather than war and conquest, for his kingdom. As its noted in the essay inside the book, whoever renamed this "Conan the Conqueror" missed the point entirely. Don't be fooled though. There's plenty of slaying for even the most die-hard REH fanatic. Let's just say that Conan doesn't kill anyone who doesn't have it coming to them.
A Witch Shall Be Born: Basically, the story itself is pretty forgettable. What makes this story stand out is the one scene that everyone remembers, which is Conan being crucified (this scene was depicted on film very faithfully in the first Conan movie). Was Howard, perhaps on a subconsious level, expressing his views on Christianity? Its an interesting thought. Conan, even after being crucified, is not one to "turn the other cheek". As you'll see, he remains defiant even in the face of certain defeat.
I can't wait for the third and final volume to come out, "The Conquering Sword of Conan".
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Robert E. Howard's Conan stories are brilliantly inspired, full of adventure, eloquent prose that paints a fantastically vivid...Read more