Conan (Conan the Barbarian #1)(1967)

by Robert E. Howard, L. Sprague de Camp, and Lin Carter

Robert E. Howard's famous barbarian hero journeys among the nations of the Hyborian Age in this anthology of stories, seeking his fortune and reveling in bloody adventure. 

I devoured several of these anthologies back when I was in junior high school and was pleasantly surprised to see how well they hold up now. 

Howard's prose is muscular and direct, his characters brutal and equally direct, as befits the world in which they live. 

Robert E. Howard

I was surprised that Conan is actually a secondary character in some of the original stories, such as "The God in the Bowl," a Sherlockian tale with the Cimmerian as one of the suspects. 

Although all of the tales written by Howard, either whole or in part, are strong, the pastiches produced by Lin Carter and L. Sprague de Camp are weak. 

Lin Carter

The lengthy "City of Skulls" is particularly egregious for its careless dependance on wild coincidence--wandering through the darkness of the sewers, Conan and his companion chance upon a secret passage that leads directly to the chamber of an evil king just as he is about to sacrifice the heroine. 

L. Sprague de Camp

How sloppy! 

Howard's "Rogues in the House" is the highlight of this collection.


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