Friday, December 9, 2022

Conan the Valorous by John Maddox Roberts

Conan the Valorous
by John Maddox Roberts
1985 Tor

Broke, drunk, and down to his loincloth, Conan agrees to travel to his homeland of Cimmeria to complete a spell at the mountain shrine of Crom. Meanwhile, competing sorcerers make their way to the shrine, carving a scar of blood as they go.

In the middle, Conan finds time to rescue a tribal chief and her daughter and fight a giant bull. The highlight is when the evil sorcerers from not-India use dark magic to double-double-cross pirates, using their blood to summon and ancient evil from the depths.

This one leans into the Cthulu-esque elements of Conan, with horrible creatures and Elder Gods lurking behind dimensional barriers, and Conan rescuing villagers from an underground cave filled with torturing monsters.

Conan's homecoming was fun, like a Cimmerian kitchen sink drama - "Sleeping on a pillow of snow, are ya? Rocks not good enough for the fancy lad what been to the South, eh?" Meanwhile, Conan's acting like a Midwest college student who just came back from a semester in Europe.

I suspected I would like the later Conan pastiches more than Howard's originals, and so far I was right. Bit rushed at the end, and purist may have issues with the characterization, but great action, plenty of monsters, and a touch of horror.

1 comment:

  1. I’ve read nothing but good things about this author’s Conan literature.