Conan the Valorous ★★★☆☆

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Title: Conan the Valorous
Series: Conan the Barbarian
Authors: John Maddox Roberts
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 219
Words: 86K



Hathor-Ka, a Stygian sorceress, tricks Conan into stealing certain relics from Ben Morgh, a sacred mountain in Cimmeria. His expedition takes him across Koth, Nemedia, and the Border Kingdoms where Conan is diverted by his rescue of a chieftainess. Meanwhile, Jaganath (a sorcerer from Vendhya) is also on a journey into the Cimmerian Wilderness. In Cimmeria, the various clans are uniting against the Vanir and their allies, a tribe of lizard folk. The two armies are traveling towards Ben Morgh and proceed with a final battle. As the conflict rages on, Conan and a wizard from Khitai wage a more crucial battle inside Crom’s Cave beneath the mountain with the aid of Jaganath, Hathor-Ka, and her patron, Thoth-Amon. Ultimately, Cimmeria is delivered from outside sorcery and Conan joins a raiding party of Aesir in their journey towards Hyberborea.

My Thoughts:

Robert Howard wrote the original Conan the Barbarian stories. I reviewed a collection of them back in ’18 and thoroughly enjoyed them. So much so that I have finally tracked down a collection of Conan the Barbarian stories by two other authors, notably John Maddox Roberts and Robert Jordan (of the Wheel of Time fame). Since I finished WoT last year, I wanted to give myself a break from Jordan and so chose Roberts to begin my Conan Pastiche journey with. I’ve got 6 Conan books by him to keep me occupied for a while.

I am not sure if these stories by Roberts are in any particular order or how they fit into the original canon by Howard. Honestly, I don’t think it matters. I am treating each one as a standalone story. Howard also mainly wrote the Conan stories as short stories, so getting full length novels is going to be a different beast and we’ll see how Conan the Character handles it.

This story is about Conan getting tricked by a sorceress and being involved in a once in a millennium confluence where great powers are bestowed on one sorcerer. Conan has to go back to his homeland of Cimmeria and you find out they’re a bunch of goat herders who like to kill everyone else with their weapons. Conan isn’t the sharpest sword in the barrel but compared to the rest of the Cimmerians he’s a world traveling playboy of exquisite refinement.

There are monsters galore and the god of the Cimmerians plays a tiny part as does an Eldrich Horror. Roberts delves into the Cosmic Horror side of things with tentacled god monsters in the spaces between the planets but it is more of just a nod to the idea than any real work on the idea.

This was a decent sword & sorcery adventure tale but it didn’t hold a candle to Howard’s original stuff.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

22 thoughts on “Conan the Valorous ★★★☆☆

    1. I think the original Conan stories were actually short stories for magazine back in the day.

      As for Red Sonja, I don’t know. She’s cut from the same cloth but I dont know if she was in a story of Conan and somebody else ran with it or somebody just decided to make a female version of Conan.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Red “Sonya” was from a historical fiction short story written by Howard (it’s set in midieval Constantinople, IIRC.) Sonya is a cannoneer, although she also is a dab hand with a blade, and the hero is a Varangian Guard. Or something.
        Red “Sonja” was a riff off of this character, albeit in name and redness only, set in a fantasy genre to provide a distaff counterpart to Conan.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Movies.
      That’s all the explanation needed.

      Now in the books there’s no wheel or nonsense like that. Conan’s just big and runs around and kills people. Nothing to develop muscles like swinging a sword while running.
      I’m sure if he’d known about spinach though, he might have gone that route…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have yet to read a Conan pastiche that holds a candle to REH’s original stories, but the John Maddox Roberts and Robert Jordan novels are the best of them in my experience (I’ve read five of Roberts’ pastiches, all of Jordan’s but his novelization of the second movie, and a handful of others).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Conan isn’t the sharpest sword in the barrel but compared to the rest of the Cimmerians he’s a world traveling playboy of exquisite refinement.” That’s hilarious!

    I think it was a Conan movie that has a quote my husband and I love to repeat to each other. When asked what is best in life, only Conan gets it right:

    “Rush your enemies, drive them before you; hear the lamentation of the women.” Except you have to say it in a low German accent. In fact, Josh says it better than Schwarzenegger.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve seen the Arnie Conan movie once. I also saw the new one (and man, that was a really stupid movie). I think i”ll stick with the books 🙂

        Do you comment on a computer or your phone?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. For the longest time I had no interest in reading Conan stories or books, not sure why. I stuck to comics and movies. But for several years now I’ve wanted to try some of Howard’s original stories. Glad to hear you enjoyed those, and I think I’ll skip these by other authors at least until I’ve also tried the originals.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you do decide to read some Conan books, definitely start with the Howard stuff. That way you can judge a bit more accurately all johnny come lately’s 🙂


    1. With the 5 or 6 by Roberts, I’m guessing I won’t get to Jordan until early to mid ’23.
      I have to admit, taking the long view of my reviewing has seriously eased up the pressure I used to feel about “getting to the books” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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