Conan the Bold (Conan the Barbarian) ★★★✬☆

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Title: Conan the Bold
Series: Conan the Barbarian
Authors: John Maddox Roberts
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 175
Words: 80K


From & Me

A young Conan’s prospects for a domestic existence are destroyed, along with his intended fiancé, by the renegade Taharka of Keshan. To achieve vengeance, the Cimmerian joins forces with a one-eyed warrior woman, Mad Kalya, also wronged by Taharka’s outlaws. The couple pursue their enemies across several nations, from Croton’s fighting pits to the Ophirian plains, overtaking them in time and again only to see Taharka slip through their fingers. The chase ultimately culminates in a battle to the death.

Kalya dies in Conan’s arms but Taharka gets his just desserts. Conan decides to keep exploring the other lands and to find out what other adventures await him.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this story quite a bit. This was an origin story for Conan and shows how he came to be exploring lands other than Cimmeria. I suspect if I read enough Conan stories though that I’ll find multiple “origin” stories. So I’m not holding this as canon or anything.

There is some cosmic horror involved, as both Conan and Taharka are accosted by priests of elder gods and told they both have “great destinies”. Taharka allows this to go to his head and acts accordingly while Conan simply scoffs and tells the priests no one, or no thing, will ever control his actions. Of course, Taharka dies and Conan doesn’t. So much for those elder gods prescience, right? Hahahahahaa.

In terms of action, this is all over the place geographically and it keeps things fresh. We get to see a glimpse of Conan as a river pirate, hinting at his future as a real pirate later on. That is one story I’ve never read about Conan, his time as a pirate. It’s always just referred to. I hope JMR writes at least one story about that.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

20 thoughts on “Conan the Bold (Conan the Barbarian) ★★★✬☆

    1. 175 pages.
      I was worried too when I started these books, because most of what Howard wrote were either short stories or novellas. But so far, this novel format is working out ok…


        1. I find that the 200 page mark, plus/minus, works best for standalone stories for me. and when it comes to trilogies and series, I much prefer three 175page books to one fat 600 page book.

          Part of that is in reaction to the recent (last decade or two) swing towards massive tomes, all the time, by everybody. Nobody knows how to write, or to read, lean mean novels anymore.


    1. I know, right?
      I must say, my appreciation for the elder gods has increased since I’ve started really delving into the Cthulhu mythos. Now when I see them in stories like this I can appreciate more the actual horror that they are.


    1. If I wasn’t already reading a comic a week and one of them already being Groo, I would consider it. But with both of the above considerations, it probably won’t happen until I finish up all the conan novels I can stomach 😀


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