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The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian

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The Original Adventures of the Greatest Sword and Sorcery Hero of All Time! by Robert E. Howard and edited by Patrice Louinet.

I’ve read a lot of Conan. I have the movies on DVD. Conan used to feature regularly in our Dungeons & Dragons sessions back in the day. For most of us, Conan is both a comic book sword-and-sorcery hero, a caricature of barbarism and bravery, and the ultimate in “boy books” heroes.

Conan was undoubtedly Robert Howard’s greatest character in terms of success and likely the most well fleshed-out hero in all of his writing. Conan has muscles, native wit, and a focus and fury that denies all fear. At the same time, he is rather aimless, somewhat the scoundrel, and nearly always suckered by the women he meets.

No matter your views of Conan, you must agree that the works of Robert E. Howard will forever be remembered as classic renderings of the barbaric hero and the greatest of fantasy swordsmen in literature.

This collection is one of the best I’ve seen: perhaps the best. Not only are the stories in chronological order by publication (rather than some editor’s guess as to “time line” in-story)–as they appeared originally–but they are completely unedited and unchanged from their original published versions.

A few that didn’t make publication for one reason or another (usually because Howard wasn’t sure if he’d “gone over the line”) are also included at the end. The enlightening forward written by the editor is also extremely valuable for its insight into Howard’s career and life.

This book comes with the highest recommendations I have to give.

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