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Conan of the Isles (#12) by L. Sprague De…

Conan of the Isles (#12) (original 1968; edition 1980)

by L. Sprague De Camp, Lin Carter (Author)

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Title:Conan of the Isles (#12)
Authors:L. Sprague De Camp
Other authors:Lin Carter (Author)
Info:Ace Books (1980), Mass Market Paperback, 189 pages
Collections:discarded, J's books
Tags:J's, fiction, fantasy, sword & Sorcery, Conan, Ancient setting, 1960s authorship

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Conan of the Isles by L. Sprague de Camp (1968)



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Although L. Sprague de Camp et al. did a good job of filling in the gaps that Conan’s creator Robert E. Howard left behind in the character’s history, I feel that they should’ve done one of two things after “Conan the Conqueror”:

1) Condensed their ideas into one book instead of three

2) Write no more and let “Conan the Conqueror” have the final word

My reasoning for option one is that the last three books in the original series of twelve are good in parts but average on the whole. One aspect that particularly bugs me is the recurring references to Conan’s past adventures, all of which are featured in the earlier books.

“Conan of the Isles” at one stage dedicates two paragraphs to needless reminiscences. The opening line to the first of these paragraphs aptly sums up how the authors rely on this weak method of writing:

“Again and again they recalled the deeds of Conan …”

It’s like certain TV series that come to, say, their fourth season, and the writers decided to feature one episode that consists largely of flashbacks from the first three series. It’s cheating the viewer of a new episode, other than snippets used to connect the flashbacks.

Anyway, the original Conan series would’ve been better served had those last three books been condensed into one novel with all the references to past glories omitted, along with the other weak parts, of which there are enough to remind the reader that no one writes Conan like Robert E. Howard.

Alternatively, regarding my second point, one reason why it may have been even better to not have followed on at all after “Conan the Conqueror” is because the ending to that story is very definitive and it would’ve closed Conan’s career in his high prime and glory. Another reason is that “Conan the Conqueror” is pure Howard.

Anyway, things are as they are, thus Conan fans can take “COTI” or leave it. It does have its merits, though it fails to grip me. I do like the idea that Conan is still a force to be reckoned with in his early sixties, though I dislike the idea of him giving up his kingship having fought so hard for it.

Another gripe: now we are of course expected to suspend belief of many things when it comes to fantasy writing, but it struck me as beyond ridiculous that Conan could learn a new language during a few days spent with a harlot. Neither she nor he had ever heard the other’s language before, yet in about five days Conan has mastered this tongue well enough to negotiate with the district’s prince of thieves, who also manages to understand every word spoken by the foreigner Conan. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Feb 25, 2016 |
Back in the day, I went through a sword and sorcery phase and had owned all 12 of the Ace Conan paperbacks. They were nice paperbacks, with Boris cover art and all that, but the phase ended and one day I needed space on the ol' shelves and I ended up getting rid of all of them but this one. Conan of the Isles was the story of Conan's retirement. He hands over the throne of Aquilonia to his son Conn and heads off on a nice Atlantic cruise. ... Okay, so Conan's idea of a nice cruise is to recruit a crew of pirates and sail west to stop some evil sorcerers from mystically snatching away innocent Hyborians. Anyway, rereading this again now that my own hair is turning gray, I was a bit surprised how unsophisticated the story was. It was still fun, sure, but less of a classic than I had remembered. Oh, well. just because I demoted it to waiting room material, don't let that stop you from enjoying it.
--J. ( )
  Hamburgerclan | Dec 24, 2012 |
Even though Howard did not write any of the stories in this particular volume, it's his character and creation, and part of the ongoing series of his works, so I'm including him as the primary author to keep it in the series. ( )
  TadAD | Jun 30, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
L. Sprague de Campprimary authorall editionscalculated
Carter, Linmain authorall editionsconfirmed
DeCamp, L. Spraguemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Oberländer, BeatrizTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vallejo, BorisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0441116817, Paperback)

As the Red Terror, a bizarre, magical dark force whose victims disappear without a trace, descends upon Aquilonia, King Conan sets out to destroy its source, evil, conquest-hungry sorcerer-priests from across the sea. Reissue.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:08 -0400)

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