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The Conan Chronicles Volume I: The People of…

The Conan Chronicles Volume I: The People of the Black Circle (2000)

by Robert E. Howard

Other authors: Stephen Jones (Editor), Stephen Jones (Afterword)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Fantasy Masterworks (book 8), Conan the Barbarian (1)

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This is the real thing, the original Conan stories by his creator, Robert E. Howard. There are vast number of imitations, some quite readable, but for me there is nothing quite like Howard himself. When I was young, "the" Howard was the series of books published by Lancer, which included not only the genuine Howard, but also addition by Lin Carter, L. Sprague de Camp,. and Bjorn Nyberg.Some were made up out of whole cloth, some were expansions of Howard fragment, and some took Howard stories about other adventurers and turned them into Conan stories. (These last have now generally been published elsewhere in teir original form.) This edition is nothing but Howard, including sections cut by earlier editors and fragments which are frankly fragments. They follow th previous series by being arranged roughly in the order of Conan's career, starting in "Tower of the Elephant" (illustrated on the cover, I believe) when Conan was a young thief in Zamora, and going on in this volume through classic adventures "The God in the Bowl" is actually quite a good detective story, with Conan as a tough guy detective --"Queen of the Black Coast" is his doomed romance with the pirate queen Belit (his most serious romance until he meets his queen in the later volume) and many others. This is the first of two volume of this collection. The book begins with "the Hyborian Age" Howard's rather grim background history for the series, and ends with an afterword by the editor ( )
1 vote antiquary | Mar 1, 2017 |
There are 18 stories in this book together with a brief history of the foundation of the empires in which they are told, spanning over 500 pages. I took a long time reading this book because it was simply too good to rush.

From the first story to the last you are treated to an unrivalled ability to grab hold of the ready and drag them on adventure after adventure. You quickly become acquainted with the huge bronze skinned, black-haired Cimmerian who’s blue eyes blaze with the fire of life. Conan’s passion and zest for adventure are as infectious as his thews are huge. He wields a sword with ease and breaks necks like twigs. He snatches up lithe women aplenty, usually clad in gossamer robes (if that) as often as loots the dead. His blade drips with the blood of the vanquished as he wiped the heavy sweat of battle from his brow.

There is never a dull moment or wasted moment. Never so much as a modicum of tedium. The writing is fluid, exciting and simple. Robert E. Howard has a style that writes itself, a quality that stands, like his creation, a head and shoulders above the rest. There are times when you feel the bones crunch, the sword sing through the air, the flesh rend under steel. I could go on and on, this is a book like no other. If you love the swords and sandals, style of fantasy then you simply must read this. This is the birthplace of many a hero. Many have tried to write Conan stories but none can hold their own against the might of Robert E. Howard.

By Crom ‘tis worth every penny. 10/10 ( )
1 vote MathewBridle | May 4, 2015 |
I rate Robert E. Howard as the most imaginative author that I've ever read. His creative powers are perhaps the most notable in the world of Conan. Howard's detailed map of the fictitious Hyborean Age and its history, including that leading up to the time of Conan's birth, are exceptional.

I've read some of the stories featured in this collection twice before, while others are brand new to me. I read a lot of fantasy and sword & sorcery as a child and as a teen, yet in adulthood my tastes have mostly changed, except I still love Howard's Conan stories and most of his other works.

Of the two volumes of the Conan Chronicles, this first one appeals to me most. This is largely owing to the type of tale included in the collection.

While Volume 2 features an older Conan vying for power and getting involved in more political battles, this first volume shows the barbarian at the beginning of his fame - and that fame had nothing to do with being crowned king or being political.

I much prefer the Conan featured in Volume 1, as he is always in search of adventure, which often includes him stealing treasures from a dangerous situation, encountering a scantily-clad - or naked - woman along the way. All good fun!

Howard is, in my opinion, the best writer of battle scenes. Conan's sword fighting is superbly depicted.

His plotting is always well done without being over-complicated.

His characters are vivid, as are his descriptions.

A supreme author and a superb read. ( )
1 vote PhilSyphe | Nov 12, 2014 |
Great Fun. ( )
1 vote CBMcGuire | May 1, 2014 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert E. Howardprimary authorall editionscalculated
Jones, StephenEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, StephenAfterwordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Howe, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This is the Gollancz edition -- vol. 1 of the Conan Chronicles -- not the Berkely edition edited by Karl Edward Wagner.
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Conan the Cimmerian: her rose from boy-thief and mercenary to become king of Aquilonia. Neither supernatural fiends nor demonic sorcery could oppose the barbarian warrior as he wielded his mighty sword and dispatched his enemies to a bloody doom on the battlefields of the legendary Hyborian Age.… (more)

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