THE COMING OF CONAN THE CIMMERIAN BY ROBERT E. HOWARD

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Copyright 2003. Individual stories written 1932-34.

CIMMERIA

A poem written in Mission, TX suggesting the memory of the hill country in Fredricksburg seen in the mist of a winter rain.

THE PHOENIX ON THE SWORD

Four conspirators in Aquilonia are conspiring to overthrow King Conan. The leader a former lord now bandit named Ascalante is the leader and has arranged for the guard at the palace to be absent. Then three of the conspirators and nineteen men will sneak in and kill Conan. Ascalante’s slave is sent to watch over the cowardly Dion so he doesn’t panic. At the baron’s palace the slave Thoth-Amon finds that the baron has his serpent ring. He kills the baron and with the ring summons a demon to kill his former master and anyone with him. The conspirators enter Conan’s bedchamber and find him waiting and ready. Conan was contacted by the spirit of a dead priest and given a Phoenix symbol on his sword. A fight ensues where Conan is about to be overwhelmed but the demon shows up. After killing Ascalante, Conan uses his shattered Phoenix sword to destroy the demon.

THE FROST GIANT’S DAUGHTER

Conan a young warrior is fighting the Vanir with the Aesir. He is the sole survivor and in his wounded state approached by a naked woman. She is beautiful and white of skin. She entices Conan who chases her and is ambushed by her frost-giant brothers. Conan manages to kill them and the girl calls on her father Ymir who takes her away. Later his comrades find him and don’t believe the story until the find the gossamer garment clutched in his hand.

THE GOD IN THE BOWL

Conan is stealing from a rich noble’s museum when he comes the dead body of the noble. A guard finds him and summons the watch. They think he killed the noble but the captain makes a full investigation. It is found out a mysterious gift for a priest of Iblis was being stored in the museum. Inside is a giant snake with a head of a man. The snakes kills or scares off everyone except Conan who kills it.

THE TOWER OF THE ELEPHANT

Conan a thief in Zamora gets into an argument with another about the Tower of the Elephant. He kills this man and later decides to steal from the tower. There he meets up with another thief who has planned the theft. He has lotus that kills the lions that guard the yard. They climb the tower and the thief is killed by a giant spider which Conan kills. Inside he finds Yag-Kosha an alien with body of a human and head of an elephant. He is an ancient race that came to Earth and was enslaved by the evil sorcerer Yara. He begs Conan to kill him, cut his heart out and squeeze the blood on a gem. Then take it to Yara. Conan does this and the gem sucks up Yara. Conan escapes the tower before it collapses.

THE SCARLET CITADEL

King Conan comes to the aid of his ally Ophir. Only he is betrayed and a combined army of Ophir and Koth defeat him. The wizard Tsotha-Lanti locks him in his tower as the armies go to conquer his leaderless country. Conan manages to escape after an enemy from his corsair days tries to get revenge. Conan finds a rival wizard captive and frees him. The wizard conjures a giant pterodactyl to fly him to his capital. He rallies his people and defeats the invading army. Tsotha-Lanti has his head taken by a giant eagle and the headless body chases after it.

QUEEN OF THE BLACK COAST

In Messantia Conan is escaping from court. He decided to chop off the judge’s head and jumps on a departing merchantman bound for the Black Coast. While traveling they are attacked by Belit and her Black Corsairs. The ship is captured but Conan is spared because Belit decides to take him as her mate. Conan joins the crew and raids for some years. Eventually their travels take them to a ruined city and they find treasure. Only it is guarded by a flying ape and his jackels. They kill Belit and the crew. Conan waits at night and fights them. Belit comes back from the dead to save him and Conan kills the flying ape. He sets the pirate ship on fire as a pyre for Belit.

BLACK COLLOSSUS

A thief breaks into the tomb of the evil sorcerer Natohk and resurrects him. Natohk conquest some desert tribes and cities. His next conquest is the small state of Khoraja. It’s ruler the princess Yasmela consults the god Mitra who instructs her to give command of her army to the first person she meets on the street. That happens to be Conan. He is made commander and successfully defeats Natohk’s army.

IRON SHADOWS IN THE MOON

Shah Amurath is chasing his escaped slave girl Olivia into the reeds along the Vilayet sea. He catches her but also comes face to face with Conan. Conan was chief of the Kozaks who were massacred by Amurath’s forces. Conan takes his revenge and with Olivia the two set out on the sea in a small boat. They come to a mysterious island with a huge temple filled with iron statues. Oliva has a dream that they come alive and runs out at night with Conan following. They then fight a giant man-ape. Pirates come to the island and Conan kills their captain but is treacherously knocked on the head. Later at night Olivia manages to sneak in when the pirates are drunk and free Conan. The iron statues come alive and kill many of the pirates. Conan takes their ship and won’t let them on until they acknowledge him the captain which they gladly do.

XUTHAL OF THE DUSK

Conan and a freed slave girl Natala are the only survivors of a mercenary army destroyed in Stygia. They have escaped into the desert and come on a strange city. It appears deserted but is filled with a strange yellow race that seem to be in a drugged state. From a girl Thalis they find that the race is advanced but now spends their time in a drugged state. Also a creature named Thog goes around eating people. Thalis wants Conan and manages to kidnap Natalia. While whipping her Thog comes and eats her. Conan runs into the inhabitants and in a fight falls through a trap door. He has to fight Thog and after finding a miracle elixir that heals him the two leave Xuthal.

THE POOL OF THE BLACK ONES

Conan who was on a leaking rowboat in the Western ocean manages to make it on a Zingaran privateer. The captain Zaporavo lets Conan join the crew. Later they land on an island that has treasure. Conan follows the captain when he goes off alone and kills him. Later he finds the crew captured after being knocked out by eating the island’s fruit. Giant black creatures take the crew to a green pool that shrinks them to a small size. Conan with the help of captain’s girl Sancha manage to rouse the crew and defeat the black giants. Then they escape the island as the green pool erupts and floods the island.

ROGUES IN THE HOUSE

Murilo a noble has been found out to be selling secrets to a hostile nation. The Red Priest Nabonidus is going to expose him. So Murilo makes a deal with Conan who is in jail about to be executed. Conan agrees to kill Nabonidus. Only the jailer that was to help him escape is arrested. Conan manages to free himself eventually and takes revenge on the man and woman who betrayed him. Conan sneaks into Nabonidus’s house and finds Murilo who went in to kill him. They find Nabonidus who is also in danger. His man-ape Thak has escaped and taken over the place. They work together to defeat Thak. Nabonidus then turns on Murilo and Conan but Conan is too quick and brains him with a thrown chair.

THE VALE OF LOST WOMEN

Livia is a Nemedian captured and sold into slavery to the chief of the Bajujh. One day the Bamulas come lead by a white chief. Conan is now chief of the Bamulas and is there to form an alliance with the Bajujh. Livia manages to sneak out and Conan agrees to help free her. He later attacks the Bajujh and during this Livia fears for her safety and manages to grab a horse and flee. She comes to a valley with strange women who tie her to an alter. A bat creature comes to take her but Conan arrives and slays it. He promises to see Livia safely back to civilization.

THE DEVIL IN IRON

A fisherman on the Vilayet comes to an island with ruins. A storm has opened an old tomb and he reawakens the inhabitant. Meanwhile Jehungir Agha the lord of Khwarizm comes up with a plan to get rid of the Kozak leader Conan. He uses a slave girl Octavia to entice him. Then plant a story she escaped to the island of Xapur. Only Octavia does escape to the island. She and Conan find that the ruins have been miraculously restored. The inhabitants are also resurrected but seem in a sleepy state. The one responsible is the god who first founded the city. After being resurrected Khosatral Khel used his magic to recreate the city. Conan has to fight a giant snake, Jehungir and his men to get a magical knife. This knife is the only thing that will penetrate the iron skin of Khosatral Khel.

THE PHOENIX ON THE SWORD FIRST DRAFT

The first draft of the story that was rejected.

THE HYBORIAN AGE

A detailed history of the Hyborian age from it’s beginning to it’s end. Shows how the various fiction people became the modern peoples of today.

UNTITLED SYNOPSIS

Nestor a Gunderman leads a squad of Zamorians after the thief Conan. Conan manages to trigger an avalanche that kills the squad except Nestor. The two eventually join to fight a giant monster in a ruined city. At the end Conan takes a gold serpent statue with gem eyes. It turns into a real serpent and bites a magistrate that tries to arrest Conan.

UNTITLED FRAGMENT

After a battle Conan finds a wounded woman and takes her to the city of Yarlet. Atalis and Prince Than are conspiring about something.

UNTITLED SYNOPSIS AND DRAFT

Conan visits the Black Kingdom of Cush ruled by a degenerate king and his sister Thanada. A pig like beast has killed a popular officer and Tuthmes a noble is in control of the creature. He frames Thanada to use in his scheme to take the throne. Thanada is saved by Conan from an attacking mob and made her captain of the guard. Tuthmes uses a white slave girl Diana in his scheme.

HYBOREAN GENESIS by Patrice Lounet

An article on how Howard started writing Conan and the literary influences for the stories that appeared in this book.

I was introduced to Conan through the old Marvel comics of Roy Thomas back when I was a kid. I loved them and the movies. Yet I never read Howard until this volume came out. A complete collection of his Conan in order of how he wrote it. No pastiches or rewritten stories but the pure Howard. I loved them. In fact they so inspired me that the short story I wrote is the only one I have ever sold. He has such a beautiful prose to his stories. These are before political correctness and focus groups. He truly believed in the philosophy that barbarism is the natural state and civilization is the abnormal. He didn’t idealize barbarism just accepted it as the natural state. He wrote them jumping all over Conan’s life from young impetuous thief. To a mercenary captain in an Assyrian type army. A desert chieftain to a pirate. Finally to a king who is a patron of the arts. Howard said that it was meant to be someone telling stories of his life and people just tend to jump around not in chronological order. He created a very rich fictional world that didn’t require and research but familiar enough so the reader could identify the setting.

I really love his writing and this book is an excellent place to start with his Conan to get a true feel for the author.

One thought on “THE COMING OF CONAN THE CIMMERIAN BY ROBERT E. HOWARD

  1. I adore REH’s fiction; I have this book in its original Wandering Star slip-cased version that cost me a small fortune (as did its two follow-up Conan books). There’s some fantastic Conan stories in this collection and I’m hard-pressed to name a favourite, I love them all. As you say, there’s zero political correctness in REH, its like a breath of fresh air. In fact, I really must dust off my copy and start a re-read of them; Autumn and Winter always seem the best times of year to read REH.

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