THE CONQUERING SWORD OF CONAN BY ROBERT E. HOWARD

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Copyright 2005 storied written between 1935-36.

THE SERVANTS OF BIT-YAKIN

Conan is in the kingdom of Keshia and plots to steal the Jewels of Ghwahlar from the ancient palace at Alkmeenon. An abandoned palace set in the crater of a mountain. He finds that another rogue, a Stygian named Thutmekri is also trying to scam the king out of the jewels. Thutmekri plans to use a Corinthian slave girl to impersonate a goddess as the king visits the palace. Conan manages to get to her first and use her to tell the king to give Conan the jewels. Meanwhile some of the cannibalistic servants of Bit-Yakin are still inhabiting the palace.

BEYOND THE BLACK RIVER

Conan is a scout for the Aquilonians in the province of Conajohara a recently settled province in the Pict Wilderness. Zogar Sag a witch doctor has united the various Pict clans to retake the province. With a young ranger named Balthus, Conan attempts to assassinate the wizard. The endeavor ends in failure and now Conan and Balthus must alert the settlers to evacuate the province. Conan also has to fight the beasts of Jhebbal Sag and a demon.

THE BLACK STRANGER

Conan was captured by the Picts and escapes. He goes west to the coast and finds an abandoned cave. The cave contains the treasure of Tranicos and a demon. Farther on the coast a Zingaran Valenso has built a fortress. He is in mortal terror of a Black Stranger that is a wizard he betrayed. One day a Barachan pirate comes and demands a treasure. He attacks the fort but has to flee with the arrival of Black Zarono a Zingaran privateer. Eventually the three band together and Conan enters the mix with knowledge of the treasure’s location. Only now they have to battle the Picts, the mysterious Black Stranger and each other.

THE MAN-EATERS OF ZAMBOULA

In the desert city of Zamboula Conan stays the night at an inn. This innkeeper has a deal with the local cannibal slaves to sell travelers for their feast. Only Conan kills the cannibal and wanders around the streets at night. He rescues a girl from them. The girl named Zabibi tells a story of how the priest of Hanuman drove her lover mad and she needs a potion to restore him. Conan helps her by battling the strangler Baal-Pteor. At the end he finds out the girl was the mistress of the satrap but Conan already knew that and managed to steal the Star of Khorala. He also gets revenge on the innkeeper.

RED NAILS

Valeria a pirate in the Red Brotherhood is forced to flee mercenary service in Stygia. She comes to an abandoned city in the middle of the plains. Conan has followed her and together they have to fight a dragon. After killing it they explore the city and find two factions in a blood feud. They join one side that puts a red nail into a post for every rival they slay.

WOLVES BEYOND THE BORDER DRAFT A & B

Civil war is being fought in Aquilonia. Gault Hagar is a ranger along the border with the Picts. He finds a plot by a renegade Aquilonian to join forces with the Picts to attack loyalists to Conan.

LETTER TO P. SCHULYER MILLER

A letter to some men from Howard in response to their probably outline of Conan’s career. He elaborates on what is right and fills in the blanks.

HYBORIAN GENESIS PART III by Patrice Louinet

An essay on the origins of Howard’s stories in this volume and background of Howard’s life.

The final volume of the collected works of Conan by Howard. This has his latter stories and they are probably the best. You can see Howard as he experiments with new ideas. My personal favorite is Beyond the Black River. This is the first I was exposed to in the comics. Red Nails is considered is finest. These collections from Ballantine are probably the finest to get the unedited Conan that Howard envisioned.

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