Read The Hour of the Dragon by Robert E. Howard Online


Of the 21 Conan the Barbarian tales that Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) completed in his all-too-brief lifetime, Hour of the Dragon was the only novel-length story. It may also be the very best of the series, crafted when the legendary pulp writer was working at the height of his powers. Conan is a huge swordsman fighting both natural and supernatural foes in a time-lost worOf the 21 Conan the Barbarian tales that Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) completed in his all-too-brief lifetime, Hour of the Dragon was the only novel-length story. It may also be the very best of the series, crafted when the legendary pulp writer was working at the height of his powers. Conan is a huge swordsman fighting both natural and supernatural foes in a time-lost world known as the Hyborian Age. At this point in his bloody career, Conan is the middle-aged king of the ancient kingdom of Aquilonia. He must fight one final battle to save the known world from a resurrected sorcerer named Xaltotun. Only the fabled Heart of Ahriman can destroy Xaltotun, and Conan must embark on an epic quest to retrieve the Heart. Howard hammered out every word as if he had actually lived through it himself, and in doing so forged a crimson masterpiece of heroic fantasy. (This novel has also been published as part of the formal Conan series as Conan the Conqueror.)...

Title : The Hour of the Dragon
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780425036082
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 294 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Hour of the Dragon Reviews

  • Jason Koivu
    2019-03-10 13:21

    When you think of Conan you think of this...Then you think of the screaming barbarian...Whoops, sorry, I meant this...But if you read one of Robert Howard's original Conan the Barbarian stories what you get is something that should be titled Conan the Part-Time Barbarian, Part-Time Diplomat, because there is WAY more talk and politics than expected. What did I expect? I thought I'd get more fighting, more monsters and just more action in general. What I got was a whole lotta this *makes talking motion with hand*.I expected bad writing and I got some of that. In fact, it was laughingly bad in places. However, on the whole, it wasn't bad as I feared. And I have to hand it to Howard, who may not go down in the annals as the best historical fiction writer of all time, but it's obvious he did do some research and included some nice little details about mythology, ancient tribes, past strategical war practices, and other old timey crap.In The Hour of the Dragon (Spoiler/Warning-->) (view spoiler)[There's no goddamned dragon in this (hide spoiler)] Conan is pitted against a trio of power-hungry baddies who elicit the help of an evil sorcerer from the past in order to take over the land. Conan must fight to regain his kingdom.Here's something I didn't expect: a lot of world-building by Howard. He names this and that, populating the aforementioned "land" with kingdoms and peoples, valleys and rivers, cities and castles, and yet, it somehow all feels false, tossed off somehow. I wasn't buying into it. Because so much time is wasted with what feels like inconsequential world-building, in exposition, with characters talking about so-and-so and whosits, the story and action bogs down. I was able and willing to put this book down numerous times in order to take up others. That's not a good sign. I'm giving this 3 stars, because I didn't hate it. I just felt let down by it. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Tosh
    2019-03-16 10:22

    ...the hour of the Dragon has come…After reading one of Howard's shortstory collections I discovered he'd also written a full length Conan novel. The one and only - originally written in five parts for the magazine Weird Tales under the title The Hour of the Dragon, then eventually published as a book under a new title. Apparently a publishing company looking to fit this novel in with a themed series of Conan stories decided that Conan the Conqueror was more appropriate. Personally, I like the original title better.In this lengthened tale Conan must escape an ancient sorcerer, track down and steal an artifact of great power and take back the throne of Aquilonia from the "rightful" heir, and his accomplices, who have usurped him and thrown his kingdom and people into ruin.This was a pleasure to read. I enjoy Howard's poetic writing style and the exotic, yet familiar world in which Conan fights and thrives - a world somewhere betweeen myth and our own ancient histories. My only complaint is the end seemed a bit rushed. After the very last line I expected something more, but it was just...over. When you hear the name Conan, you may get an image (probably of Arnold in fur trimmed underpants...but that's not where I'm going with this). Conan isn't just an over-muscled sword wielding barbarian. He's intelligent, thoughtful, cunning and much more humane and sympathetic than popular images, or just plain assumptions, might have you believe. As you follow Conan through his many obstacles you discover a character who is hardened, but not without compassion. True, he's mostly hacking his way through obstacles, escaping sorcerers, powers of darkness, and terrible creatures, but in between some of those moments you'll get a glimpse or two of the heart of Conan. Behind those smoldering blue eyes lies a man of heart. I think that's why I like these stories so much. I've mentioned Howard's writing, which I love, but without a character that has something more than the ability to hack his enemies to pieces these stories wouldn't be quite so enjoyable. Important to mention - this does share some similaries with the short The Scarlet Citadel during the first few chapters of the book. A lot of the details and some of the names where changed or replaced, but the basic concept is still there. As far as this particular kindle edition...Not Recommended. There were so many spelling errors it started to become distracting. Words ending in "rn" were spelled with an "m." Names were misspelled, so that I had to look them up for their correct spelling. A couple I wasn't sure the correct word was being used in a sentence. There's no way this saw an editor.

  • S.E. Lindberg
    2019-03-20 15:49

    "From death to death [The Heart of Ahriman] came, riding on a river of human blood. Blood feeds it, blood draws it. Its power is greatest when there is blood on the hands that grasp it, when it is wrested by slaughter from its holder. Wherever it gleams, blood is spilt and kingdoms totter, and the forces of nature are put in turmoil." -- Thutothmes of Khemi (The Hour of The Dragon, by REH)The Hour of the Dragon (1934-1936), is Robert E. Howard''s only full length novel of Conan, the barbarian he popularized in short story form. The text is available on-line for free via the Gutenberg project, but there are reason's to track down a paperback. I read the Berkley Putnam 1977 edition, which has splendid additions to the story: comprehensive foreword and afterwords by Karl Wagner explain how the novel formed prior being serialized in Weird Tales; a map of the Hyborian Age (inspired by REH's own drawings) is essential for the Hyborian ambiances; interior illustrations are bonuses; and cover art by Ken Kelly is stellar. Hyborian Age: As Wagner details, this book was REH's attempt to break into the UK market that demanded novels (and were not agreeable to his proposals for a collection of his own stories). REH presents Conan as King of Aquilonia. Sorcery and treachery dethrone him, and Conan trots about much of Hyboria, either pursing or being challenged by those who have the magical Heart of Ahriman (which we learn in the opening chapter). This touring of the pre-drowned Euro-Afro-Asia continent begs for a map. The traveling adventure amplifies the Hyborian Age concept; REH's Conan lived in rich pseudo historical land that enabled real ancient cultures to interact with mythical ones. Each chapter has Conan (and his enemies) traversing Aquilonia, Nemeda, Argos, Stygia, and more (these roughly translates to central Europe and Northern Africa). I'm not sure if any othe rtale Missing Chapter Mystery: A deal was accepted but the UK publisher went belly up, so REH worked with Weird Tales to publish the chapters in serial form. As Wagner explains, there is a possibility that one chapter went missing (#20). Wagner left the numbering of the chapters consistent with the numbering as printed in Weird Tales (#20 is skipped); the original manuscript sent to Denis Archer has 4,000 more words (Pawling & Ness imprint) has 75,000 words. That edition never made it to press, but Weird Tales published the novel in serial form...and it had only 71,000 words. Regardless, the story seems consistent, so there is no obvious loss in plot. Style: REH did not change his writing style, so each chapter maintains a very pulpy feel. Chapters are over saturated with conflicts to maintain a frenetic pace. An over reliance on chance encounters detracts from the enjoyment, but it remains a fun read on the whole. Written in the 1930's, the tone has some racial and misogynistic aspects of the time.  Despite the use of the word "negro," Conan appears as a champion/friend to many and even freed many slaves. Woman on the other hand were represented terribly; the few featured are concubines who are cheer leaders of Conan requiring rescue. Here are some examples:Example 1: Concubine saves Conan and is glad to have him put a knife to her     "Walk beside me," [Conan] instructed her softly, passing his massive arm about her lithe waist. "You've played me fair so far, and I'm inclined to believe in you; but I've lived this long only because I've trusted no one too far, man or woman. So! Now if you play me false you won't live to enjoy the jest."     She did not flinch at sight of the reddened poniard or the contact of his hard muscles about her supple body.     "Cut me down without mercy if I play you false," she answered. "The very feel of your arm about me, even in menace, is as the fulfillment of a dream." Example 2: Conan relishes in his obvious manliness     "All right," [Conan] muttered. "I'll trust you; though, by Crom, the habits of a lifetime are not easily put aside. Yet I wouldn't harm you now, if you brought all the swordsmen in Nemedia upon me. But for you Tarascus's cursed ape would have come upon me in chains and unarmed. Do as you wish, girl."     Kissing his hands, she sprang lithely up and ran down the corridor, to vanish through a heavy double door.     He glanced after her, wondering if he was a fool to trust her; then he shrugged his mighty shoulders and pulled the satin hangings together, masking his refuge. It was not strange that a passionate young beauty should be risking her life to aid him; such things had happened often enough in his life. Many women had looked on him with favor, in the days of his wanderings, and in the time of his kingship. Example 3: Conan thanks the concubine who saves him by taking his sexual due     "A horse is hidden for you in a thicket beside the road that runs westward, a few hundred paces to the south of the fountain of Thrallos. You know where it is?"     "Aye! But what of you? I had meant to take you with me."     A flood of joy lighted her beautiful face.     "Then my cup of happiness is brimming! But I will not hamper your escape. Burdened with me you would fail. Nay, do not fear for me. They will never suspect that I aided you willingly. Go! What you have just said will glorify my life throughout the long years."     He caught her up in his iron arms, crushed her slim, vibrant figure to him and kissed her fiercely on eyes, cheeks, throat and lips, until she lay panting in his embrace; gusty and tempestuous as a storm-wind, even his love- making was violent.The over arching plot is engaging, as is Conan's adventures as he meets up with past friends/foes/allies of his pre-King days. The titular Dragon refers to the antagonist's standard (there are many other bad guys, often associated with serpents); Conan and his allies have Lion icons. Conan is dethroned in the very beginning, and it is nigh impossible not to read on to see how he can win it back. That said, the constant, intense adventure indicative of pulp fiction doesn't work well in a novel form. There is a chaotic, accumulating silliness: our "wilderness-bred", panther-stalking hero trips in a curtain while attacking his major foe; he routinely stumbles across key foes in random places, encounters that push any bounds of coincidence; he is saved too often by random characters/events; there are too many evil-dude-explains-his-ways scenes; every few pages he comes across new, crazy conflicts that would work well in short story form (ghouls, vampires, etc.). The in-your-face misogyny and high-frequency-chance-encounters/saves is distracting.The Hour of The Dragon is good adventure and represents Conan and REH's Hyboria well.  The story is best when it focuses on the grand battles and weird descriptions of necromancy. A map and context (i.e. from Wagner's essays) make it more enjoyable.2016/2017 Movie? : Seems like this may be the basis for the next Arnold movie of Conan (to be called Conan the Conqueror ...or King Conan). I could see that going really well.... or really poorly.

  • Arley Dial
    2019-02-24 18:26

    In this final (chronologically) Conan story, Howard demonstrates why he was one of the best adventure writers of all time. In the only novel he ever produced, Howard is able to maintain the blistering pace he is known for, while still weaving a complex and interesting tale. The story is set during Conan's time as King of Aquilonia, which is a period in the hero's life often overlooked (I'm looking at you, Hollywood.) In act one, King Conan is defeated and the kindom is wrested from his grasp. We follow the hero on his quest to defeat an ancient wizard and reclaim his crown. Conan's travels take us through many kingdoms of hyboria, and show the depth of Howard's world building skill and imagination. Undead wizards, priests of mad gods, exotic assasins, and (of course) giant snakes seek to thwart our hero, but the man who rose from his barbarous roots to claim the throne of the greatest kingdom in the west will not be denied. This book is a must read for every adventure fantasy fan, and if (like me) you aspire to write fantasy adventure of your own, it will give you a high mark to strive for. I'll leave you with a quote from the book which sums up why Conan is the greatest fantasy hero of all time."His surcoat was gone, his armor splashed with blood and battered with strokes of sword, mace and ax. He loomed gigantically against a background of blood and slaughter, like some grim pagan hero of mythology."

  • Jim
    2019-03-01 18:35

    I'm reading an online version on Wikisource. I think this is the original that was published as a serial in the pulps. is a great Conan adventure that winds up showing us a lot of his previous life, so that makes it a lot of fun. All the convenient elements got to me, though. One or two in a short story are fine, but an entire novel was too much. (view spoiler)[ Zenobia, must have been the best setup gal in all the western kingdoms to accomplish what she did so quickly & easily. (hide spoiler)]Still, it was a fun, quick read. Well worth it, especially if you're a REH or Conan fan. This is the only Conan novel he ever wrote, one of three. The others are A Gent From Bear Creek, which is actually just a bunch of short stories tied together, & Almuric.

  • Derek
    2019-03-11 18:36

    I could read this many times (three, so far) and pick out some new facet each time. F'instance:* Howard touches several times on the theme that Conan's lone-wolf nature is both strength and weakness. He is dedicated to his kingdom, but is not committed to it: he neither married nor produced an heir. Upon his presumed death, the barons cannot rally around an heir and thus the center of the kingdom will not hold.* A foozle quest--in this case the Heart of Ahriman--is required to save the kingdom, but the need for it is strongly justified. As in, the characters run down the list of alternatives and the reasons why they will not work. The magic device really is the last resort. * And, unlike many imitators, the Heart is not (now) buried in a eldritch-guarded labyrinthine tomb in some forgotten land. He must chase after the merchant who bought it, and those who stole it from him. (view spoiler)[Though the story of how the Heart was plucked from the temple of Mitra is, in my mind, a pastiche story waiting to be written. (hide spoiler)]* The image and set piece of the city of Tarantia in misrule by foreign invaders and a puppet king is one that I keep returning to as an idea never fully done, but done here first (view spoiler)[See alsoThe Sword and the Sorcerer (hide spoiler)]. The land is despoiled, the oppressor's excesses drain what is left, and a lack of governance will end everything. The puppet king wishes everyone to suffer, to thoroughly ruin and beggar the country, spoiling it for the conquerors.* The turn of fate at the climax of the book is not decided by Conan. A group of broken refugees conspire and enact their own plan. Conan is barely present, only seen in the distance in the battle while the secondary support crew gets it done.* The opening battle is described in dialog, as a squire narrates events to a stricken Conan. This is a peculiar choice, though it allows the characters to comment and react. I can't think of another author who would dare to do it this way.

  • V.
    2019-03-08 11:22

    The problem with a lot of genre classics is that their ideas have been ripped off so often they end up reading like they're full of cliches even though they were the originators of those familiar tropes. But when it comes to the best of the pulp writers there's an electric vibe that runs through them that doesn't fade. Like the stories of Raymond Chandler or Lovecraft or even Poe, they're just very entertaining and fun.Conan stories vary in quality, but this one, the only full-length novel, has everything you'd want in a ridiculous over-the-top swords and sorcery epic. Undead wizards, giant snakes, vampires who live in pyramids, brave but terrified harlots, and thundering through battles, sword drenched in blood, Conan the Barabarian—risen to king and fighting to reclaim his throne. Plus a little casual racism. What more could you want?This won't convince anyone who finds this kind of thing juvenile and pointless that they're wrong (if anything it will probably do the opposite), but for anyone who's ever been a 14 year old boy (or still is) this is a great read and its entertainment value has not diminished over the decades. Spoiler: there are no actual dragons in this story.

  • Artemas
    2019-03-03 11:50

    Some wicked dark sorcery in this one.

  • Jack
    2019-03-12 12:50

    With this book, Robert E. Howard proved that he could maintain the skillful prose and pacing of his Conan short stories in a full-length novel. Wonderful passage:They traversed a long, dark, vaulted corridor in which, Conan noticed uneasily, the skull on the staff glowed phosphorescently. He felt a surge of unreasoning, wild animal panic that urged him to rip out his knife and slash right and left at these uncanny figures, to flee madly from this grim, dark temple. But he held himself in check, fighting down the dim monstrous intuitions that rose in the back of his mind and peopled the gloom with shadowy shapes of horror; and presently he barely stifled a sigh of relief as they filed through a great double-valved door which was three times higher than a man, and emerged into the starlight.

  • Joe Russomanno
    2019-02-23 16:46

    For people that don't know, Howard is the Father of Modern day Sword and Sorcery. For people that think he invented it, all I can say is see the King Arthur legend and even that isn't the first.As for this particular story. If you think Lord of the Rings etc. are the centerpieces for fantasy fiction, well you're mistaken. This right here should and is in my opinion, the crown jewel of fantasy fiction. An evil wizard with power beyond belief. Treacherous rulers who plot against the hero. Epic battles. Sneaking into hidden and forbidden lairs. Taking to the high-seas, swashbuckling brawls. Oh yea and a magic item which when used against the evil-wizard spells his doom. Don't let the stereotypes from the movies fool you, this is a masterpiece.

  • J.j. Metsavana
    2019-02-21 12:38

    Puhas tükk iidsetest ulmekirjanduse katakombidest pärit kulda. Kaetud kummaliste graveeringute, ammu unustatud keeles kirjutatud ruunide ning paljude seda näpata üritanud fantaasiakirjanike aastakümneid tagasi kuivanud vereplekkidega. Salapärane kuju aga särab edasi ja teeb seda ka kaua peale meie surma. Las barbarid uputavad maailma young-adulti või vampiirikroonikate alla, vana artefakt elab kõik nad oma varjatud peidupaigas üle ja särab endiselt kirkalt ka palju aega peale kõigi nende loendamatute fantasytriloogiate põrmuks pudenemist.

  • Charles
    2019-02-20 11:35

    My edition is from Berkley. This is Howard's novel of Conan with minimal editing.Howard's only full length novel about Conan, and it contains some sections that are loose rewrites of a few of the Conan stories. This is a really enjoyable novel, with great atomsphere and action.

  • Gabriel Wallis
    2019-02-21 10:41

    There's really nothing like reading a good Conan book. So far, in my reading of all things Conan, I've only read the original stories, written by creator Robert E. Howard. I haven't ventured out and read any Robert Jordan, Steve Perry, Leonard Carpenter, or any other Conan authors out there, due to the fact that I want to read the originals first to obtain what Robert E. Howard envisioned. Conan the Conqueror was an excellent book, probably the best Conan book I've ever read. There was only one story presented, unlike the other previous original eight Conan books out there, consisting of four or five short stories per book. No, it was just one epic, glorious adventure of a king on a mission to regain his kingdom. The Nemedian rulers raised a necromancer from the dead, by the name of Xaltotun of Acheron, to use for their benefit to fight against King Conan and the Aquilonians. War wages, and the Nemedians and Aquilonians believe they witness the death of King Conan in battle. Unbeknownst to both warring parties, Conan survives and is taken prisoner to Belvarus, a city in Nemedian country. The Nemedians trample the Aquilonians and set up their own king, King Valerius, in Conan's place. After fighting a giant ape, Conan escapes Belvarus and runs into a priest of Asura, Hadrathus. The priest then informs Conan on how to kill Xaltotun... with the Heart of Ahriman, a jewel of powerful magic, the same jewel that rose Xaltotun from the grave three thousand years after his death. Conan sets out on a journey to obtain said jewel, which has been stolen from one person to the next. The last known person to have the Heart of Ahriman is a priest of Set, Thutothmes. And the only way for Conan to get him and the jewel is to travel to Stygia, the home of the priests of Set and Thoth-Amon, Conan's former foe. After an small battle in the temples and streets of Stygia, Conan regains the Heart of Ahriman. All along the way, Conan runs into bands of men who want to help him win back his kingdom of Aquilonia. When the armies of Nemedia and Conan's army of Aquilonians and all the surrounding countries meet in battle, Conan wins by strategy and magic, thus winning back Aquilonia and setting up a queen by his side. Such a good book! I can't wait to read the next book in the original series, Conan the Avenger. So much depth was added to Conan's character, and the political intrigue kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I definitely recommend this book.

  • Michael
    2019-03-07 13:47

    Book 9 in my re-read of the Conan series. Spoilers ahead!Conan the Conqueror picks up two years after the events in The Scarlet Citadel, and is essentially the same story expanded into novel length. Luckily, I enjoyed The Scarlet Citadel, so I didn't mind the extended do over. And really, if you've made it this far in the series, you should be no stranger to treading familiar ground. Much of the story is comprised of Conan in pursuit of an ancient jewel, the Heart of Ahriman, that will allow him to reclaim his stolen kingdom. The jewel is basically the MacGuffin that takes Conan all over the map so he can slaughter a variety of opponents, and get knocked unconscious every few chapters by black magic, a fall from a horse, and a club to the head. His most notable excursion is into the mysterious lands of Stygia, whose people are ruled by sorcerers and they worship the serpent god, Set. This is also the story in which Conan encounters a slave girl named Zenobia, his future bride and Queen of Aquilonia. One of the highlights of the story for me was Conan's encounter with the vampire, Princess Akivasha, in a Stygian temple, especially when she shares her origin."I am the woman who never died, who never grew old! Who fools say was lifted from the earth by the gods, in the full bloom of her youth and beauty, to queen it forever in some celestial clime! Nay, it is in the shadows that mortals find immortality! Ten thousand years ago I died to live forever!"I also liked the imagery that followed soon after, as Conan is led out of the temple by an undead Stygian priest that had been resurrected by the Heart of Ahriman. The jewel not only provides the only light as they make their way out of a maze of tunnels, but keeps Akivasha and all manner of inhuman things at bay.And the climactic battle is every bit as good as the one depicted in The Scarlet Citadel."Up on the slopes the forest of lances dipped, leveled. The ranks of the Gundermen rolled back to right and left like a parting curtain. And with a thunder like the rising roar of a hurricane, the knights of Aquilonia crashed down the slopes.They were coming downhill and they came like a thunderbolt. And like a thunderbolt they smote the struggling ranks of the Nemedians- smote them, split them apart, ripped them asunder, and dashed the remnants headlong down the slopes."

  • Terence
    2019-03-02 11:28

    The only Conan novel written by Howard, The Hour of the Dragon delivers everything a fan of the Cimmerian would want - beautiful women needing rescue, several evil wizards to defeat, and a well-paced adventure that has Conan striving to recover the Aquilonian throne and thwart the efforts of Xaltotun to restore the empire of Acheron. This is the umpteenth time I've read the novel since acquiring this Sci-Fi Book Club edition almost 30 years ago and it's still great fun.I like to believe the following reflects a certain emotional maturation on my part but at this point in my life I can't help but wish some author would write a Conan novel (or short) from his victims' point of view. After all, all of our "knowledge" about Conan comes from him. Reflect - the kozaki and Zuagir didn't just ride around waving swords and yelling. They descended on defenseless villages, killing men, raping women and leading off captives to be sold as slaves. And Conan led them. And just how "willing" were all those women who shared his bedrolls?Maybe that's why all my favorite Conan stories nowadays either have a strong female foil ("Red Nails"), no female at all ("Beyond the Black River") or Conan doesn't get the girl ("People of the Black Circle" or "A Witch Shall Be Born").

  • Mark Stone
    2019-02-23 18:39

    To think that as good as Howard was writing Sword & Sorcery he was even better in writing Westerns according to his contemporaries. While I haven't read his Westerns to comment on that comparison personally, I can tell you that The Hour of the Dragon is perhaps Howard's finest writing in the Sword & Sorcery genre. Some of what happens is a little too happenstance for me, but that wasn't enough for me to knock this book from 5 stars to 4. An incredible read; a must read for those of us who are authors of Fantasy and/or Sword & Sorcery.There's a reason Howard is known as the Grandfather of Sword & Sorcery and Howard shows us why he is called that with what he's done here.

  • Rob
    2019-03-10 13:47

    Howard's only novel-length tale of the redoubtable Cimmerian. When serialized in Weird Tales, it was titled 'Hour of the Dragon,' which de Camp said had little to do with the story. As if "Conan the Conqueror" does.To me this is the last truly worthwhile book in this series. The tales after this are almost wholly not Howard's work (unless you count some vague notes), and it shows. This was my first exposure to Conan, other than Marvel Comics. I preferred this to the comics, but I prefer the earlier short stories even more. I think Howard was at his best in the short story, although he does keep things fairly intense even in this longer work.

  • Charles
    2019-03-10 14:39

    This basically "Hour of the Dragon" retitled to fit the series demands, and edited by L. Sprague De Camp, even though it really didn't need any editing. Still, the power of the original certainly shines through here.

  • Ron
    2019-03-12 17:36

    Hard to beat the original Conan. The character never dies... Conan is forever.

  • Mike Billington
    2019-03-03 15:42

    What can I say about Robert E. Howard that hasn't already been said?Should I say that he almost singlehandedly invented a whole genre of fiction? That his world-building skills were unsurpassed? That his use of the active voice was almost without parallel?I could, but that's all been said before.What I can say is that I've been reading Howard's tales of the giant Cimmerian since I was 10 and, now at three score and ten, I still enjoy them.Howard created a forgotten age in his Conan stories and it's a world that's full of anachronisms. Steel-clad knights do battle with enemies that sound a lot like the Iroquois in some instances or like Assyrian archers in others. Frankly, none of that matters because Howard was such an adept storyteller. He wrote in such a way that it is easy to overlook the anachronisms.He also infused many of his stories with the supernatural... as a former reporter who spent his career covering crime and foreign wars that would normally be a problem for me. The fact is, I'm not a big fan of witches and wizards but in Howard's case I'm willing to overlook my own prejudices and accept that there are men and women in the world who can bring down mountains with a few incantations, talk to wolves, and use ravens as spies.This novel - Howard's only full-length book - also travels under the name "Hour of the Dragon," which seems to me to be the better title. That aside, this is the story of a middle-aged warrior who has won a kingdom, lost it, and must now fight to regain the crown. It's a story that has every element a reader could ask for: Betrayals, battles, intrigue, brave women willing to risk everything, and - of course - Conan.Admittedly, this genre isn't for everyone. It demands that you suspend your belief on almost every page, after all. If, however, you are willing to do that and just go along for the ride, I think you'll enjoy this fast-reading novel as much as I do.

  • Lior
    2019-03-18 11:47

    Can Epic Fantasy get any better than this? In the only Conan novel written by Robert E. Howard himself, an evil wizard dead for 3,000 years is resurrected by a group of usurpers to help them take over Conan's throne in Aquilonia, and ultimately, take over the entire Hyborian kingdoms. The story is fast-paced, inventive and exciting. Conan is what he is. A rough and tough Barbarian, but also a man of honor and integrity. Really amazing when you realize this was written in the 1930's before Epic Fantasy was a thing and before the market was flooded with countless imitators of Howard (and Tolkien). And speaking of Tolkien, I will not be surprised if he had read Hour of the Dragon. There are some striking similarities between this and The Lord of the Rings, specifically regarding the Heart of Ahriman, a powerful artifact that reminded me very much of the One Ring.

  • Сибин Майналовски
    2019-03-16 18:32

    Е точно това не ми хареса. Не знам защо, ама четенето беше чиста мъка. Две звездички отгоре заради баце Конан, че, както всички знаем, той е най-големия, ама... излагация. Даже и годината на написване (1934) не го оправдава :(

  • M
    2019-02-24 15:21

    I will call it "surprisingly good".Howard's whole appeal is you can't put his stories down. No matter how corny they get, you keep turning the pages because his writing is so crisp and evocative that you need to know who Bronan the Insanian is going to decapitate next, and why, although the why is rarely fleshed out.I didn't figure he would've been able to keep this up for a full novel, but he did, and it breezed by like one of his short stories. It was a Conan story, so talking about the plot would be redundant, and yet here I go: A necromancer mummy is resurrected by stupid people who hate Conan and don't understand necromancy or mummies. The necromancer mummy promptly takes over all of the stupid people's armies and crushes Conan, keeping him alive for some reason. You're a necromancer, dude. If you killed him and brought him back, you'd still be unliving right now.The necromancer mummy gloats about how subservient Conan will be, then leaves him alone in his cell with four inept guards. Conan immediately kills one, probably with his teeth. The other three piss off for a while, until some randomly generated female protagonist shows up and gives him the keys to some (but not all) of his cell doors because she saw him riding a horse once and fell in love. I swear to Crom, that was the line.Conan breaks out, stabs an evil gorilla to death, escapes yet another dungeon, gets ambushed by tertiary treasure hunters who give him a skull fracture and decide not to kill him, for some reason. He wakes up aboard a slave galley, where he is expected to row forever. Conan shrugs off the skull fracture and murders thirty slaver-pirates, freeing their slaves and then being like "HEY YOU GUYS WANNA ROW SOME MORE? I GOTTA DO A WAR" and of course they're all like "OH MAN YOU KILLED THOSE SLAVERS SO GOOD WE'RE TOTALLY GONNA ROW SOME MORE FOR YOU."A war happens, and the necromancer mummy would've won if not for the joint efforts of suicidally heroic commoners who love Conan so much they will HAPPILY die for him, and also a friendly wizard he recruited to Tap 2 Blue Mana and Counterspell everything the necromancer mummy tries to do. He is violently and summarily dispatched in classic less-than-a-paragraph Conan fashion, and then everyone's like, "Well gee Conan, what're you gonna do now?"And Conan looks into the camera and says "I gotta go get that girl who freed me out of the dungeon because I am gonna fuckin MARRY HER and she is gonna be QUEEN OF HYBORIA." Roll credits.At first I thought that was moving a little fast, considering all she did was give him a key and then wait for him to protect her from everything in the dungeon, but then I remembered Conan's wife turnover rate. Every short story, his most recent love interest is messily disemboweled by someone who Conan must, in turn, messily disembowel, then broodingly stare at a fire and swear further revenge on whatever's available. Life is short; life is even shorter for those who have any contact whatsoever with Conan, so I guess it makes sense. Good book, if you can get past all the dated casual racism and hokey fantasy cliches. Considering this is where those cliches originated, I got past 'em.

  • Michael
    2019-02-26 17:33

    This is the only novel Robert E. Howard ever wrote about Conan, and somehow I never got around to reading it. It is a lot of fun; like watching a cartoon or playing a video game: Conan has become the king of Aquilonia, Conan is deposed from his throne by an evil wizard who has been resurrected from the misty past of Hyperboria, Conan goes on a quest to find the one magical jewel that can send said wizard back to the Abyss, Conan beats the crap out of everyone who gets in his way. Plus: a lot of voluptuous women throw themselves at Conan. Including a vampire. Howard wrote great adventure fiction, but this stuff is 80 years old and not what one would call PC. His descriptions of black characters are...troublesome. His view of women is...not quite modern. I wouldn't suggest these stories to anyone who was not male and white because they can be quite offensive. Personally, I find judging writers from decades (or centuries) ago by our modern standards to be a bit self-serving, but that's how things are developing in the good old US of A. Maybe that's as it should be. No matter how fun these stories are to read, the author's worldview is pretty primitive. I would be embarrassed to suggest these stories to any of my students of color because instead of reading a rip'snortin' tale of swords and sorcery, they would have to deal with the author's virulent racism. Would it be worth it? How will the future judge us, I wonder, and our literature? Too heteronormative? Not sufficiently carbon neutral? Are we engaging in cultural appropriation? Hopefully I'll be too old to care. In any event, Conan is entertaining. Now on to something more heady. To cleanse myself of Howard's nastiness (even as I still love his stories), I will read about the one and only black barbarian hero, Imaro.

  • A.M.
    2019-03-06 12:39

    Four defeated lords resort to necromancy and bring back a two thousand year old magician (Xaltotun) from the dead. Their aim? Power. But in order to get it and take over all the kingdoms, they need to kill Conan who is currently serving as the King of Aquilonia. They use magic to collapse the cliff on Conan during a battle, but it was only a stand-in. Conan was struck down by a shadow in his tent before the battle and could not ride out. He rails as his army is left leaderless and lost; thousands routed and killed.But the four forgot to check with Xaltotun and he has plans of his own that don’t include killing Conan. He takes the frozen and helpless Conan back with him. A mistake; as Conan learns that the only way to kill this magical being is by destroying a sacred stone (the Heart of Ahriman) that contains his life. The fighter escapes and begins the hunt to find the stone that everyone wants. He tracks it all over the various kingdoms.Meanwhile the four rule (badly) and come to the realisation that all the real power lies with the sorcerer and that they will be merely his pawns when he returns his kingdom of Acheron back into power.~~~~~~First published as a serial in 1935, it is standard Conan fare. Often it is tempting to think that it has all been done before, but the thing to remember is that Howard was one of the first to write these kinds of stories. Conan is unstoppable. Everything he tries succeeds, he usually fights alone and all women aid him - even ageless vampire women and mystical old ladies with wolf companions.

  • Peter W Blaisdell
    2019-02-28 12:30

    Howard's only full length Conan book is the very definition of sword and sorcery. This story has also been entitled, THE HOUR OF THE DRAGON. Though the author wrote in the 1930s, a great deal of modern epic fantasy is informed by the vivid, fluid approach Howard takes in telling his tales. In THE HOUR OF THE DRAGON, Howard wastes little time on characterization or description, instead focusing on headlong forward momentum for his plot wherein Conan confronts a fantastically evil wizard returned from the dead to remake the realm into a slave empire. The hero undertakes an epic quest to find an all-powerful gemstone needed to return the demon wizard to dust. Needless to say, despite confronting virtually every danger real and magical imaginable, Conan crushes his opponents and wins the day, in the process marrying a poor woman and turning her into his queen.The story isn't really a novel despite it's length; the protagonist doesn't change a bit over its course, but from the first sentence, the reader is pulled into his fantastical world. Like most of Howard's Conan stories, the conflict between the supposed purity of paganism vs the decadence of civilized life is called out as is the ability of a forceful individual to bend circumstances to their will. However, one can enjoy this simply as a fun adventure story.

  • Philip Schmohl
    2019-03-11 10:33

    It is the only book length telling of the Conan sagas and one of the Howard works L. Sprague Decamp and Lin Carter didn't get there hands on to bastardize! I came of age as a boy to the Conan tales. Howard helped me define my manhood, yeah, that may be pathetic to some, but in an alcoholic household with an absentee father - it was a big help to a confused, searching kid. Unfortunately, these tales made a fighter out of me an alpha-dog in every circle in which I moved or had my being. I made many a male enemy, but had lots of women. Thanks Bob for teaching me how and showing me that heterosexuality was better than sexual confusion. I have enjoyed all of the Howard pastiches by Decamp and Carter growing up and it made a life-long Howard/Conan fan out of me. R.E. Howard's best stories are his westerns and boxing stories in my opinion. His writing is not the best, but he can tell a tale....

  • Chompa
    2019-03-12 10:45

    I listened to an audiobook version of this available free from Librivox. Magnificent. I read a bunch of Conan when I was much younger and I've read a story or two in recent decades, but this sole novel of Conan by REH is something I'd never read/listened to. It is absolutely amazing. Howard is a consumate writer with vocabulary that might be challenging, but a dictionary (or google search) will bring you up to speed. His words though are very evocative and quickly bring an image to mind. This is Conan at his best. King Conan loses his throne and quests for a means to regain it against a host of foes including a three thousand year old sorcerer returned to life by other foes. Conan journeys from Aquilonia to Stygia having many adventures along the way. Mark Nelson reading the story does a fine job.

  • Angel
    2019-02-25 17:48

    Según pone en el prólogo, esta es la única novela que escribió Howard sobre Conan, el resto de libros se componen de recopilaciones de historias con un mismo marco temporal, eso le da a este libro un dinamismo que otros no tienen, al tener una mayor extensión, el autor se recrea más en los detalles, se podría decir que este libro, por medio de su argumento, da un repaso a toda la historia de Conan, desde que salió de Cimmeria hasta el momento actual.Quizas peque de una resolución bastante rápida, y dar por explicadas algunas cosas, pero como siempre, la narrativa de Howard es muy directa y te atrapa desde la primera página.

  • Stephen Nicholson
    2019-02-27 14:24

    This is the best possible Conan novel. You may know it better as Conan the Conquer, but that title doesn't really reflect the theme Howard was going for.Set during the Conan's time as King of Aquilonia, dark forces conspire to strip Conan of both is title, and his life. Captured, he narrowly escapes and sets out to reclaim his throne. It's a great read, touching upon some very interesting themes, and the people who help him are often poor or disenfranchised. It's one of the best Conan stories Howard wrote, and it's a head of its time in many ways. (It was, after all written in the 1930s.)I highly recommend this novel as one of the best of the sword and sorcery genre.