zaterdag 5 maart 2016

"Conan the Invincible" by Robert Jordan

"Conan's breath rasped in his throat, and the blood pounded in his ears. A growl built deep in his throat. He forced the man's head back. Back. Abruptly there was an audible snap, and the guardsman was a dead man sagging on his chest."

Years before he gained fame & fortune with his "Wheel of Time" series, Robert Jordan wrote a couple of Conan novels, based on the character created by Robert E. Howard. "Conan the Invincible" was one of his earliest books, the first of seven Conan novels by his hand (and also the first of the TOR Conan series, which was launched at the time of the popular movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, and was to extend to over forty books, written by many different authors).

Conan, the mighty barbarian, is still a young man in this novel, and is spending his time in Zamora, drinking & womanizing, thieving when appropriate & killing when provoked. The evil wizard Imhep-Aton approaches him with a request to enter the king's palace and steal some items. When Conan learns about the phenomenal reward that awaits him, he doesn't think twice and heads for the palace, only to find out that someone has beaten him to it.  Conan sets off in pursuit of the thieves, to retrieve what he thinks should be his, while at the same time trying to rescue the fair maiden Velita, who was kidnapped in the process. Meanwhile, Imhep-Aton thinks Conan has double-crossed him and sends out his demons to destroy the barbarian.

As you can expect from any Conan story, there's lots of violence, wizards, demons, tons of blood & gore and a bunch of naked women, who are all too willing to open their hearts (and their legs) to Conan. If you know Jordan from his "Wheel of Time", you'll be surprised by this novel, which is a fast moving, action packed adventure without any trace of subtlety, and is nothing like his well-know series at all. It was already clear, though, that Jordan had a knack for writing fantasy tales. Sure, he is no Robert E. Howard - this book doesn't compare to the powerful original stories. But at least Jordan has written a very entertaining Sword & Sorcery adventure that you will enjoy, if you like this kind of thing.

Author: Robert Jordan
Title: Conan the Invincible
Publisher: Tor
Year: 1982
Number of pages: 284 p.
ISBN: 0812509978

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