Customer Reviews for

The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

start of the sword and sorcery sub-genre. The tales are well written and enhanced by terrific illustrations

This anthology consists of the first thirteen (in chronological order of when released) Conan tales, which most literary historians agree were the start of the sword and sorcery sub-genre. The tales are well written and enhanced by terrific illustrations by Mark Schult...
This anthology consists of the first thirteen (in chronological order of when released) Conan tales, which most literary historians agree were the start of the sword and sorcery sub-genre. The tales are well written and enhanced by terrific illustrations by Mark Schultz. Those who grew up with the Schwarzenegger films will find Howard¿s Conan a much more complete character (actually the Marvel Comic book series captured more of the original essence). The stories are exciting though they were written in the 1930s. The collection also includes much more information on the Conan tales including maps, an untitled draft and several synopses of potential future tales. The Miscellanea and Appendix sections are fun to read during spare moments as fans will gain an understanding of how creative the author truly was, but clearly the exhilarating stories is where the superb reading experience is at as that affirms Mr. Howard¿s greatness.----- Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on December 9, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

The first 13 of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian stories h

The first 13 of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian stories have been re-published in this trade paperback.

Don't judge these by the standards of the Schwarzenegger films. (I happen to like those films, but for other reasons.) Written in the 1930s, these are literal...
The first 13 of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian stories have been re-published in this trade paperback.

Don't judge these by the standards of the Schwarzenegger films. (I happen to like those films, but for other reasons.) Written in the 1930s, these are literally the original sword and sorcery stories, with the brutal Conan constantly encountering monsters, enslaved princesses and evil sorcerers. Anyone who likes fantasy should read at least a couple, even if only to see how the genre began. My personal favorite is "The Tower of the Elephant."

Now for the caveats.

These stories were aimed at a largely male pulp magazine audience. This was the 1930s equivalent of today's action film. Therefore, the testosterone quotient is pretty high. Women are usually depicted as weeping damsels in distress, which won't please some female readers.

The plots shamelessly cater to adolescent male fantasies and insecurities. Conan, the man of action, is always able to master whatever unexpected situation he's thrown into, usually by kicking butt all over Cimmeria, or Aquilonia, or whatever mythical country he finds himself in. Beautiful women melt at the mere sight of him. The plots are contrived so that these women are forced by circumstances to share his company. By the time the story's over, they refuse to leave him.

When you get right down to it, the sullen, inarticulate Conan is essentially a rather one-dimensional character. But I didn't care about that when I read these stories as a teenager.

After Howard committed suicide, other authors somehow took over the franchise and kept writing new Conan stories. Avoid these inferior works. I think they are now out of print, but they turn up regularly in used bookstores.

posted by Arthur_Coombe on November 15, 2012

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    start of the sword and sorcery sub-genre. The tales are well written and enhanced by terrific illustrations

    This anthology consists of the first thirteen (in chronological order of when released) Conan tales, which most literary historians agree were the start of the sword and sorcery sub-genre. The tales are well written and enhanced by terrific illustrations by Mark Schultz. Those who grew up with the Schwarzenegger films will find Howard¿s Conan a much more complete character (actually the Marvel Comic book series captured more of the original essence). The stories are exciting though they were written in the 1930s. The collection also includes much more information on the Conan tales including maps, an untitled draft and several synopses of potential future tales. The Miscellanea and Appendix sections are fun to read during spare moments as fans will gain an understanding of how creative the author truly was, but clearly the exhilarating stories is where the superb reading experience is at as that affirms Mr. Howard¿s greatness.----- Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2003

    Good news for REH fans

    What's so exciting about a new Conan book? This is the pure stuff. Previous editions of Howard's Conan stories have been edited, posthumously completed, and presented in tandem with imitations. So this is exciting publishing! Considering Conan's decades old publishing history a little bit more historical information probably should have been included in the introduction and endnotes in this edition. It is great that this edition is concentrating on the newness and uniqueness of presenting unedited Howard, but a nod toward the men who first recognized the need to reprint the adventures of the Cimmerian is in order. Giving thanks to John D. Clark, Martin Greenburg, and especially L. Sprague de Camp (the editor of the immensely popular Lancer Books paperback series) would have been the proper thing to do. For first time readers of Robert E. Howard this book should mostly be a pleasure. Several stories here are classics deserving a far wider audience. As with all writers not every story is a diamond, but even Howard's rhinestones should please the reader a bit. Howard, at his best, was a gritty hard-boiled and cynical writer who berated the right targets: mistreatment of the different (in Tower of the Elephant) police brutality and forced confessions (in The God in the Bowl), the hubris of gods (in the Frost Giant's Daughter) imperialism and colonization (in Beyond the Black River, a story appearing in the next volume.) Sadly some of his tales have a glaring flaw. As the editor phrases it, 'violent ethnocentricism.' Hopefully, the reader can reflect on the social environment at the time these tales were written and forgive Howard for this woefully misplaced antagonism.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The first 13 of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian stories h

    The first 13 of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian stories have been re-published in this trade paperback.

    Don't judge these by the standards of the Schwarzenegger films. (I happen to like those films, but for other reasons.) Written in the 1930s, these are literally the original sword and sorcery stories, with the brutal Conan constantly encountering monsters, enslaved princesses and evil sorcerers. Anyone who likes fantasy should read at least a couple, even if only to see how the genre began. My personal favorite is "The Tower of the Elephant."

    Now for the caveats.

    These stories were aimed at a largely male pulp magazine audience. This was the 1930s equivalent of today's action film. Therefore, the testosterone quotient is pretty high. Women are usually depicted as weeping damsels in distress, which won't please some female readers.

    The plots shamelessly cater to adolescent male fantasies and insecurities. Conan, the man of action, is always able to master whatever unexpected situation he's thrown into, usually by kicking butt all over Cimmeria, or Aquilonia, or whatever mythical country he finds himself in. Beautiful women melt at the mere sight of him. The plots are contrived so that these women are forced by circumstances to share his company. By the time the story's over, they refuse to leave him.

    When you get right down to it, the sullen, inarticulate Conan is essentially a rather one-dimensional character. But I didn't care about that when I read these stories as a teenager.

    After Howard committed suicide, other authors somehow took over the franchise and kept writing new Conan stories. Avoid these inferior works. I think they are now out of print, but they turn up regularly in used bookstores.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 21, 2014

    Good read

    This is a little disjointed

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2012

    Awesome

    Really good

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  • Posted September 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Storytelling from the Master

    The stories of Conan by Robert E. Howard are nothing short of genius. For the first time in over 50 years the unaltered publications of Howard's most iconic character are available in print. Over 30 stories collected in 3 books. These include several never before published extras and stories that have not seen distribution since their original debut in Weird Tales magazine. The foundation of the Sword and Sorcery genre lies within Conan! The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian, The Bloody Crown of Conan, The Conquering Sword of Conan.

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  • Posted May 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Conan is coming!

    this was my first conan book an i was not disappointed the excintment was constant, the threats were colossal. that is something i love dearly, overwhelming odds, i see it all the time in the legend of drizzt, Gotrek and Felix, and Malus Darkblade. There were splashes of romance here and there, which i find unique among all the fantasy novels i have read which is quite considerable.

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  • Posted August 1, 2009

    Out of the past

    Another in the rerelease of Howards writing. The conan stories are of course among the first sword and sorcery writings. To my own opinion they are the best. The collection here has great illustrations and is a very attractive book to display on your book shelf. But the draw is the stories. Howard writing pulp fiction from the late 20's and 30's is still vital and exciting. I can't imagine any fantasy reader being without the Conan stories.

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  • Posted April 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A great collection of the true Conan stories! Vol. 1 of 3, so start here!

    I grew up with the Arnold Conan movies, and the Marvel comics, but had never actually read the original, true Conan stories until I picked up this book. These are the unedited versions, in the order they were written, by the original author. (Further stories were written by other authors after his death.) You get to see the character in various stages of his adventurous life. He's a thief, a pirate, a mercenary, a leader of armies, and eventually a king.

    I was blown away by how well these stories are written! Despite that they were created in the 1930's, the writing style does not feel dated at all. They are fun, exciting, gritty, gory, and realistic; apart from the occasional sorcery. Conan is an intelligent, clever, honorable, and altogether likable hero. The action segments are so well done that they feel fast and powerful, and I was swept up in them.

    I also really enjoyed the illustrations throughout. They were beautifully drawn and painted by artist Mark Schultz. There is also additional bonus material at the end that includes the author's notes, drawings, and some unpublished drafts and synopsis. This is an edition compiled for Conan completists.

    The book is not marked as such, but this is the first volume in a three volume series collecting every story of Conan in chronological order. I highly suggest that any fan of adventure/fantasy to pick this up. These are the best editions for these stories around. You get a lot of value for your money!

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  • Posted December 2, 2008

    the best

    no one does it like Howard. No one.

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  • Posted December 14, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    ROBERT E. HOWARD = BEST OF THE BEST

    Robert E. Howard was an extra-ordindary creative writer who in my opinion was the best! His vision, talent, creative writing, and action packed stories can and will never be replicated! To learn more about this unique man read The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard by Mark Finn. Also, read the Best of Robert E. Howard 1 & 2. Number two has my favorites Red Nails, Beyond The Black River, and scariest story EVER Pigeons From Hell! Be sure to read it at night with plenty of light. The illustrations are superb and add a lot of value. Type in the search field Robert E. Howard and get them all and Jack London's Star Rover that was REH's favorite book. Barnes & Noble carries this story along with five others in the best of Jack London. Check out the REH Foundation and Forum.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2008

    One of the Best Books in American Literature

    This is one of the best books I have ever read. It's not like the movie at all, it's way better! Howard writes these stories in a very vivid and detailed way, setting the scene and describing all the violence that is Conan. The book is a series of short stories revolving around Conan and his heroic deeds. It is compiled like books on mythology are, a bunch of short stories put into one book. Some of the stories are only about 15 pages long, but 2 pages into each story and you get what you expect when you hear the name Conan: Savagery and bloodletting!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2008

    ROBERT E. HOWARD = BEST OF THE BEST

    Robert E. Howard was an extra-ordindary creative writer who in my opinion was the best! His vision, talent, creative writing, and action packed stories can and will never be replicated! To learn more about this unique man read The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard by Mark Finn. Also, read the Best of Robert E. Howard 1 & 2. Number two has my favorites Red Nails, Beyond The Black River, and scariest story EVER Pigeons From Hell! Be sure to read it at night with plenty of light.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2007

    Dude Below me is WRONG

    This is on of the Greatest collection of Stories EVER. ReH Had a amazing style of writing and if you like fantasy and a Fantastic read I suggest this

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2006

    Kind of boring...

    Besides Tolkien, I had never read any fantasy. I picked this book up because I had seen the character in other venues¿television, movies, etc. After reading this book, I¿m afraid I don¿t see why the character has survived all these years. Some of the stories prove to be an interesting read, but Conan is a flat character that Howard used in the situation of the day. It¿s an OK read, but don¿t expect great literature.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2006

    A True Original

    Before The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings came on to the scene, there was Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan as well as what is now known as sword and sorcery. His profound style of storytelling and of detailed locations, would make one swear that these places actually existed. Through his original writings, we can now appreciate the work of a person who was at the top of his game.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2005

    True Conan is to be savored

    I stumbled upon this book when it came out and have been reading it in my spare time. I've relished it like a fine wine. Howards Conan is unique and full of savage fury. As an amatuer writer, I admire his prose and sentence structure. Sometimes I have to go back and read lines over because they're so packed with complexity. This book is part of the new wave that has post-humorously gone back to the TRUE Conan that Howard wrote. After all these years we're able to see what he originally meant. No Arnold here. Highly recomended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2005

    Wow!

    I grew up loving the 'traditional' Conan and was shocked when I saw that Robert's character wasn¿t just a killing machine. How tainted Conan has become over time! The character is extremely well written and insightful. There are also underlying themes in the book that touch upon the entire human experience. The best part however, Howard is an amazing wordsmith when it comes to writing a fight scene.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2005

    overrated

    there werent many stories in this volume that had a decent plot. it was repetitive, and i honestly dont know how the character of conan got so famous based on this book. that being said, some of the stories were good, and some of the supernatural elements were creative

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2004

    CROM!

    Last year I saw the movie Conan the Barbarian, and I was blown away. I was amazed at the sheer ferocity of the character. A few months later I got this book, and I found out how poorly the movie depicted everyones favorite barbarian. My favorite stories are The Frost Giants Daughter and The Queen of the Black Coast. Even between this and the monthly comic book from Dark Horse I still can't get enough of the blood-thirsty adventurer.

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