|Conan The Destroyer is the first of three
volumes that together will collect all the stories that Robert E. Howard wrote about his
famous barbarian hero. There have been several such collections in the past, but this
one's claim to fame is that it gives us the stories as Robert E. Howard wrote them rather
than the stories that have been filtered through the censorship of L. Sprague de Camp and
Lin Carter; his earlier editors. It quickly becomes clear that Howard's prose was much
more robust than the previous collections had indicated -- his earlier editors had
definitely removed a lot of Howard's fire and brimstone from the mix.
opens with Howard's essay on the Hyborian Age, a cod-historical article which places the
life and times of Conan within a superficially convincing historical framework. In many
ways it is the cleverest thing that Howard ever wrote, combining as it does mythological
and historical threads into a titghtly woven tapestry of very convincing historiography.
This is the longest version of the essay that I've ever seen and it comes complete with an
introduction that I've never seen before. Truly this is a very complete
If you love Conan (and who doesn't?) this definitive collection is compulsory reading.