Posts Tagged ‘Sword & Sorcery’

Conan: The Phoenix on the Sword

I have just picked up The Complete Chronicles of Conan from the Library. I’ve never read any of Howard’s stories, so I figured it was about time to find out what the fuss was all about. The tales are mostly short stories. I’ll try to write little comments slash reviews of them as I finish them. The first one is “The Phoenix on the Sword,” which was apparently the first real short story with Conan as its main character.

The Phoenix and the Sword

THE PLOT: A conspiracy is plotting to kill King Conan of Aquilonia – who for his part is longing for some action to break the monotony of courtly life. But greater forces interfere on both sides of the struggle.

INTERESTING POINTS: It surprised me a fair bit that Conan starts out as a king retired from adventuring. While I knew that Conan would become a king, my image of Conan has always been that of the barbarian hero, fighting for himself and maybe some lady he’s trying to conquer. It surprises me that Howard had already thought of his retirement when he came up with the figure.

MY VERDICT: An interesting and entertaining story in many ways. The writing strikes me as unnecessarily old-fashioned in places, but I guess that’s to be expected for an 80-year old text. I like the portrayal of Conan – he’s nicely multifaceted, and I can sympathize with him as a protagonist. He seems quite real. The villains are evil, maybe a little too evil, but also very interesting – I would like to know more about them, which I think is a good thing.

In any case, I’m looking forward to more.