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4.0 out of 5 stars Four tales of Conan as Raider, Thief, Pirate and Mercenary, 18 Mar 2005
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The four tales in "Conan the Wanderer" cover most of the main aspects of the career of Robert E. Howard's character: raider, thief, pirate, and mercenary. (1) "Black Tears" by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter is one of several pastiches written by the duo based upon hints in Howard's note and letters to fill up gaps in the saga. It takes place after the classic story "A Witch Shall Be Born" (in "Conan the Freebooter") as Conan leads his band of Zuagirs eastward to raid the cities and caravans of the Turanians. King Yezdigerd reacts by sending out a strong force to entrap Conan. (2) Shadows in Zamboula" by Robert E. Howard has Conan destitute after a week of guzzling, gorging, roistering, whoring and gambling. This is an above average Conan the Thief story. (3) "The Devil in Iron" by Howard has Conan returning the seas as a pirate, putting together a crew from among his old friends the kozaki and the Red Fellowship of Vilayet Sea. Conan and his crew stumbled upon an inhuman creature and mayhem ensues. (4) The longest story in this collection, "The Flame Knife" was one of four uncompleted manuscripts by Howard completed by de Camp. This novella was originally an adventure in modern Afghanistan entitled "Three-Bladed Doom" staring Francis X. Gordon, Howard's brawny, brawling Irish adventurer. De Camp transformed the story into a Conan tale. After King Yezdigerd crushes the Kozak host, Conan retreats southward with a sizeable band and joins the army of Kobad Shah, king of Iranistan and one of Yezdigred's strongest rivals. These stories are rather standard fare, evidencing in part the problems de Camp and Carter had in filling all the gaps in the Conan saga. Certainly these are stories you would read out of a sense of completeness rather than because there are any real gems to be found within.
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Conan the Wanderer
Conan the Wanderer by Robert E. / De Camp, L. Sprague / Carter, Lin Howard (Mass Market Paperback - 1968)
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