This novel features Conan the Cimmerian twice removed from his literary origins. Author Roland Green doesn’t give us Robert E. Howard’s Conan, but rather Robert Jordan’s version of Howard’s hero. If it hadn’t been obvious to me from the level of chatty banter and the excessive nudity and sex, Green makes his debt clear by repeatedly referring to Conan’s former struggle against the “Cult of Doom,” a feature of Jordan’s Conan the Unconquered. The good news is that Green does Jordan’s Conan at least as well as Jordan does, and furnishes supporting characters and intrigue slightly better.
The story bears an odd similarity to another Conan novel I read not long ago, John Hocking’s Conan and the Emerald Lotus. In both books, Conan ends up allying himself to a sorceress, bedding her warrior-maid bodyguard, and journeying with them to confront an evil wizard who has designs on the sorceress. The basis of the magic in the two books is different (vegetable vs. mineral), but both are distinctively green.
Conan the Valiant takes place during Conan’s Turanian soldiering period, and allows him some reflection on the maturity he is gaining even at this early stage in his career. It’s adequate sword-and-sorcery junk food, but offers nothing much to distinguish itself from the great mass of Conan novels. [via]
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