Book Review 229 // The Phoenix on the Sword by Robert E. Howard

We have finally reached the age of Conan. As you may know, having read this blog, I am attempting to read a huge chunk of Robert E. Howard tales, and in an exciting turn of events we have finally reached the ages of Conan. Now as a product of the 90s, I have fond memories of the cartoon show Conan the Adventurer. So I am keen to see how these compare (I also remember Arnies version too).

Title: The Phoenix on the Sword

Author: Robert E. Howard

Blurb: Robert Ervin Howard (1906-1936) was an American pulp writer of fantasy, horror, historical adventure, boxing, western, and detective fiction. He is well known for having created the character Conan the Cimmerian, a literary icon whose pop-culture imprint can be compared to such icons as Tarzan of the Apes, Sherlock Holmes, and James Bond. Voracious reading, along with a natural talent for prose writing and the encouragement of teachers, conspired to create in Howard an interest in becoming a professional writer. One by one he discovered the authors that would influence his later work: Jack London and Rudyard Kipling. It's clear from Howard's earliest writings and the recollections of his friends that he suffered from severe depression from an early age. Friends recall him defending the act of suicide as a valid alternative as early as eighteen years old, while many of his stories and poems have a suicidal gloom and intensity that seem prescient in hindsight, describing such an end not as a tragedy but as a release from hell on earth.

Format: 48 pages, E-book (buy on Amazon using my sweet affiliate links)


Okay, this is what I wanted, some classic hack-and-slash adventure! The strange thing about this tale is that Conan is an old man and already king. He has seemingly overthrown the old kingdoms' rulers and installed himself as king. Such a simple but effective story as Conan is visited in his dreams by a long-dead wizard called Epemitreus. This Wizard warns Conan of a plot to assassinate him and when he awakes he is beset by his foes. 

A great amount of fighting and bloodshed happens as Conan fights for his life and faces off against the leader of the conspirators and the monsters they summon. At no point did there feel like a dip in the action, great pacing, and the characters were intriguing. Ultimately a short, punchy, tale but by Crom an impressive first outing for Conan. I can't wait to read more.

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