After a letter reflecting on Conan's life written by Howard to P. Schuyler Miller and John D. Clark, both fans of Howard's work, is an essay on the invented prehistory in which the hero's adventures are set tracing its development up to Conan's own time. The stories gathered in this collection then follow the Cimmerian from his escape from slavery in Hyperborea through his days as a youthful thief in Zamora, Corinthia and Nemedia, to the beginning of his stint as a mercenary soldier for King Yildiz of Turan. To Conan's discomfiture, the supernatural is his constant companion.
Chronologically, the seven short stories collected as Conan are the earliest in Lancer's Conan series. The stories collected as Conan of Cimmeria follow.