Conan the Magnificent
|Conan the Magnificent|
cover of Conan the Magnificent
|Cover artist||Boris Vallejo|
|Series||Conan the Barbarian|
|Genre||Sword and sorcery Fantasy|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
Conan the Magnificent is a fantasy novel written by Robert Jordan featuring Robert E. Howard's seminal sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. It was first published in paperback by Tor Books in May 1984, and was reprinted in December 1991; a trade paperback edition followed from the same publisher in 1991. The first British edition was published in paperback by Sphere Books in July 1986 and reprinted in September 1989; a later British edition was published in paperback by Legend Books in February 1997. The novel was later gathered together with Conan the Triumphant and Conan the Destroyer into the hardcover omnibus collection The Conan Chronicles II (Legend, April 1997), and was later gathered together with Conan the Triumphant and Conan the Victorious into the hardcover omnibus collection The Further Chronicles of Conan (Tor Books, October 1999).
In a prologue set in the Kezankian Mountains, the fanatic Basraken Ismalla sacrifices people to his Dragon god and plots to obtain the magical rubies known as the Eyes of Fire that will allow him to direct the creature against unbelievers.
The scene shifts to Shadizar, Zamora's infamous City of the Wicked, where the newly arrived Conan attempts to steal an emerald cup to repay a gambling debt, only to be thwarted by the interference of Tamira, a female thief. Meanwhile the high-born Lady Jondra scouts out Conan as a possible paramour, even as Tamira inveigles her way into her household for some unknown purpose. Looking to settle scores with the thief, the Cimmerian follows Jondra's hunting party out of the city.
A complications arises in a mysterious group of Kezankians who also seem to be trailing the noblewoman. At length Conan encounters the lady, separated from her party and beset by wolves. He kills the creatures and so gains her favor. He learns that she is hunting the Dragon. Besting the lady's huntsmaster in a spear-throwing contest raises him higher in her estimation and gains him a place in her bed.
The party encounters Eldran, a survivor of a Brythunian village destroyed by the Dragon, who, armed with a magic sword, is also hunting the beast. Jondra dismisses his warnings of its ferocity and sends him off. That night the Kezankians attack the camp; Conan rallies the hunters and prevents them from being slaughtered. In the wake of the carnage General Zanthinides of the Zamoran army shows up, pressing Lady Jondra to return to Shadizar under his escort. She refuses. Later the general attempt to rape her, and is thwarted by Conan.
Meanwhile, Basraken Ismalla is frustrated. His thief and his warriors having failed him, his strategems to gain the Eyes of Fire have miscarried, and his leadership of the High Kezankian tribes that revere the Dragon is in jeopardy. He shores up his position by killing a rival chief and takes personal oversight of the effort to obtain the rubies.
Lady Jondra's hunting party finally encounters its prey, and is decimated by the Dragon. The survivors scatter. Conan brings those he can find back together, including Tamira, but the lady is still missing. He undertakes to save her and retreat with the whole group back to Shadizar. But it is the lone wanderer Eldran who locates her. Lost, humbled and desperate, this time Jondra accepts his aid. Shortly afterwards, however, they are attacked by the Kezankians, who take the lady captive and lay Eldran low. Later Conan comes across Eldran and learns of Jondra's peril. They join forces, and together with some of Eldran's countrymen continue to seek the lady.
Jondra is now in the hands of Basraken Ismalla, and with her the Eyes of Fire. His ends attained, Basraken commences the ritual that will enable him to call forth and control the Dragon. At this point Conan and the Brythunians attack his village, only to fare the great beast, responding to the summons. Conan and Eldran, the Dragon's destined slayer, manage to kill it with the latter's magic sword. The Zamoran army shows up, Basraken and the Kezankians flee, and the triumphant rescuers can now return to Shadizar.
Reviewer Lagomorph Rex was "impressed by" the book, noting that while Jordan "is no Robert E. Howard ... he [is] certainly the best of the Tor Pastiche Writers and certainly better than DeCamp and Carter." He finds "interesting" "certain aspects" of Jordan's writing which re-appear in his later "Wheel of Time" series. He rates the book's readability favorably against other Tor Conan books, as he "went through this in just a few days, as compared to the huge slog I went through with the Perry and Carpenter volumes." In another place, the reviewer rates the book beneath Conan the Victorious, another of Jordan's Conan novels.
Conan the Triumphant
|Tor Conan series
Conan the Destroyer
Conan the Outcast
|Complete Conan Saga
(William Galen Gray chronology)
Conan the Invincible