Conan the Victorious

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Conan the Victorious
Conan the Victorious.jpg
cover of Conan the Victorious
Author Robert Jordan
Cover artist Boris Vallejo
Country United States
Language English
Series Conan the Barbarian
Genre Sword and sorcery Fantasy
Publisher Tor Books
Publication date
1984
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 280 pp
ISBN 0-8125-4240-1

Conan the Victorious 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 trade paperback by Tor Books in November 1984; a regular paperback edition followed from the same publisher in December 1985, and was reprinted in March 1991 and August 2010. The first British edition was published in paperback by Sphere Books in April 1987. The novel was later gathered together with Conan the Magnificent and Conan the Triumphant into the hardcover omnibus collection The Further Chronicles of Conan (Tor Books, October 1999).[1]

Contents[edit]

  • Conan the Victorious (novel) (Robert Jordan)
  • Conan the Indestructible (chronological essay) (L. Sprague de Camp)

Plot[edit]

Naipal, court wizard to King Bandharkar of Ayodha in Vendyha, prepares to bargain with the demon Masrock to win control of Vendhya and revenge himself on his rivals, the Black Seets of Mt. Yimsha. Meanwhile, in the Turanian city of Sultanapoor, a Vendhyan-instigated plot has resulted in the assassination of a prince. Conan, employed in guarding a smugglers' ship, is rumored to have been hired to commit the crime. Turanian spymaster Lord Khalid sends his apprentice Jelal the merchant to Vendhya find out if a northerner was truly involved.

Running for his life, Conan eventually makes it to the docks and to his friend and fellow smuggler Hordo, whom he met during his time with Karela the Red Hawk.

Hordo suggests that Conan leave with him on his next delivery of "fish" and he agrees. While examining the chests they feel strangely light and when questioned the Vendhyan merchant owns the crates runs. But as he leaves he slices Conan with a hidden blade. The crates contain little but dried leaves of an unknown origin. Unfortunately, the blade was poisoned and Conan soon learns that the antidote may lie in Vendhya the original destination of the crates.

At the mouth of the Zaporaska in Vendhya, the smugglers rendezvous with the Vendhyans who are to receive the cargo. These, finding the chests have been tampered with, but accept Hordo's explanation too easily. Moments later Conan and crew learn that the Vendhyans had planned to kill them once the cargo was delivered. The Vendhyans attack and set their ship alight stranding them. During the fight Conan gets close enough to spot a caravan loading the crates. Unsure if the caravan will be friendly or not the crew split up, one to follow the caravan, another to return home by route walking along the coast.

Conan and crew eventually close distance and by nightfall have come within a league of the caravan's distant fires. Conan assumes the identity of the Vendhyan merchant and after a brief conversation with the captain of the caravan guard they learn that the caravan will speak with them in the morning.

During the night, a Khitan merchant approaches and offers to hire them as guards.

In Vendhya, Naipal discovers Conan has become embroiled in his schemes; believing the involvement purposeful, he determines to kill the Cimmerian and his companions. After the wizard's agents in the caravan attempt without success to slay Conan, Naipal lays a trap for him in the great city of Gwandikian. Conan takes the bait. Lured to a tower, he is again set upon, but escapes. Afterward he seeks the antidote for his poisoned wound in a nearby forest, where he has been told it can be found. There he discovers the herbalist who originally treated him and learns he was in fact cured by that first treatment; the man had lied about it then to secure the Cimmerian's aid. He, it seems, it Naipal's true adversary. A final conflict between the two sorcerers ensues, in which both end up dead at the hands of the demon each tried to control, and the demon itself is destroyed by the spells they had lain on it.

Conan, surviving, decides to return home. On the way, he encounters Lord Khalid's agent Jelal. The spy has completed his investigations and cleared the Cimmerian of complicity in the Vendhyan plot against Turan. He gives Conan a parchment and instructs him to present it at the headquarters of the Turanian army on his return to Sultanpoor.

Reception[edit]

Comparing the book to two of Jordan's other Conan novels (Conan the Magnificent and Conan the Invincible), reviewer Lagomorph Rex rates it "certainly the best of the three," writing that "[w]hile it did begin to drag after [the protagonists] left Sultanpoor, and didn't really pick up again until they got to Vendhya, it wasn't completely pointless like the others. It had a real reason for Conan to travel that far." Nevertheless, he criticizes "the long travel sequence in which very little happens," stating that "Jordan's strength seems to be in doing scenes, but moving between the scenes is his weakness." He observes that this tendency carries over into Jordan's later "Wheel of Time" series, which also reuses various bits of description from the book. In regard to L. Sprague de Camp's "Conan the Indestructible" essay, the reviewer's primary observation is to approve how it "explain[s] away the continuity problems presented by the two movie novelizations."[2]

Ryan Harvey, in an aside to a review of another Conan novel, calls the book a "poor work" from an "otherwise skilled pastiche writer" on which he "would hate to judge" Jordan.[3]

References[edit]

Preceded by
Conan the Destroyer
Tor Conan series
(publication order)
Succeeded by
Conan the Valorous
Preceded by
"Rogues in the House"
Complete Conan Saga
(William Galen Gray chronology)
Succeeded by
Conan the Unconquered