Conan of Aquilonia
|Author||L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter|
|Cover artist||Boris Vallejo|
|Series||Conan the Barbarian|
|Genre||Sword and sorcery Fantasy short stories|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
Conan of Aquilonia is a collection of four linked fantasy short stories written by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter featuring Robert E. Howard's seminal sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. The stories were originally published in Fantastic for August 1972, July 1973, July 1974, and February, 1975. The collected stories were intended for book publication by Lancer Books, but this edition never appeared due to Lancer's bankruptcy, and the first book edition was issued in paperback by Ace Books in paperback in May 1977. It was reprinted by Ace in July 1981, April 1982, November 1982, August 1983, July 1984, 1986, June 1991, and April 1994. The first British edition was published by Sphere Books in October 1978, and reprinted in July 1988. The book has also been translated into French
- "Introduction" (L. Sprague de Camp)
- "The Witch of the Mists" (L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter)
- "Black Sphinx of Nebthu" (L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter)
- "Red Moon of Zembabwei" (L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter)
- "Shadows in the Skull" (L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter)
At the age of 60, King Conan of Aquilonia engages in his final struggle with his arch-foe, the black magician Thoth-Amon of Stygia, servant of the evil god Set. First Conan must journey to Hyperborea to rescue his kidnapped son Prince Conn from an unholy alliance of the Stygian sorcerer and the witch queen Louhi. Next Conan and Conn carry the struggle to their enemy's stronghold in Stygia itself at the head of an invading army and aided by the white druid Diviatix. Pursuing their defeated foe southward, they confront him again, first in the kingdom of Zembabwei and at last at the very edge of the world, where Conan and Thoth-Amon face each other in a final astral duel.
Among other things, "Conan of Aquilonia" depicts the coming of age of Conan's son Conn. In the beginning Conn is still very much of a boy, afraid of a heavy belting which he could expect from his father for disobedience. By the end he is already a seasoned warrior, who took part in various kinds of battle, faced up to capture and imminent death, saved his father's life and took a crucial part in the final defeat of his father's old foe Thoth-Amon - making him quite ready to succeed as King Conan II (which he would seven years hence, in "Conan of the Isles").
George Baxter noted that "The interconnected stories collected in 'Conan of Aquilonia' feature, in essence, a monstrous International Conspiracy whose aim is nothing less than to the destroy 'The West' (The West is the term used throughout...). This International Conspiracy consists of assorted arch-villains from Eastern Europe (Hyperborea), the Far East (Angkor), The Middle East (Stygia) and Black Africa (Zimbabwei) - plus an arch-monstrous group whose members pretend to be extremely beautiful, sexually available women, but are in reality predatory venomous serpents. The heroic Conan, with his son and sidekick Conn, proceed to destroy one by one all of these anti-Western conspirators - sometimes by wholesale massacre (the Witch Queen of Hyperborea and all her followers are put to the sword), sometimes by regime change (Conan crowns with his own hands the new, pro-Western King of Zimbabwei). Finally Thoth-Amon, the Arch-Enemy of the West, is chased to what would once upon a time become South Africa, where he is brought down and destroyed once and for all, his accursed Ring of Power flung into the depths of the Indian Ocean. (...) This is the gist of a series of stories published between 1972 and 1975. Is the present jaded and cynical reviewer completely misled in glimpsing, behind the glittering panoply of the Hyborian Age swords and magic, the complex paranoia of an America facing the painful realization that that the Vietnam War was irrevocably lost?".
- Conan of Aquilonia title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Laughlin, Charlotte; Daniel J. H. Levack (1983). De Camp: An L. Sprague de Camp Bibliography. San Francisco: Underwood/Miller. p. 36.
- George Xavier Baxter, "Heroic Fantasy and Mundane Reality", in Proceedings of the Pacific Northwest Literary Society, Autumn 1997
Conan the Avenger
|Lancer/Ace Conan series
Conan of the Isles