Conan of Aquilonia

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Conan of Aquilonia
Conan of Aquilonia.jpg
Cover of first edition
AuthorL. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter
Cover artistBoris Vallejo
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
SeriesConan the Barbarian
GenreSword and sorcery
PublisherAce Books
Publication date
1977
Media typePrint (Paperback)
Pages171
ISBN0-441-11682-5
OCLC3068744

Conan of Aquilonia is a collection of four linked fantasy short stories by American writers L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter featuring Robert E. Howard's sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. The stories were originally published in Fantastic in 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.[1][2] The book has also been translated into French[1]

Contents[edit]

Plot summary[edit]

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 into Hyperborea and rescue his kidnapped son, Prince Conn, from an unholy alliance between Thoth-Amon 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, with the aid of a white druid named Diviatix. Pursuing their defeated foe southward, they confront him again, first in the kingdom of Zembabwei and, at last, near the very edge of the world, where Conan and Thoth-Amon face each other in a final astral duel.

Conan of Aquilonia depicts the coming of age of Conan's son, Conn. In the beginning, Conn is still very much of a boy and is afraid of a heavy belting which he could expect from his father for disobedience. By the end, he's already a seasoned warrior, who took part in various kinds of battle, escaped from capture, avoided imminent death, saved his father's life, and has a crucial role in the final defeat of Conan's old enemy Thoth-Amon - making him quite ready to succeed as King Conan II (which he would seven years hence, in Conan of the Isles).

Critical view[edit]

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 destroy 'The West' ... consist[ing] of assorted arch-villains from Eastern Europe (Hyperborea), the Far East (Angkor), The Middle East (Stygia) and Black Africa (Zembabwei) - plus an arch-monstrous group whose members pretend to be extremely beautiful, sexually available women, but are in reality predatory venomous serpents. The [heroes] 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 Zembabwei). 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 ... 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?".[3]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Conan of Aquilonia title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  2. ^ Laughlin, Charlotte; Daniel J. H. Levack (1983). De Camp: An L. Sprague de Camp Bibliography. San Francisco: Underwood/Miller. p. 36.
  3. ^ George Xavier Baxter, "Heroic Fantasy and Mundane Reality", in Proceedings of the Pacific Northwest Literary Society, Autumn 1997

References[edit]

Preceded by
Conan the Avenger
Lancer/Ace Conan series
(chronological order)
Succeeded by
Conan of the Isles