Conan, now in his late thirties and captain of the Wastrel, becomes embroiled in the politics of the kingdom of Zingara when he seeks the rumored treasure on the Nameless Isle. The fugitive Princess Chabela, the privateer Zarono, and the Stygian sorcerer Thoth-Amon are among those mixed up in the treasure quest.
Chronologically, Conan the Buccaneer falls between "The Pool of the Black One'" in Conan the Adventurer and "Red Nails" in Conan the Warrior. However, the present book ends with Conan as a successful captain, high in the favor of the royal family of Zingara, while "Red Nails" starts with him as a fugitive mercenary in the jungles south of Stygia. How Conan lost his ship, left the sea and took up again the role of mercenary is untold.