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 with intent to steal the lady's jewels. Looking to settle scores with the thief, the Cimmerian follows Jondra's hunting party out of the city.
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. Tamira and the lady are with him that night when the Kezankioans attack the camp slaughtering the hunters. In the battle Conan and Tamira are separated from Jondra.
Conan leaves Tamira hidden to go and find Jondra. While he is gone, Tamira is captured by the hillmen. Returning to camp, Conan finds little spared by the hillsmen. He gathers what he can comes and across the chief huntsmen, his mind shattered by the battle, and the encounter with the beast.
It is the lone wanderer Eldran who stumbles across her. As petulant as ever, she knocks him unconscious with a well aimed stone when he professes his love for her. She flees only to be captured a short while later by hillsmen.
Having lost Jondra, Conan returns to find Tamira missing. He follows the hillsmen's trail and instead stumbles across Eldran and his group. He learns of Jondra's peril. They join forces, and together with Eldran's countrymen continue to seek the lady and Tamira.
Jondra and Tamira are now in the hands of Basraken Ismalla. Basraken learns that the Eyes of Fire he sought were with a woman matching Jondra's description he orders his men to search through all the recovered items from the hunter's camp.
Conan and the Brythunian party reach Basraken's encampment but seeing the army he has amassed sends a runner to find the Zamoran army and hopefully lead them back assist in the planned attack.
Now, having the Eyes of Fire in his possession, Basraken, intends to summon the creature and sacrifice the women.
Seeing the women unharmed, Conan, Eldran and one of his men decide that they cannot wait for the army and make an attempt to sneak down into the camp.
An alarm rises during the ritual and Conan thinks he is discovered only to hear the cry of the hillsmen. The army has arrived.
As the army attacks and Conan attempts the women, the beast heeding its call, arrives into the melee.
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