Conan the Raider

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Conan the Raider
Conan the Raider.jpg
Cover of first edition
Author Leonard Carpenter
Country United States
Language English
Series Conan the Barbarian
Genre Sword and sorcery
Publisher Tor Books
Publication date
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 276
ISBN 0-8125-4256-8

Conan the Raider is a fantasy novel by American writer Leonard Carpenter, featuring Robert E. Howard's sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. It was first published in paperback by Tor Books in October 1986. It was reprinted by Tor in September 1987.[1]


In the deserts of Shem, Conan tracks a thief who took from him the jewel known as the Star of Khorala. He finds the man, but the gem is missing. He is saved from death by thirst by an encounter with the caravan of Otsgar the Vanir, into which he is welcomed due to his previous acquaintance with Isaiab, a Shemite he had known in Arenjun. Otsgar's party turns out to be a band of tomb robbers, though their expedition proves disppointing, even with Conan's aid. They gain little, and death traps and tomb guardians with the heads of crocodiles combine to dispatch all but Conan, Otsgar, Isaiab, and two others, the Stygian woman Zafriti and the Shemitish rebel Asrafel.

The thieves regroup in Abaddrah, Isaib's home town, a city-state on the River Styx, bordering Stygia. The king, Ebnezub, is having a great tomb constructed for himself on the advice of the exiled Stygian prophet Horaspes. He is likely to need it soon, as his queen Nitokar has been poisoning him. The thieves hope to plunder the new tomb and the ancient catacombs underlying them. Conan investigates the catacombs between flings with Zafriti and Abaddrah's princess Afrit and a spell in captivity during which he must battle an antagonist armed with snakes.

The situation escalates when the villainous Horaspes unleashes his true scheme, and an army of the undead attacks Abaddrah. After much mayhem, Conan comes out of it all with the jewel he sought in the first place.


Reviewer Ryan Harvey considered the novel "the best Leonard Carpenter entry in the series I've yet read," writing that "it starts weakly and episodically, but slaps together a busy and exciting conclusion." He felt it "heads into Indiana Jones territory, and is basically an Egyptian tomb-robbing adventure in a fantasy setting." Despite "the derivative tomb-robbing plot [i]t has a touch more horror to it than other pastiches, and I always appreciate a pastiche writer willing to dig down into the more horrific side of the Weird Tales legacy."[2]

Reviewer Don D'Ammassa noted "This was a significant improvement over Carpenter's first novel, dropping the clunky artificial dialogue and expanding to a fairly large number of reasonably well developed characters, three of whom are women."[3]



Preceded by
Conan the Renegade
Tor Conan series
(publication order)
Succeeded by
Conan the Champion
Preceded by
"Shadows in Zamboula"
Complete Conan Saga
(William Galen Gray chronology)
Succeeded by
"The Star of Khorala"