Conan the Rogue

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Conan the Rogue
Conan the Rogue.jpg
Author John Maddox Roberts
Cover artist Ken Kelly
Country United States
Language English
Series Conan the Barbarian
Genre Sword and sorcery Fantasy
Publisher Tor Books
Publication date
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 304 pp
ISBN 0-8125-1411-4

Conan the Rogue is a fantasy novel written by John Maddox Roberts featuring Robert E. Howard's sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. It was first published in trade paperback by Tor Books in November 1991; a regular paperback edition followed from the same publisher in August 1992, and was reprinted in January 1999.[1]


After a stint as a mercenary quelling a revolt in Nemedia, Conan loses everything but his sword gambling with cronies. A man follows him from the tavern and hires the Cimmerian to obtain a mysterious but valuable item. Outfitting himself with the initial payment, Conan proceeds to the city of Sicas in Aquilonia. Once renowned for its silver mines but now a den of iniquity, more people are said to leave Sicas "by the river, floating," than through the gates. On the way he rescues a woman in quest of her missing sister, said to have gone to the same place.

Sicas turns out to be in the midst of a conflict between numerous contenders for control and loot, most notably the king's corrupt reeve, five different gangs and a religious cult. Conan feels right at home, and plunges into the struggle. Various intrigues and betrayals follow in rapid succession, centering on the object he has been commissioned to recover, which is revealed as a potent magical artifact. The rising tension in Sicas results in an all out major brawl in the middle of town between the gangs and various power players. In contrast to most of the players, Conan emerges from Sicas ahead of the game, passing by royal forces en route to the town to restore order. Questioned as to how he did it, he responds "That was a town of rogues, my friend, and I am the greatest rogue of all."

At the end, with some new comrades, Conan heads toward Tarantia as he hears news of civil war brewing in Aquilonia.


Don D'Ammassa, writing of Roberts' Conan novels, noted that "[a]lthough Roberts did not recreate Howard's character exactly, making him more intellectual and less inclined to solve every problem by hitting it with a sword, his evocation of the barbaric setting is superior to that of most of the other writers contributing to the series. Conan the Marauder (1987) and Conan the Rogue (1991) are the best of the set."[2] Of this novel he writes "[t]he plot is a conscious mashup of The Maltese Falcon and A Fistful of Dollars" that "works out ... in an amusing and interesting manner.."[3]

Writing of some other Tor Conan novels, reviewer Harvey Ryan called Roberts "the most consistently successful of its stable of authors,"[4] and "the most consistently entertaining" of them, showing "deft ability with storytelling and action scenes, and a thankful tendency not to overplay his hand and try to ape Robert E. Howard’s style."[5]



Preceded by
Conan the Outcast
Tor Conan series
(publication order)
Succeeded by
Conan the Relentless
Preceded by
Conan, Lord of the Black River
Complete Conan Saga
(William Galen Gray chronology)
Succeeded by
"Beyond the Black River"