Conan the Savage
|Cover artist||Ken Kelly|
|Series||Conan the Barbarian|
|Genre||Sword and sorcery|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
Conan the Savage 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 trade paperback by Tor Books in November 1992; a regular paperback edition followed from the same publisher in August 1993, and was reprinted in March 1999.
The novel follows two parallel storylines. In the first, Conan is consigned to a Brythunian prison mine after accusing a gambling opponent for cheating. Escaping via an underground river, he ends up in a wild region, where he is badly injured in a fight with a bear. He is nursed back to health by Songa, a woman of a local hunting and gathering tribe, with whom he eventually settles. Conan finds her tribe's simplicity rewarding, but his idyllic life is disrupted when Brythunian soldiers, under orders to find the magic gems Songa's tribe use, attack and destroy their village.
The other narrative is the life-story of the sorceress Tamsin, who as a girl looks on in horror as her mother is raped and her family killed by mercenaries in the pay of Brythunia's king Typhas. She seeks vengeance after she and her doll begin manifesting disturbing magical powers; the doll being possessed by Ninga, a minor deity. Tamsin challenges the kingdom's main cult, in time establishing Ninga's in its place, killing King Typhas, and becoming queen of Brythunia herself. As the fate of Songa's tribe attests, her rule proves as corrupt and evil as that of her predecessor.
The two plot threads converge when Conan shows up in Brythunia's capital seeking vengeance. He battles Tamsin, eventually destroying her doll and her power.
Reviewer Lagomorph Rex finds the book "just plain dull," noting its "one saving grace is that it's a quick read." He particularly criticises the "annoyingly bifurcated storyline," observing that "[i]n spite of the strangeness of the Tamsin storyline it's by far the most interesting of the two," "entertaining if nothing else," making it "generally a relief when Conan wasn't on the page." He finds the Tamsin chapters "a more typical fantasy romp, especially if you can separate them from the overall backdrop of the Hyborian Age," in comparison to "the dull, and exceptionally glacial pace of the Conan chapters once he has escaped the mines." He feels the two storylines "converge with a wet thud."
Don D'Ammassa, also observing that "Conan is only present in about half of this novel," notes that while there are "[s]ome goods [sic] parts sprinkled through, ... this [book] doesn't hold together very well."
- Conan the Savage title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Carpenter, Leonard. Conan the Savage. p. 29.
- Lagomorph Rex. "Hyborean Apocrypha: Conan the Savage" (Review), July 15, 2012.
- D'Ammassa, Don. "Conan the Savage" (review on Critical Mass). Aug. 12, 2017.
Conan the Relentless
|Tor Conan series
Conan of the Red Brotherhood
Conan the Relentless
|Complete Conan Saga
(William Galen Gray chronology)
Conan the Defender