Conan the Valorous

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Conan the Valorous
Conan the Valorous.jpg
cover of Conan the Valorous
Author John Maddox Roberts
Cover artist Kirk Reinert
Country United States
Language English
Series Conan the Barbarian
Genre Sword and sorcery Fantasy
Publisher Tor Books
Publication date
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 280 pp
ISBN 0-8125-4244-4

Conan the Valorous is a fantasy novel written by John Maddox Roberts featuring Robert E. Howard's seminal sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. It was first published in trade paperback by Tor Books in September 1985; a regular paperback edition followed from the same publisher in September 1986, and was reprinted in January 1992. The first British edition was published in paperback by Sphere Books in September 1987.[1]

The book also includes "Conan the Indestructible," L. Sprague de Camp's chronological essay on Conan's career.


Stygian sorceress Hathor-Ka tricks Conan into taking certain items to Ben Morgh, the sacred mountain of Crom, in Cimmeria. His route takes him through Koth, Nemedia and the Border Kingdom, where he is diverted by the rescue of a chieftainess. Simultaneously, the Vendhyan sorcerer Jaganath is also traveling to the mountain. In Cimmeria, the clans are gathering against the Venir and their allies the lizardmen who have been preying on them; they too are heading to Ben Morgh, where all comes together in a final battle. As the conflict rages, Conan and a wizard from Khitai wage a more crucial supernatural conflict in Crom's Cave inside the mountain involving the Venhyans, Hathor-Ka and her patron Thoth-Amon. Ultimately Cimmeria is delivered from outside sorcery, and Conan takes off to go raiding with the Aesir.


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."[2]

Writing of some other Tor Conan novels, reviewer Ryan Harvey called Roberts "the most consistently successful of its stable of authors,"[3] 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."[4]

Reviewer Lagomorph Rex finds the novel "by far the best Conan story I've read in quite a while," "[o]utside of [those by] REH himself. He writes "[t]he nicest thing about this volume though is that it wasn't padded. It felt more like a trilogy of interconnected short stories ... in Koth and Nemedia, then the Border Kingdoms and finally Cimmeria." He praises the story for "re-introduc[ing] Thoth Amon" and providing "some vague inkling of just how powerful he truly is." He also notes that it "sets up "The Frost Giant's Daughter" quite nicely."[5]

Bob Byrne "very much enjoyed Conan the Valorous," calling it "one of the better pastiches," with a "complex plot ... more than weighty enough to carry the story forward to the very end." He feels the story "has a lot going on and it’s all deftly handled." He commends Roberts "for providing an excellent look at life in Cimmeria," which he contrasts approvingly with "the disappointing approach that Harry Turtledove used in Conan of Venarium." He also notes that Roberts "is clearly familiar with Campbell's work and works elements of the Hero's Journey into the story." His main criticism is of its "flawed opening," observing that "[t]he tale begins with Conan hastily swearing to perform an errand for Hathor Ka, a Stygian sorceress. Conan blindly agrees to the task without getting the details first. Really, it’s hard to buy that he was so hard up for money that he just jumped into this deal." Byrne regards the book as "low on the sex scale, with Conan bedding a rescued chiefta[i]ness in the Border Kingdoms. This happens almost halfway through the book and he doesn’t sleep with any other females in this tale." On the up side, "Roberts gives us one of the most believable amorous conquests in the entire Conan saga. It doesn’t follow the usual 'My, what huge muscles you have, take me, you savage!'"[6]



Preceded by
Conan the Victorious
Tor Conan series
(publication order)
Succeeded by
Conan the Fearless
Preceded by
"The Blood-Stained God"
Complete Conan Saga
(William Galen Gray chronology)
Succeeded by
"The Frost-Giant's Daughter"