The Sword of Skelos

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The Sword of Skelos
Sword of Skelos.jpg
The Sword of Skelos by Andrew J. Offutt, Bantam Books, 1979
Author Andrew J. Offutt
Cover artist Bob Larkin
Country United States
Language English
Series Conan the Barbarian
Genre Sword and sorcery Fantasy novel
Publisher Bantam Books
Publication date
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 246 pp.
ISBN 0-553-12970-8

The Sword of Skelos is a fantasy novel written by Andrew J. Offutt featuring Robert E. Howard's sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian, the third and final volume in a trilogy beginning with Conan and the Sorcerer and continuing with Conan the Mercenary (which was actually published after The Sword of Skelos,[1] though relating events prior to it). It was first published in paperback in May 1979 by Bantam Books, and reprinted in August 1981. Later editions were issued by Ace Books (September 1987, reprinted May 1991) and Tor Books (February 2002). The first British edition was published by Sphere Books in 1989.[2]


Reviewer Lagomorph Rex finds the novel "interesting in that, instead of the standard map which nearly every pastiche dating back to the Lancers had in the front, it has its very own location specific map, which illustrates somewhat the route which Conan and Khassek and later Conan and Isparana take to arrive in Zamboula." His primary comments are in regard to mapping and speculation on how the Cimmerian had picked up a speaking knowledge of Turanian so early in his career.[3]

Catherine Wiseman noted that "In this version of Conan - unlike in several others - there is some sympathetic attention even for the completely unimportant pawns on the complicated chessboard. For example, a certain Sarid who appears for a total of four paragraphs in the entire book. We learn that he was a soldier of the King of Turan, stationed in the city of Samara; that he was engaged to be married to a reasonably good girl; and that had things turned out otherwise, he had a good change of a satisfactory, even if not distinguished, military career and a reasonable, even if not spectacular, family life. But things did turn out otherwise - i.e. the beautiful and cunning Isparana turned all her seductive power on him, which even a much stronger character would have found it difficult to resist; as a result, he deserted his service and followed her into the desert; as a result of which, he attacked Conan at her demand and killed Conan's friend who was riding at Conan's side; as a result of which he was inevitably dead himself two minutes later. For the crucial plot twist dreamed up by the author, it was necessary that this poor little pawn end up a bloody corpse getting stiff on the desert floor. Then, the main characters move on and there is no further occasion to mention the poor Sarid. Still, for a moment a reader could have felt some compassion for him and his thoroughly ruined life".[4]


The story was adapted by Roy Thomas and John Buscema in issues #56-58, cover-dated September–November 1980, of the Marvel Comics magazine series The Savage Sword of Conan. The Thomas/Buscema tale was later reprinted in the 2009 Dark Horse Comics trade paperback The Savage Sword of Conan Volume 5.



Preceded by
Conan the Liberator
Bantam Conan series
(publication order)
Succeeded by
The Road of Kings
Preceded by
Conan the Mercenary
Complete Conan Saga
(William Galen Gray chronology)
Succeeded by
Conan the Outcast