Saturday, September 10, 2011

CONAN THE BARBARIAN by Michael A. Stackpole

CONAN THE BARBARIAN – Michael A. Stackpole
Berkley Boulevard
ISBN: 978-0-425-24206-3
July 2011

Hyboria – Present Day

Conan the Barbarian was born on a battlefield. To his people, the Cimmerians, that means he is destined to be a powerful warrior, and a young Conan wants nothing more than to fulfill that prophecy. It isn’t long after Conan begins his training as a young boy that his village is attacked by invading forces. His town destroyed and his father murdered in front of him, Conan swears to avenge his people. He leaves his home to search out his grandfather and to start training in earnest so that he may defeat the invader, Khalar Zym.

Years later, Conan has made quite a name for himself all throughout Hyboria. But only after capturing one of Khalar Zym’s men does Conan remember his true quest, to avenge his people. As he learns more about his enemy’s plan, Conan soon learns that he is not just out to defeat Khalar Zym for himself, but to stop the man from spilling innocent blood in the crusade to become a god. With the help of his allies and the woman whose blood Khalar Zym needs, Conan must take down a man whose very name strikes fear in the hearts of the people.

Conan is an incredibly fascinating character. A dark, unfortunate past has made him into a strong and foreboding man who is set on fighting and killing Khalar Zym no matter the cost, even if it means losing his own life. Despite a rough life, or maybe because of it, Conan has developed an odd sense of humor which does shine through a few times in the novel. I’ll admit to being surprised at how amusing Conan could be, as I assumed this book would be more about battle scenes than character development.

As a reader, I have noticed battle scenes can be the most difficult to read and fully understand, but Mr. Stackpole really delivers in this novel. Battles are incredibly well written, and the reader really gets in on the excitement. An excellent, fast-paced novel, CONAN THE BARBARIAN really delivers some quality entertainment.

There is much more to this story, and to Conan himself, than what could fit into a movie. So anyone who found the movie lacking, or those who thought it was excellent, should definitely check out CONAN THE BARBARIAN, the book, by Michael A. Stackpole.

Amanda Toth

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