East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

The many children of Conan


As sometimes happens, the mailman delivered this morning a packet that caused me to change my plans for the rest of the day – or the next two days probably. The packet being an Amazon bubble-wrap envelope containing a copy of Brian Murphy’s Flame and Crimson: a History of Sword-and-Sorcery, published in 2019 by Pulp Hero Press (as far as I know there is no ebook edition).

Now, I have a number of volumes on my shelf, critical and historical works about fantasy and science fiction, but when it comes to Sword & Sorcery, there is a distinctive lack of titles. True, there is a fair number of studies on specific authors (I have a few books about Robert E. Howard and Fritz Leiber, for instance), but a serious, academical-level general survey of the whole sub-genre has so far eluded the presses.
Brian Murphy’s book is therefore quite welcome.

So I dropped everything else, I managed to close a quick urgent job during lunchtime, and then sat down to read this nice 280-pages book, that promises to be entertaining and instructive. And about 100 pages in, while I do not subscribe 100% to some of the author’s points, I must say I am not disappointed: Flame and Crimson is obviously the work of a man of culture and passion, and is set to become a fundamental reference for anyone interested in the sub-genre of Sword & Sorcery.

It is probably unfair to express an opinion on a book while only one-third into it, but I feel like recommending Flame and Crimson, heartily.

I think we’ll talk more on the subject.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

2 thoughts on “The many children of Conan

  1. Brian is an old comrade of The Cimmerian Shieldwall. I’m glad to see this work.


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