Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Conan the Adventurer at Fifty

Today marks fifty years since the original publication of Conan the Adventurer by Lancer Books.
The collection, edited by Lyon Sprague de Camp, was the first in a series of paperbacks that revived the interest of the fantasy-reading public for Howard’s character.
The book featured an iconic cover by Frank Frazetta.

Conan_the_Adventurer
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Providing continuity

Today I’ll mix nostalgia with hype, if you don’t mind.

conan l'avventurieroWhen I was a kid, say 15 years old, I discovered Robert E. Howard and Conan the Barbarian through the Italian editions of the Lancer Books collections edited by Lyon Sprague de Camp.
My first was Conan the Adventurer, and I was hooked.
Also, I decided this was the sort of stuff I wanted to read, and possibly to write.

The little hardback book had a wonderful dust jacket (by Dutch artist Karel Thole), and it came with a gorgeous map of the Hyborian world.
Then there was a fun introduction by Italian critic and translator Riccardo Valla, and then the stories.
And each story was introduced by a snippet of text by L. Sprague de Camp, providing some sort of continuity to the series.

Stuff like…

After escaping from Xapur, Conan builds his Kozaki and pirate raiders into such a formidable threat that King Yezdigerd devotes all his forces to their destruction. After a devastating defeat, the kozaki scatter, and Conan retreats southward to take service in the light cavalry of Kobad Shah, King of Iranistan.

It was fun, it gave me a sense of history. Continue reading