Black Sphinx of Nebthu

"Black Sphinx of Nebthu" is a fantasy short story by American writers L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, featuring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian created by Robert E. Howard. It was first published in the July 1973 issue of the magazine Fantastic, and was first appeared in book form by Ace Books in the paperback collection Conan of Aquilonia in May 1977,[1][2] which was reprinted several times through 1994. The first British edition was published by Sphere Books in October 1978.[2]

"Black Sphinx of Nebthu"
Black Sphinx of Nebthu
AuthorL. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
SeriesConan the Barbarian
Genre(s)Fantasy
Published in Conan of Aquilonia
Publication typeCollection
PublisherAce Books
Media typePrint (Paperback)
Publication date1977

Plot summary

Following the events of "The Witch of the Mists", King Conan of Aquilonia leads a military expedition across Zingara, Argos, and Shem before entering Stygia to confront his arch-enemy, Thoth-Amon. Accompanying him are his son, Prince Conn, Conan's generals Trocero and Pallantides, and Diviatix, a white druid from the Pictish Wilderness, who promises divine support for Conan.

The goal of his expedition is the ancient city of Nebthu, site of a massive sphinx depicting the hyena god of chaos and rumored haunt of Thoth-Amon's Order of the Black Ring. After discovering an entryway inside the sphinx, Conan descends into the depths, reaching a vast chamber where he confronts the massed assembly of wizards.

Thoth-Amon and his fellow sorcerers initially prove themselves to be too powerful for Conan. But Conan had taken the precaution of bringing along a magical jewel known as the Heart of Ahriman (which helped Conan regain his throne in The Hour of the Dragon) With the jewel in his hand, Conan's Pictish ally is more than a match for the Stygians.

Many of the wizards are killed or driven mad by the Heart's powers, but Thoth-Amon manages to unleash the monstrous hyena of chaos against Conan's accomplice. Unfortunately for him, the hell-hound is incapable of fine discrimination. The first army it encounters, and therefore destroys, is that of Stygia. His sanctum in ruins and now persona non grata in his own country, Thoth-Amon is forced to flee, seeking refuge with his last remaining ally - the King of Zembabwei.

Rather than rest content and return to Aquilonia, Conan is determined to settle accounts once and for all and take his army in pursuit to the heart of what would new be called Africa.

Notes

  1. ^ Laughlin, Charlotte; Daniel J. H. Levack (1983). De Camp: An L. Sprague de Camp Bibliography. San Francisco: Underwood/Miller. pp. 130–131.
  2. ^ a b Black Sphinx of Nebthu title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
Preceded by
"The Witch of the Mists"
Complete Conan Saga
(William Galen Gray chronology)
Succeeded by
"Red Moon of Zembabwei"
Conan chronologies

This article covers some of the major Conan chronologies that have been advanced over the years. From the 1930s onward a number of fans and scholars have attempted to create a chronological timeline into which the numerous Conan the Barbarian stories by Robert E. Howard and later writers could be placed.

Going beyond a simple fan activity, these efforts have had a significant impact on the development of the popular conception of the character of Conan as well as economic consequences on the Conan franchise. As Paolo Bertetti observes, the focus on the creation of a character chronology outside of the work of the original author begins a "process that tends to transform the character into a social object of inter-individual construction and public debate, rendering it independent of texts in which it was born," and in the case of Conan, this has led to the exploitation of the character for commercial reasons and perhaps encouraged and justified the proliferation of pastiche stories and novels over the years.A number of factors have prevented the establishment of a consensus on order of the Conan stories, most notably the fact that Howard himself apparently had little more than a general idea of the character's career path and intentionally wrote the stories out of chronological sequence.

Clearly, the stories where Conan is a thief are at the early part of his career and those of King Conan – at the later part. But the middle part – the various tales of his being a pirate, brigand, and mercenary at various locations around the world – are more difficult to arrange in a neat order. While the earliest (Miller/Clark) timeline had at least partial endorsement from Howard, the addition of stories discovered and published after Howard's death in 1936 are more difficult to place. Fragments and synopses that were never completed are even more problematic and some contain what appear to be internal inconsistencies.

Conan of Aquilonia

Conan of Aquilonia is a collection of four linked fantasy short stories by American writers L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter featuring Robert E. Howard's sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. The stories were originally published in Fantastic in August 1972, July 1973, July 1974, and February 1975. The collected stories were intended for book publication by Lancer Books, but this edition never appeared due to Lancer's bankruptcy, and the first book edition was issued in paperback by Ace Books in paperback in May 1977. It was reprinted by Ace in July 1981, April 1982, November 1982, August 1983, July 1984, 1986, June 1991, and April 1994. The first British edition was published by Sphere Books in October 1978, and reprinted in July 1988. The book has also been translated into French

Conan the Barbarian

Conan the Barbarian (also known as Conan the Cimmerian) is a fictional sword and sorcery hero who originated in pulp fiction magazines and has since been adapted to books, comics, several films (including Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer), television programs (cartoon and live-action), video games, role-playing games, and other media. The character was created by writer Robert E. Howard in 1932 in a series of fantasy stories published in Weird Tales magazine.

Red Moon of Zembabwei

"Red Moon of Zembabwei" is a short story by American writers L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, featuring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian created by Robert E. Howard. It was first published in the July 1974 issue of the magazine Fantastic, and was first appeared in book form by Ace Books in the paperback collection Conan of Aquilonia in May 1977, which was reprinted several times through 1994. The first British edition was published by Sphere Books in October 1978.

The Witch of the Mists

"The Witch of the Mists" is a fantasy short story by American writers L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, featuring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian created by Robert E. Howard. It was first published in the August 1972 issue of the magazine Fantastic, and was first appeared in book form by Ace Books in the paperback collection Conan of Aquilonia in May 1977, which was reprinted several times through 1994. The first British edition was published by Sphere Books in October 1978.

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