Conan the Liberator

Conan the Liberator is a fantasy novel by American writers L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, featuring Robert E. Howard's sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. It was first published in paperback by Bantam Books in February 1979,[1][2] and reprinted in 1982;[1] later paperback editions were issued by Ace Books (July 1987 and April 1991). The first hardcover edition was published by Tor Books in June 2002; a trade paperback followed from the same publisher in 2003. The first British edition was from Sphere Books (July 1987). The novel was later gathered together with Conan the Swordsman and Conan and the Spider God into the omnibus collection Sagas of Conan (Tor Books, 2004).[2]

Howard himself never wrote the tale of this turning point of Conan's life, when, starting as wandering mercenary and pirate, he became a king. The only detail provided in the canonical Howard stories is that Conan strangled Numedides on his own throne and then crowned himself with the dead King's crown. Carter and de Camp, filling in this link in Conan's career, show that a prolonged, arduous military campaign was needed before he got to this point, that there were many setbacks and moments when all seemed lost. Also, while Conan's own courage and perseverance played a crucial role, his success also owed a great deal to a band of loyal and dedicated companions, some of whom did not survive to see the final victory.

Conan the Liberator
Conan the Liberator
Cover of first edition.
AuthorL. Sprague de Camp
Lin Carter
IllustratorTim Kirk
Cover artistBob Larkin
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
SeriesConan the Barbarian
GenreSword and sorcery
PublisherBantam Books
Publication date
1979
Media typePrint (Paperback)
Pages274 pp
ISBN0-553-12706-3
OCLC6390811

Plot summary

Following the events of the story "The Treasure of Tranicos", Conan joins a conspiracy of former comrades-in-arms to overthrow Numedides, the mad and tyrannical king of Aquilonia. As commander of the rebel forces, he has the prospect of becoming king himself if they succeed. However, Conan has not only Numedides' loyal troops, led by General Procas, to overcome, but the magic of an evil sorcerer named Thulandra Thuu.

Chronologically, Conan the Liberator overlaps the events of the story "Wolves Beyond the Border", and is followed by the story "The Phoenix on the Sword".

Reception

Shortly before publication of the first hardcover edition in 2002 Kirkus Reviews pronounced that "[o]nce again, de Camp and Carter mime Howard's hyperbolic spirit and majestic inverted syntax with great style." The review expressed no other opinion as to the merit of the novel.[3]

Don D'Ammassa called the book "a pretty good story" and noted that "the military encounters are very well constructed."[4]

Notes

  1. ^ a b Laughlin, Charlotte; Daniel J. H. Levack (1983). De Camp: An L. Sprague de Camp Bibliography. San Francisco: Underwood/Miller. p. 42.
  2. ^ a b Conan the Liberator title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  3. ^ ""Conan the Liberator / L. Sprague de Camp & Lin Carter" [review]. Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2002.
  4. ^ D'Ammassa, Don. "Conan the Liberator" (review on Critical Mass). Aug. 23, 2017.

References

Preceded by
Conan the Swordsman
Bantam Conan series
(publication order)
Succeeded by
The Sword of Skelos
Preceded by
"Wolves Beyond the Border"
Complete Conan Saga
(William Galen Gray chronology)
Succeeded by
"The Phoenix on the Sword"
1979 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1979.

Conan (books)

The Conan books are sword and sorcery fantasies featuring the character of Conan the Cimmerian originally created by Robert E. Howard. Written by numerous authors and issued by numerous publishers, they include both novels and short stories, the latter assembled in various combinations over the years by the several publishers. The character has proven durably popular, resulting in Conan stories being produced after Howard's death by such later writers as Poul Anderson, Leonard Carpenter, Lin Carter, L. Sprague de Camp, Roland J. Green, John C. Hocking, Robert Jordan, Sean A. Moore, Björn Nyberg, Andrew J. Offutt, Steve Perry, John Maddox Roberts, Harry Turtledove, and Karl Edward Wagner. Some of these writers finished incomplete Conan manuscripts by Howard, or rewrote Howard stories which originally featured different characters. Most post-Howard Conan stories, however, are completely original works. In total, more than fifty novels and dozens of short stories featuring the Conan character have been written by authors other than Howard. This article describes and discusses notable book editions of the Conan stories.

Conan and the Spider God

Conan and the Spider God is a fantasy novel by American writer L. Sprague de Camp featuring Robert E. Howard's sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. It was first published in paperback by Bantam Books in December 1980; later paperback editions were issued by Ace Books (April 1989, reprinted August 1991) and Tor Books (June 2003). The first hardcover edition was issued by Robert Hale in 1984, and the second by Tor Books in 2002. It was later gathered together with Conan the Swordsman and Conan the Liberator into the omnibus trade paperback collection Sagas of Conan (Tor Books, 2004).Conan and the Spider God is the only fictional Conan work credited solely to de Camp; his other Conan stories being collaborations with Howard (posthumously), Lin Carter, and Björn Nyberg. De Camp also wrote numerous non-fiction pieces about Conan and Howard, both alone and with others.

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 the Swordsman

Conan the Swordsman is a collection of seven fantasy short stories and associated pieces written by L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter and Björn Nyberg featuring Robert E. Howard's sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. It was first published in paperback by Bantam Books in August 1978, and reprinted in 1981. Later paperback editions were issued by Ace Books (April 1987 and March 1991). The first hardcover edition was published by Tor Books in December 2002. The first British edition was issued by Sphere Books in 1978. The book has also been translated into Italian and French. It was later gathered together with Conan the Liberator and Conan and the Spider God into the omnibus collection Sagas of Conan (Tor Books, January 2004).

Conan the Usurper

Conan the Usurper is a 1967 collection of four fantasy short stories by American writer Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp, featuring Howard's sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. Most of the stories originally appeared in the fantasy magazine Weird Tales in the 1930s. The book has been reprinted a number of times since by various publishers, and has also been translated into German, Spanish, Italian, Swedish and Dutch.

Legions of the Dead

"Legions of the Dead" 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. In the opinion of de Camp critic Morgan Holmes, Catherine Crook de Camp may have had a hand in the writing as well. It was first published by Bantam Books in the paperback collection Conan the Swordsman in August 1978. Later paperback editions of the collection were issued by Ace Books (1987 and 1991). The first hardcover edition was published by Tor Books in 2002. The book has also been translated into Italian. It was later gathered together with Conan the Liberator and Conan and the Spider God into the omnibus collection Sagas of Conan (Tor Books, 2004).

Les Edwards

Les Edwards (born 1949) is a British illustrator known for his work in the horror, science fiction and fantasy genres, and has provided numerous illustrations for book jackets, posters, magazines, record covers and games during his career. In addition to working under his actual name, he also uses the pseudonym Edward Miller to paint in a different style and to overcome restrictions placed on him by his association with horror. He has won the British Fantasy Society award for Best Artist seven times, and was awarded the World Fantasy Award in 2008.

Moon of Blood

"Moon of Blood" 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 by Bantam Books in the paperback collection Conan the Swordsman in August 1978. Later paperback editions of the collection were issued by Ace Books (1987 and 1991). The first hardcover edition was published by Tor Books in 2002. The book has also been translated into Italian. It was later gathered together with Conan the Liberator and Conan and the Spider God into the omnibus collection Sagas of Conan (Tor Books, 2004).

Sagas of Conan

Sagas of Conan is a 2004 omnibus collection of three previously issued fantasy books written by L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter and Björn Nyberg featuring Robert E. Howard's seminal sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. It was first published in paperback by Tor Books.

Shadows in the Dark (Conan story)

"Shadows in the Dark" 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 by Bantam Books in the paperback collection Conan the Swordsman in August 1978. Later paperback editions of the collection were issued by Ace Books (1987 and 1991). The first hardcover edition was published by Tor Books in 2002. The book has also been translated into Italian. It was later gathered together with Conan the Liberator and Conan and the Spider God into the omnibus collection Sagas of Conan (Tor Books, 2004).

The Gem in the Tower

"The Gem in the Tower" 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 is a rewritten version of "Black Moonlight", an earlier story by Carter alone featuring his own sword and sorcery character Thongor (for which see below). The Conan version was first published by Bantam Books in the paperback collection Conan the Swordsman in August 1978, and was reprinted in the anthology The Year's Best Fantasy Stories: 5 (DAW Books, 1980) and later editions of Conan the Swordsman (Ace Books, 1987 and 1991, Tor Books (first hardcover edition), 2002). The collection was later gathered together with Conan the Liberator and Conan and the Spider God into the omnibus collection Sagas of Conan (Tor Books, 2004). The story has also been translated into Italian and French.

The Ivory Goddess

"The Ivory Goddess" 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. According to Morgan Holmes, citing de Camp friend Loay Hall, Carter did none of the writing, and the story was written by de Camp in collaboration with his wife Catherine Crook de Camp. The story was first published by Bantam Books in the paperback anthology Conan the Swordsman in August 1978. Later paperback editions of the collection were issued by Ace Books (1987 and 1991). The first hardcover edition was published by Tor Books in 2002. The book has also been translated into Italian. It was later gathered together with Conan the Liberator and Conan and the Spider God into the omnibus collection Sagas of Conan (Tor Books, 2004). The story has been translated into Italian.

The People of the Summit

"The People of the Summit" is a short story by Björn Nyberg, subsequently revised by L. Sprague de Camp, featuring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian created by Robert E. Howard. Nyberg's version of the story was first published by Lancer Books in the paperback anthology The Mighty Swordsmen in December 1970. The revised version was first published by Bantam Books in the paperback collection Conan the Swordsman in August 1978. Later paperback editions of the collection were issued by Ace Books (1987 and 1991). The first hardcover edition was published by Tor Books in 2002. The book has also been translated into Italian. It was later gathered together with Conan the Liberator and Conan and the Spider God into the omnibus collection Sagas of Conan (Tor Books, 2004).

The Phoenix on the Sword

"The Phoenix on the Sword" is one of the original short stories about Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard, and first published in Weird Tales magazine, in December, 1932. The tale, in which Howard created the character of Conan, was a rewrite of the unpublished Kull story, "By This Axe I Rule!", with long passages being identical. The Conan version of the story was republished in the collections King Conan (Gnome Press, 1953) and Conan the Usurper (Lancer Books, 1967). It has most recently been republished in the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon (Gollancz, 2001) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) (Del Rey, 2003). It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and details Conan foiling a nefarious plot to unseat him as king of Aquilonia.

It is noteworthy that the very first Conan story depicts him as a king - which means that when writing later stories placed earlier in Conan's life, as a thief, pirate, mercenary etc., Howard (and his readers) already knew that the character was ultimately destined to become a king.

The Star of Khorala

"The Star of Khorala" is a novella by Björn Nyberg and L. Sprague de Camp, featuring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian created by Robert E. Howard. It was first published by Bantam Books in the paperback collection Conan the Swordsman in August 1978. Later paperback editions of the collection were issued by Ace Books (1987 and 1991). The first hardcover edition was published by Tor Books in 2002. The book has also been translated into Italian. It was later gathered together with Conan the Liberator and Conan and the Spider God into the omnibus collection Sagas of Conan (Tor Books, 2004).

The Sword of Skelos

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, 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.

Wolves Beyond the Border

"Wolves Beyond the Border" is one of the original stories by American writer Robert E. Howard featuring Conan the Cimmerian, a fragment begun in the 1930s but not finished or published in Howard's lifetime. It is a peripheral story in the canon in that while it takes place in Conan's "Hyborian Age" and during Conan's lifetime, Conan does not actually appear, but is merely mentioned. The story was completed by L. Sprague de Camp and in this form first published in the collection Conan the Usurper (1967). It has since been published in its original form in the collection The Conan Chronicles Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon (Gollancz, 2001) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) (Del Rey, 2003).

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