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The Hour of the Dragon

(Lancer/Ace Uniform Edition of Conan #5)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  3,794 ratings  ·  137 reviews
Conan is besieged by enemies! Xaltotun, an ancient sorcerer attacks the Kingdom of Aquilonia! The only way to defeat him is to retrieve the Heart of Ahriman!
Hardcover, Book Club Edition, 212 pages
Published November 1977 by GP Putnam's Sons (first published 1936)
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4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,794 ratings  ·  137 reviews


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Jason Koivu
When you think of Conan you think of this...

description

Then you think of the screaming barbarian...

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Whoops, sorry, I meant this...

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But if you read one of Robert Howard's original Conan the Barbarian stories what you get is something that should be titled Conan the Part-Time Barbarian, Part-Time Diplomat, because there is WAY more talk and politics than expected.

What did I expect? I thought I'd get more fighting, more monsters and just more action in general. What I got was a whole lotta this *makes talking
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Tosh
...the hour of the Dragon has come…


After reading one of Howard's shortstory collections I discovered he'd also written a full length Conan novel. The one and only - originally written in five parts for the magazine Weird Tales under the title The Hour of the Dragon, then eventually published as a book under a new title. Apparently a publishing company looking to fit this novel in with a themed series of Conan stories decided that Conan the Conqueror was more appropriate. Personally, I like the
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HBalikov
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"It is not alone the rebellious lords of Aquilonia and the armies of Nemedia which are arrayed against you," answered Hadrathus. "It is sorcery – grisly black magic from the grim youth of the world. An awful shape has risen out of the shades of the Past, and none can stand before it."

This is one of the best of Howard’s Conan tales. Its rich description and compelling pace took me into a re-imagined Eastern Hemisphere of the past with warring empires and fantastic cities. Conan, a barbarian who h
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S.E. Lindberg
"From death to death [ The Heart of Ahriman]  came, riding on a river of human blood. Blood feeds it, blood draws it. Its power is greatest when there is blood on the hands that grasp it, when it is wrested by slaughter from its holder. Wherever it gleams, blood is spilt and kingdoms totter, and the forc es of nature are put in turmoil." --  Thutothmes of Khemi (The Hour of The Dragon, by REH)



The Hour of the Dragon (1934-1936), is Robert E. Howard''s only full length novel of Conan, the barb
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Arley Dial
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this final (chronologically) Conan story, Howard demonstrates why he was one of the best adventure writers of all time. In the only novel he ever produced, Howard is able to maintain the blistering pace he is known for, while still weaving a complex and interesting tale. The story is set during Conan's time as King of Aquilonia, which is a period in the hero's life often overlooked (I'm looking at you, Hollywood.) In act one, King Conan is defeated and the kindom is wrested from his grasp. We ...more
Jim
I'm reading an online version on Wikisource. I think this is the original that was published as a serial in the pulps.
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Hou...

This is a great Conan adventure that winds up showing us a lot of his previous life, so that makes it a lot of fun. All the convenient elements got to me, though. One or two in a short story are fine, but an entire novel was too much. (view spoiler)
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Derek
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could read this many times (three, so far) and pick out some new facet each time. F'instance:

* Howard touches several times on the theme that Conan's lone-wolf nature is both strength and weakness. He is dedicated to his kingdom, but is not committed to it: he neither married nor produced an heir. Upon his presumed death, the barons cannot rally around an heir and thus the center of the kingdom will not hold.

* A foozle quest--in this case the Heart of Ahriman--is required to save the kingdom,
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V.
Jan 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The problem with a lot of genre classics is that their ideas have been ripped off so often they end up reading like they're full of cliches even though they were the originators of those familiar tropes.

But when it comes to the best of the pulp writers there's an electric vibe that runs through them that doesn't fade. Like the stories of Raymond Chandler or Lovecraft or even Poe, they're just very entertaining and fun.

Conan stories vary in quality, but this one, the only full-length novel, has
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Artemas
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some wicked dark sorcery in this one.
Jack
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With this book, Robert E. Howard proved that he could maintain the skillful prose and pacing of his Conan short stories in a full-length novel.

Wonderful passage:

They traversed a long, dark, vaulted corridor in which, Conan noticed uneasily, the skull on the staff glowed phosphorescently. He felt a surge of unreasoning, wild animal panic that urged him to rip out his knife and slash right and left at these uncanny figures, to flee madly from this grim, dark temple. But he held himself in check,
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Joe Russomanno
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For people that don't know, Howard is the Father of Modern day Sword and Sorcery. For people that think he invented it, all I can say is see the King Arthur legend and even that isn't the first.

As for this particular story. If you think Lord of the Rings etc. are the centerpieces for fantasy fiction, well you're mistaken. This right here should and is in my opinion, the crown jewel of fantasy fiction.

An evil wizard with power beyond belief. Treacherous rulers who plot against the hero. Epic bat
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Gabriel Wallis
May 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2014
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Charles
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
My edition is from Berkley. This is Howard's novel of Conan with minimal editing.

Howard's only full length novel about Conan, and it contains some sections that are loose rewrites of a few of the Conan stories. This is a really enjoyable novel, with great atomsphere and action.
Michael
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book 9 in my re-read of the Conan series. Spoilers ahead!


Conan the Conqueror picks up two years after the events in The Scarlet Citadel, and is essentially the same story expanded into novel length. Luckily, I enjoyed The Scarlet Citadel, so I didn't mind the extended do over. And really, if you've made it this far in the series, you should be no stranger to treading familiar ground. Much of the story is comprised of Conan in pursuit of an ancient jewel, the Heart of Ahriman, that will allow him
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Terence
Jun 04, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Conan fans
Shelves: sf-fantasy
The only Conan novel written by Howard, The Hour of the Dragon delivers everything a fan of the Cimmerian would want - beautiful women needing rescue, several evil wizards to defeat, and a well-paced adventure that has Conan striving to recover the Aquilonian throne and thwart the efforts of Xaltotun to restore the empire of Acheron. This is the umpteenth time I've read the novel since acquiring this Sci-Fi Book Club edition almost 30 years ago and it's still great fun.

I like to believe the foll
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Wreade1872
aka Conan the Conqueror. This is exactly what you would think, which wasn't what i expected . I really wasn't sure Howard's writing would create the same sort of atmosphere as the films but it is pretty similar and Howard has a nice descriptive style. Although conan is definitely a little bit smarter than the film version.
The middle portion started to lose me, it felt like it was meandering too much and there are a few too many coincidences and lucky escapes. However it picked up steam again t
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Rob
Apr 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Howard's only novel-length tale of the redoubtable Cimmerian. When serialized in Weird Tales, it was titled 'Hour of the Dragon,' which de Camp said had little to do with the story. As if "Conan the Conqueror" does.

To me this is the last truly worthwhile book in this series. The tales after this are almost wholly not Howard's work (unless you count some vague notes), and it shows.

This was my first exposure to Conan, other than Marvel Comics. I preferred this to the comics, but I prefer the earl
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Charles
Jan 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This basically "Hour of the Dragon" retitled to fit the series demands, and edited by L. Sprague De Camp, even though it really didn't need any editing. Still, the power of the original certainly shines through here.
Ron
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hard to beat the original Conan. The character never dies... Conan is forever.
Mike Billington
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What can I say about Robert E. Howard that hasn't already been said?
Should I say that he almost singlehandedly invented a whole genre of fiction? That his world-building skills were unsurpassed? That his use of the active voice was almost without parallel?
I could, but that's all been said before.
What I can say is that I've been reading Howard's tales of the giant Cimmerian since I was 10 and, now at three score and ten, I still enjoy them.
Howard created a forgotten age in his Conan stories and i
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Lior
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can Epic Fantasy get any better than this? In the only Conan novel written by Robert E. Howard himself, an evil wizard dead for 3,000 years is resurrected by a group of usurpers to help them take over Conan's throne in Aquilonia, and ultimately, take over the entire Hyborian kingdoms. The story is fast-paced, inventive and exciting. Conan is what he is. A rough and tough Barbarian, but also a man of honor and integrity. Really amazing when you realize this was written in the 1930's before Epic F ...more
Mark Stone
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To think that as good as Howard was writing Sword & Sorcery he was even better in writing Westerns according to his contemporaries. While I haven't read his Westerns to comment on that comparison personally, I can tell you that The Hour of the Dragon is perhaps Howard's finest writing in the Sword & Sorcery genre. Some of what happens is a little too happenstance for me, but that wasn't enough for me to knock this book from 5 stars to 4. An incredible read; a must read for those of us wh ...more
Michael Sorbello
An adrenaline-filled slugfest with nearly 200 pages worth of war, epic bloody battles and savage warriors against supernatural abominations. The action was incredible, the characterization of Conan is more mature and complex than ever before. The ending is surprisingly heartwarming as we watch a slave girl become a queen while Conan reclaims something precious that he once lost. A fitting finale for the legendary conqueror.
Darren
Influential early sword and sorcery with Conan himself throwing his weight around and lopping off heads all around. Fairly poor "see the join" writing, but with main plus point being the surprisingly detailed world-building (both physical and socio-political) and some of the action sequences were pretty good and some of the "black sorcery" was nicely atmospheric. Shortish, fun and never dragged, I'd probably read this again to be fair - 3.5 stars, but can't round up cos just too clunky.
Matty Esco
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will call it "surprisingly good".

Howard's whole appeal is you can't put his stories down. No matter how corny they get, you keep turning the pages because his writing is so crisp and evocative that you need to know who Bronan the Insanian is going to decapitate next, and why, although the why is rarely fleshed out.

I didn't figure he would've been able to keep this up for a full novel, but he did, and it breezed by like one of his short stories. It was a Conan story, so talking about the plot w
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Michael
This is the only novel Robert E. Howard ever wrote about Conan, and somehow I never got around to reading it. It is a lot of fun; like watching a cartoon or playing a video game: Conan has become the king of Aquilonia, Conan is deposed from his throne by an evil wizard who has been resurrected from the misty past of Hyperboria, Conan goes on a quest to find the one magical jewel that can send said wizard back to the Abyss, Conan beats the crap out of everyone who gets in his way. Plus: a lot of ...more
A.M.
Sep 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four defeated lords resort to necromancy and bring back a two thousand year old magician (Xaltotun) from the dead. Their aim? Power. But in order to get it and take over all the kingdoms, they need to kill Conan who is currently serving as the King of Aquilonia. They use magic to collapse the cliff on Conan during a battle, but it was only a stand-in. Conan was struck down by a shadow in his tent before the battle and could not ride out. He rails as his army is left leaderless and lost; thousand ...more
Peter W Blaisdell
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Howard's only full length Conan book is the very definition of sword and sorcery. This story has also been entitled, THE HOUR OF THE DRAGON. Though the author wrote in the 1930s, a great deal of modern epic fantasy is informed by the vivid, fluid approach Howard takes in telling his tales.

In THE HOUR OF THE DRAGON, Howard wastes little time on characterization or description, instead focusing on headlong forward momentum for his plot wherein Conan confronts a fantastically evil wizard returned
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Petros
May 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easily the best Conan story, not only by being the longest but also for referencing most of whatever Conan did in past adventures (most of which had not been written yet by Howard but were used as a blueprint for his next stories). It’s also true that most of the plot is a rehash of stuff Conan already did in other short stories, so it’s not like it’s oozing originality.

Despite being epic in scope, it also suffers from a lot of silly character motivations. Most of whatever the characters are do
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Philip Schmohl
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is the only book length telling of the Conan sagas and one of the Howard works L. Sprague Decamp and Lin Carter didn't get there hands on to bastardize! I came of age as a boy to the Conan tales. Howard helped me define my manhood, yeah, that may be pathetic to some, but in an alcoholic household with an absentee father - it was a big help to a confused, searching kid. Unfortunately, these tales made a fighter out of me an alpha-dog in every circle in which I moved or had my being. I made man ...more
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Robert Ervin Howard was an American pulp writer of fantasy, horror, historical adventure, boxing, western, and detective fiction. Howard wrote "over three-hundred stories and seven-hundred poems of raw power and unbridled emotion" and is especially noted for his memorable depictions of "a sombre universe of swashbuckling adventure and darkling horror."

He is well known for having created — in the p
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