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The Phoenix on the Sword (Conan (Original Short Stories) #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  570 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
Robert Ervin Howard (1906-1936) was an American pulp writer of fantasy, horror, historical adventure, boxing, western, and detective fiction. He is well known for having created the character Conan the Cimmerian, a literary icon whose pop-culture imprint can be compared to such icons as Tarzan of the Apes, Sherlock Holmes, and James Bond. Voracious reading, along with a na ...more
Published 2011 (first published 1932)
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Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Why 5 stars for a 1932 pulp fantasy fiction short story?

Because this was the first appearance of Conan the Cimmerian AKA Conan the Barbarian AKA King Conan etc etc.

Why has Chuck Norris never portrayed Conan in film? Because the convergence of two such sources of cosmic awesomeness could result in the creation of a flash of brilliance so intense that its result can only be speculated upon.

Robert E. Howard only walked around on this earth a little longer than did Jimi Hendrix or Hank Williams (he
Bentley ★
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I bought on a whim, a collection of pulp fantasy short stories that really laid the ground work for the genre of fantasy that we know and love today. This story was included in the collection and was my first experience with Conan the Cimmerian, aka Conan the Barbarian, and I daresay it won't be my last given how much I enjoyed it.

The worldbuilding is definitely heavier than I think any short story probably has the right to be, but what was there was pretty awesome. I already love the world, an
Wayne Barrett
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing

"What do I know of cultured ways, the gilt, the craft and the lie?
I, was born in a naked land and bred in the open sky.
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs--I was a man before I was a king.
-The Road of Kings

So...twenty-five against one? Bring it on, and good luck with that. I haven't seen such horrible odds since a corrupt posse had William Tell Sackett surrounded in the hills. So much for that posse and so much for the outlaws who dared
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Oh man, to think you could get so much adrenaline in 27 pages!

Pure raging action that doesn't ever stop. This, fellow fantasy writers and fans, is how you write a book.

The prose hasn't aged a day, nor has the story: in fact, the opening pages seem eerily Thrones-ey, with a dark and subtle plot wherein political savants attempt to spring an aging king from his throne. But Conan is no Robert Baratheon, and he (view spoiler)
5.0 stars. This story contains the first appearance of Conan in print. It takes place at a time when Conan was King of Aquilonia having secured the throne by strangling the former king, Numedides, on his throne (in true Conan fashion). This story introduces the reader to Conan's world full of barbarians, wizards and monsters including, the evil sorcerer Thoth-Anon. EXCELLENT (5.0 STARS)
Fun pulp, with the introduction of Conan as the King of Cimmeria, fighting off bad guys intent on whacking him through any means necessary. The showdown is pretty gory, more than I was expecting. Brains running out and blood covering the floor and stuff like that. Cool!

Conan fanboys scholars have way more to say about this than I do. The Conan movies are a fading memory and I simply picked this one up because I love a good, short pulpy read where action is the name of the game.
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great short novella and a great introduction to Conan, he's a barbarian, strong and battle driven, yet. He is not stupid at all. He actually seems to be very well educated and cunning.

There's also some strange Lovecraftian tone to the whole thing. I'll look into that and keep reading the stories of course.
Kimberly Read
I don't think I would have picked up a Conan book if not for the influence of the group Fantasy Aficionados here on Goodreads. However, I am glad I did. Howard's imagery paints a picture. Even in this first book I can see the strong influence these books have had on the fantasy genre. I was fascinated with how Howard wove ancient cultures into the narrative. I recognized Greek, Jewish, Iranian and Egyptian. My one little quibble is that I didn't feel invested in the characters - not unexpected w ...more
Kamas Kirian
I was quite impressed with this story. It tells the tale of a treacherous plot to bring down Conan the King. The story telling is fast paced, and the introduction of characters makes them each unique. Yet, for being a short story, and the first instance of Conan, the world presented appears to be fully envisioned. There are hints of histories not yet presented, but the characters being fully aware of them. REH had some definite craft here I was not expecting.
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Don't ever say you don't like a thing till you've tried it. I've tried it now, and I didn't much like it.
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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
More about Robert E. Howard...

Other Books in the Series

Conan (Original Short Stories) (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • The Scarlet Citadel
  • The Tower of the Elephant (Conan, #3) (Weird Tales)
  • Black Colossus (Conan the Barbarian, #4)
  • The Slithering Shadow (World Cultural Heritage Library)
  • The Pool of the Black One
  • Rogues In The House
  • Shadows In The Moonlight
  • Queen of the Black Coast
  • The Devil in Iron
  • The People Of The Black Circle