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The Phoenix on the Sword
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Achive > June 2013-Sword and Sorcery-Conan: The Phoenix on the Sword

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message 1: by Chris (new)

Chris  (haughtc) Here is the first of the Howard stories about Conan.

I meant to start this already, but had a busy weekend and I haven't yet.


message 2: by Evgeny (new)

Evgeny This is the first published Conan's story, but one of the last ones if you consider chronological order. Still, I found it is better to read the stories in published order: while there is very little character development to speak of, there are some more sides of Conan which revealed as the author wrote them.

Also, this story is fairly short, but it gives its reader the exact depiction of what is following: mindless fun with the original barbarian.


message 3: by Chris (new)

Chris  (haughtc) I finally read this last night. I really enjoyed it. I don't think I've read it before. What Conan I did read as a teenager was from those Lancer books. Since those were chronological tellings of the stories, I probably wouldn't have gotten to this one.


message 4: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments I haven't started yet. :(


message 5: by Chris (new)

Chris  (haughtc) This is a pretty short story. I think it was just under 20 pages in the edition I'm reading.


message 6: by jaw (new) - rated it 4 stars

jaw | 85 comments Reading it on my tablet, it was about 40 pages. No idea on actual length.

This was a fun read which I imagine is true for most of the Conan stories. I never realized how truly old Conan was - this was published in 1932. Usually, I think of The Lord of the Rings as being the oldest thing around or The Hobbit and they were published in 1954 and 1937.

I posted in the overall thread that reading Conan was like putting on an old, favorite shirt. At first, I thought it was because I had always loved Conan from my brother's old books to the comics and even Arnold's version but, after thinking about it, I think it's because the characters/concepts are used in almost everything I've ever read.

Let's take Epemitreus for example.

He is an old wizard who has spent lifetimes (and his death) battling dark gods, has great knowledge of the present and future and provides magical assistance to his champion. Does that sound familiar to anyone else? Because it sounds awfully familiar to me.

Or do you think I'm assuming too much about Epemitreus?


message 7: by Evgeny (new)

Evgeny I would not be surprised if Tolkien borrowed some of the themes from Conan. Howard was a (grand)father of sword and sorcery genre - even before the term was used.


Kimberly Read | 156 comments I felt like I jumped into the middle of the story when I first started. I actually stopped reading to do some research because I was confused. I get it now - snapshots of a story written across a period of time as an installment in a magazine. I can't help but wonder if Howard had a master plan or the development was more organic. I think the later ... at least initially.


message 9: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments So, I started yesterday...

...and immediately got caught up in the phrase "Sons of Aryas."

I then spent the rest of my reading time researching what was meant by Sons of Aryas. I learned quite a bit. O_o But I'm still behind.


message 10: by Evgeny (last edited Jun 07, 2013 07:06AM) (new)

Evgeny MrsJoseph wrote: "So, I started yesterday...

...and immediately got caught up in the phrase "Sons of Aryas."

I then spent the rest of my reading time researching what was meant by Sons of Aryas. I learned quite..."


I would strongly recommend reading The Hyborian Age first. Howard himself said that he created the history of Conan's land and never wrote anything that contradicted that history. This would help a lot in understanding of some of the names, places, races, etc.


message 11: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Evgeny wrote: "MrsJoseph wrote: "So, I started yesterday...

...and immediately got caught up in the phrase "Sons of Aryas."

I then spent the rest of my reading time researching what was meant by Sons of Aryas..."


Ha! This process is one that young writers are encouraged (at least in the schools I've been taught at) to reproduce for every work in progress. Along with detailed character sketches.

David Eddings produced something quite like this for this Belgariad series: The Rivan Codex: Ancient Texts of the Belgariad and the Malloreon. Yes. I do own a copy.


message 12: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments I finally finished it! It's a pretty good story.


message 13: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments I finally finished it! It's a pretty good story.


message 14: by Chris (new)

Chris  (haughtc) You can say that again.


message 15: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments I'm kinda wondering if my copy was jacked. It just ended so...abruptly. I wanted more story. :(


message 16: by Rachel the Book Harlot (last edited Jun 13, 2013 07:08PM) (new)

Rachel the Book Harlot | 19 comments I finished this story today, and really enjoyed it. One thing that really surprised me is how poetic the prose is. It's quite lovely. For example, I really loved this line:

"As a pebble cast into a dark lake sends ripples to the further shores, happenings in the Unseen world have broken like waves on my slumber".

I'm not all that familiar with pulp fiction so I'm not sure if poetic prose is a characteristic of that type of storytelling or if it was specific to Howard.

I really loved the introduction at the beginning of the story: "Know, oh prince, that between the years...." I could almost hear the narrator in my head while reading that. This story just begged to become a film. Howard really knows how to set a scene and atmosphere.

Anyway, lots of fun. :)


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