chapters 20-23 and review
This is the final part of my synopsis and review of Conan the Defiant.
Our heroes are still journeying through the in-between world to reach the castle, we have a kill-us-both-spock moment with an illusory Conan. Elashi tricks Clo-nan and the real article clouts him a blow knocking him unconscious and the pair continue on their way. Neg's zombie army begins his conquest of the Hyborian world, and Conan and Elashi meet up with Tuanne and Skeer, momentarily breaking Neg's Control with Salt Water. This unlikely alliance heads off to find the Talisman and defeat neg before his plans of conquest are fulfilled.
This respite is short, Neg quickly figures out that Skeer is helping Conan and where Tuanne is hiding. Finding and torturing her for information. He also re-asserts his control over Skeer, forcing him to abandon the Barbarian and his search for the talisman. He does give Conan directions to the item however before he leaves to attend to Neg.
Finding the Talisman, Neg's power begins to wane. He seeks to know whats happened to it, and the Meeting between Neg and Conan comes quickly after, Neg dispatches Skeer for his treachery and steals his soul.. The Agitated spiders who had been following Skeer around decide that.. since that soul was their goal.. they will attack neg. This distraction gives Conan the opportunity to dispatch the necromancer. Thus ends the threat to the Hyborian world of one of many magical annoyances.
Elashi, Tuanne and Conan then set about reversing the damage Neg had wrought. Freeing all of the animated dead from their servitude and returning them to the shadow realms of death. The story then ends with Conan and Elashi embarking on his much delayed journey south to Zamora, all ready for his Next Adventure.
This book was an odd one, It was the second of Steve Perry's Conan stories, so I can't really give it much of a pass for him not knowing what he was working with. Had it been his first effort, I'd have been more forgiving. I know that Steve Perry isn't the most well regarded of the Conan writers and I see why now. There is nothing particularly wrong with his writing style, its very light with a good amount of humour in it. The whole bit with the consternated spiders actually did make me chuckle a few times. His really weak spot is his names as I've pointed out in previous posts. Conan being presented as a necrophiliac was just.. bizarre.. and not much else I can say about it.. Its just too silly to make light of. I know people in other reviews have made a point of Conan's ability to speak to everyone in Perry's stories, with seemingly no language gap. That is accurate, he has no problem speaking to anyone even when they are from lands he hasn't visited yet. The only explination I can think of for this is that, Brythunian must be semi-related to another language that he knows. The two seemingly most likely ways of looking at it are 1) If the name is any indication then the people of Brythunia (Brython or Welsh Britain) probably speak a language similar to that of Cimmeria, if not immediately inteligable it probably wouldn't be too hard for some one who is as natural a master of languages as Conan to pick up. 2) Brythunia is the original home of the Ancestors of the Angles and Saxons and there for would probably have had a language very similar to the Aesir.
The story was thankfully lacking DeCamp's Cutesy stuff or Carters attempts at humour. It had humour, but more in the vein of a Terry Gilliam cartoon than Decamp and Carters sort of.. "I dare say old chum isn't that odd now" sort of laughs. If it wasn't for the language and sexual overtones I'd say this would have been a pretty darn good Conan Young Adult Novel.
All in all it wasn't a bad story, but it wasn't a great Conan story. Certainly a way to make the L.Sprague DeCamp and Lin Carter stories look better by Comparison is to read one of Steve Perry's.
I give it ** out of *****
Locations: The Brythunian slopes of the Graskill and Karpash Mountains
Towns, cities and other places: Okothard, The Temple which will not fall, Neg's Castle
Characters: Conan (age about 15), Cengh the Messenger, Monks of the TWWNF, Elashi, Tuanne, Neg the Malific, Skeer the footpad, The Swordmaster, Malo the Swordmasters Apprentice, The Disguise Master, Brute the brute, Port, Starboard.
Languages Spoken: Cimmerian, Aesir, Brythunian.
Next is " Conan the Hunter " By Sean A. Moore.