Several hours later, Conan awakens from his subterranean rendezvous with Chuntha.. collecting his clothes and trying to be as silent as possible, contemplating how to get past the worms which are guarding her chamber door. He decides to bluff his way past by speaking a little Hyperborean, His ruse works on the simple creatures and he makes good his escape. Running into Wikkel and Deek on his way out, they approach him about an alliance.
Meanwhile Katamay Rey is interrogating Elashi, Lalo offers up information to prevent the torture of the girl, It just happens to be false information. Katamey leaves off to go and ascertain the veracity of lalo's information, giving a brief respite to our captured heroes. Shortly after his departure Elashi manages an escape, and begins to rummage through Rey's belongings looking for some implement with which to free the others.
Chuntha awakens to find her new toy gone, dispatching the worms which fell for his earlier bluff for their incompetence (only worms after all.. geeze) she sets off to find Conan. While this is happening, Rey is still about his fact finding, and Wikkel and Deek are explaining their plan to Conan for the dispatch of the two sorceress loons rampaging around. A series of coincidences occurs which maneuvers the wizard and witch to their unique demises and the heroes along with Wikkel and Deek ponder the meaning of all this. The four humans then leave the cave, and don't look back.
Crom, I need a stiff drink.
Location - Near the Border between Corinthia, Brythunia and Zamora, and a massive underground cavern complex.
Characters - Conan, Elashi, Lalo, Harskeel, Katamay Rey The Wizard, Wikkel The Cyclops, Chuntha The witch, Deek The Worm, Tull the hobo,
Languages Known - Cimmerian, Aesir, Brythunian, Zamoran, Hyperborean
I cannot believe I'm saying this only five stories in, but I'm having doubts about my ability to complete my proffered mission on this blog.. this book is bad.. really bad.. and I'm having a really hard time reading it.. Steve Perry should be ashamed of himself for having cashed the check for it.. and whoever the editor was, they should be ashamed for having let it slip across their desk at Tor.
I really hope if I have any readers out there you realize what I sacrificed to bring this review to you.. the idea I've got more Steve perry books to read in this chronology fills be with dread and loathing beyond imagining.. this is one of the worst books I have ever read and cannot even imagine how they could get worse... but I'm sure Mr. Perry will figure out how. It's amazing this is the same guy who wrote for The Real Ghostbusters and Batman the Animated Series..
The whole book is filled with bizarre stuff, beyond the Fishboat.. theirs the Harskeel.. and Lalo the cursed.. Sexual Plants, talking worms, spiders and bats.. a cavern society of Cyclopses... all of this makes the much maligned Satyrs in "Conan the Liberator" seem downright normal.
Though it is interesting that my way of thinking in regards to the Necromancer in Conan The Defiant being awfully similar to the Witch queen in Legions of the Dead. With Katamey and Chunthus minions speaking Hyperborean, its obvious that in Steve Perry's mind the taint of Hyperborea stretches a considerable distance down the Mountainous regions which separate the kingdoms of the north east. The White worms are also apparently a recurring group of species from the north as well, perhaps related to the giant White worm from Clark Ashton Smiths Hyperborean story "The Coming of the White Worm". Though all of thats only my speculation of course. The Steve Perry books I've read so far make up the first two in a Quadrilogy which fills in the gap between Conan's escape from Slavery to his time as a thief in Zamora. It's really a shame that they are so bad. Perry has introduced a huge number of Sapient species into the Conan Mythos which REH never even hinted at, and with the rate that all these various animals can talk it is beginning to feel a lot like a Disney movie. Between the Stith in "Conan the Defiant", the White Worms, The Cyclopses, The Blood Bats, the Spiders, The Sexual plants.. That makes six species apart from Man which are capable of independent thought and critical thinking skills. This whole thing seems to be really out of place in Hyborea.
All of this book also further negates the possibility of "Conan the Hunter" actually taking place during this time period. There is absolutely no room for it to take place between Defiant and Indomitable.
I can't even rate this one with a star and be honest.
One slight bit of good news is, only two more of these to get through and I get a brief glimpse of quality with one of my favorite REH tales.. I'm sure it will read all the better when compared to this..
Up Next Conan the Free-Lance by Steve Perry *Shudders*