Wednesday, December 1, 2010

14. Tor #1, Conan the Invincible by Robert Jordan. part 2

Racing eastward towards the opposite branch of the Kezankians from where he went on the dragon hunt, Conan is not privy to the knowledge that others have discovered the Caravan east. The Merchant assumes the Barbarian has double crossed him, and he sets out at once to reclaim his property and the Barbarians hide. The king's men also come to learn of the Caravan, and piece together that it was possibly an inside job which robbed him. The Zamoran army dispatches its most loyal Calvary after the robbers.

Some days to the east of Shadizar is the Well of Kings, an oasis in the desert land of Zamora. Conan stops to water his horse, and sees that several men have a captive girl in their midst. It is a girl which Conan rescued some time ago in the Tavern. Once more he rescues her from her would be captors and once more she spurns him. So deciding to put their differences aside for the moment the two then head eastwards again.

A fair amount of time passes while they ride ever eastward, the pair eventually comes upon the Caravan but while Conan urges the girl to stay back she rushes forward into the the light of the campfires and declares herself Karela the Red Hawk! Things now go from bad to worse for the Barbarian, as her men knock him out and truss him like an animal. While they are debating what to do with him, a new person appears in camp, the merchant from before. He is bargaining with them for the Barbarian.

Things don't work out to the magicians advantage, and due to the timely arrival of the Zamoran army the Bandits have to make off further into the hills with their Barbarian captive.


David J. West said...

Ah Karela, our first glimpse of Jordan's stereotypical women of the Wheel of Time.

(I'm just saying I think he had some issues)

Lagomorph Rex said...

oh absolutely, as I commented in my review of the first RJ Conan i read.. its easy to see some of the stuff that made it into Wheel of Time in its infancy here. It was, if I'm not mistaken, his working on "The Eye of the World" which caused him to have to abandon writing the Conan pastiches in the first place.. I think that the fact that was monopolizing his attention is probably how some of the stuff from Carpenter, Green and Perry slipped across his desk.

Personally I'm glad he did, the Wheel of Time books are far better than his Conan stories. Which seem to be nothing but repetitive out and backs from some hub or another. Or at least these two are. I wish there was a way to move them apart chronologically, but it really isn't that easy to do. It's almost as if he is just copying the basic idea of Conan the Destroyer over and over again, Conan is in Shadizar, Conan goes some place else on a quest, Conan returns to Shadizar, Conan goes some place else on a quest, Conan returns to Shadizar. Etc..

As I read each of these authors I find flaws of some sort with all of them. But they almost all seem to have one thing in common, these books should have been no more than 150 pages each. And the rather standardized number of pages for each volume, somewhere between 288 and 306 says this was obviously some sort of editorial choice.. probably based on the idea that.. well.. Destroyer was about 300 pages.. so lets have them all be about 300 pages...

David J. West said...

Definetly, I had to laugh when I read DeCamp's blurb that Jordan was the best Conan writer alive-Oh really? Sorry, Wagner's 'Road of Kings' blows Jordan out of the water.

I have read all seven Jordan's and can hardly remember a thing about them-as you mentioned above the stories all kind of bled together. I think I liked 'The Victorius' best-because it was the most different.

Lagomorph Rex said...

I actually didn't care for either Wagner's Road of Kings or Anderson's Rebel. I disliked Rebel because well.. he set it in between chapters of Queen of the Black Coast, and thats a serious no no for me.

But for whatever reason, despite the huge amount of love which Wagner gets among the REH community, I've yet to be able to warm to any of his work. I certainly don't understand why the Kane books sell for such ridiculous sums of money to be honest.. but thats one of those subjective, personal tastes things.

About the only three pastiches that I actually liked, were probably the Andrew Offutt ones.. Though I'm partial to some of the more specifically Lin Carter/Congor ones such as "The Thing in the Crypt".. The ones which win for most out of Character Conan however have to be the DeCamp/Carpenter ones.. they even make Perry's Conan feel more like Conan.. I'm not sure but Spidergod may be my least favorite Conan pastiche ever simply because it has the helpful scientist and Conan wondering if he should get married and settle down.. but I also seem to remember reading some where that it was possibly written by DeCamp's wife.. which really would explain alot.

David J. West said...

I do recall somewhere something about DeCamp's wifes collaboration 'shudder'

I liked Rebel as a story-but disliked it being shoehorned into QBC, it messed with Conan and Belit too much and that is why it bugged me.

I'm kinda so-so on Offutt's trilogy. I think my favorite pastiche would be JMR's "Conan and the Manhunters"-but I only read it once-I need to see if it stands up to a second reading years later. I know I like JMR better than Jordan but he was hit and miss too- "Conan and the Amazon"

Lagomorph Rex said...

I think Conan the Rebel would have been much better if it had been more about Conan and Belit raiding the Stygian Merchant fleet. Rather than a cockamamie quest across Stygia.. which if I remember right involved a flying boat.. very Thongor to be honest...

I've not actually read any of JMR's Conan stories yet. I've read his King of the Wood book, and thought it was fine until it got to the Mongols invading Alaska and using Samurai against Aztec warriors.. just.. too weird.. I've got his other fantasy series as well.. but have yet to read them.

But I understand his are some of the best ones, It's part of why I'm planning to go back and read Conan the Bold before jumping back into the William Galen Grey Chronology.