The following day the Cimmerian heads inland to arrange the rescue of the kidnapped girl. He buys horses and equipment from some Hyrkanian nomads, and also takes some time to learn some skill with the bow. After spending some hours in the nomads camp he departs with the gear he needed and sets off to the fortress.
After waiting till dark Conan raids the keep, after scaling the walls he makes his way deep into the inner sanctum. Upon the way he dispatches many of the saffron robed cultists. Finally making it into the main sacrificial chamber he fights the cult leader one on one. The fight is a close one, but Conan triumphs and learns where to find the girl who he came to rescue.
Deeper into the keep he goes, into the chamber the girl was hidden in. Finding her unharmed Conan bundles her up and makes good their escape back to the ship and from there back to Agraphur.
Yup, this is the first of the Tor's thats only gotten four entries. It barely needed four, and I probably should have just put up three. Perhaps even should have been titled Conan the Uninteresting. Absolutely nothing happened in this book of any serious consequence. Conan rescues a girl from kidnappers, she gets kidnapped again, Conan rescues her again, she gets kidnapped again, Conan rescues her again and defeats the Cultists who keep kidnapping her. It felt as if it would have been a good story for maybe 100 pages.. but when blown up to 280 it just was too drawn out.
Where as the last reminded me of the best aspects of his later Wheel of Time series, this volume reminded me of the worst aspects of it. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the entire, and much derided Perrin/Faile segment from books 8-10 is just an exceptionally blown up version of this novel. I'd felt several times that Perrin Aybara had many similarities to Conan. For just one example. He is a broad shouldered, shaggy maned apprentice Blacksmith. He speaks frankly, dosen't open his mouth until he has thought things through. Shows both great melancholies and great mirth. This isn't to say he's an exact analog, but imagine if Conan had been a Hobbit.. and you pretty much can imagine Perrin.
This is the complete opposite end of the Robert Jordan spectrum from the previous book. It more or less was just a novel that positioned Conan so that he could "Learn the bow among the Hyrkanians" as he mentioned in Queen of the Black Coast.
Up Next: "The Hand of Nergal"