Monday, June 27, 2011
23. Ace Conan #1.7 "The City of Skulls" by L. Sprague DeCamp and Lin Carter
Conan, back with the army, and is now marching in escort of King Yildiz's Daughter. Princess Zosara. They are taking her to wed her to the Khan of the Kuigar tribesmen in Eastern Hyrkania. He's not alone as he's got his good friend Juma of Kush to keep him company on the long walk. After many days of walking the group is attacked by a group of hillmen out of the Talakama Mountains.
All of the Turanians are killed except Juma, Zosara and Conan. Instead they are taken captive to the mysterious land of Meru, a lush valley surrounded by high mountains. They are taken to Shamballah the capital of Meru. The priests of Meru intend to sacrifice Zosara in an effort to bring back their god, Yama. Juma and Conan attempt to escape but fail. In response they are sentences to a life of slavery chained to an oar in a galley.
Both Conan and Juma have tasted the lash and the bitterness of slavery before, and they vow to escape and rescue Zosara. After some adventures shipboard they make good their design and set off into the city to find the girl. They cut a red swath through the preists and guards of the city and palace, eventually finding their way to the girl. They rescue her and make their way out of the city as fast as they can.
Nearly a month passes before they finally make their way into the Khan's camp and deliver the girl to her betrothed. Little is he aware though that his heir is already on its way courtesy of the Cimmerian. The two adventurers then turn their horses westward and set off back to Turan, loaded with gold and gifts.
Review ~ this is probably one of my preferred Lin Sprague DeCarter stories. I've always liked the character of Juma and was sorry that more wasn't done with him. It dosen't measure up to the fun of the previous, Lin Carter completed, REH story. And certainly dosen't measure up to Rogues in the House.. but it's a decent enough way to end the first volume of the Ace Series.
Up Next, Conan the Hero by Leonard Carpenter.