Crossing the mountains north of Venjipoor and then walking westwards. They then take a boat up the Ilbars river to Agraphur. After many days they finally arrive and are quickly whisked off to be cleaned up. It's only a matter of hours before they are supposed to meet King Yildiz. After being cleaned up and dressed in new uniforms they are set on horses and paraded through town towards the palace. On the steps outside they meet with Yildiz and Conan receives his medal, in appreciation for his service to the empire, he is now officially a Hero of Turan.
The following evening Conan is present at a feast hosted by Yildiz. The Monarch fawns over his new Hero, much to the displeasure of the nobles and hereditary officers. While the days of revelry follow, Conan sets out to uncover the people who have been plotting against him. After some detective work he feels he has a good idea of whats going on, and plans to reveal the plot during his medal ceremony. Feeling it his obligation to warn the King. During the the ceremony the king himself, along with many senior nobles and generals are attacked. It's a rapidly growing carnivorous vine, secreted in on one of the mercenaries cloaks. It's courtesy of Mojorna.
Conan and Juma fight and defeat the vine, This time directly saving King Yildiz's life. But not sparing any effort to save the lives of the men behind the plot. Afterwords he explains to Yildiz why he didn't save them, how they were causing scores of Turanian soldiers to be killed in Venjipoor due to their poor planning. Following this, the King offers to rectify this situation however Conan feels it should be done, and imparts the Captain to return to Venjipoor and take charge.
Weeks later, once Conan is back in Venjipoor. He comes to learn that Mojurna died when the plant beast was slain. And that the girl who he rescued is now the new high shaman. The two come to an understanding, but also realize they can never be friends anymore. Conan begins to shutdown the military machine in Venjipoor, Turan is big enough already not to be greedy. And with that the story ends.
Locations, Turan, Hyrkania, Venjipoor
Towns, Agraphur, Venjipoor
Characters: Conan, Juma, Yildiz, Mojurina the shaman. Sarimya
Languages Spoken: Cimmerian, Aesir, Hyperborean, Brythunian, Zamorian, Kothic, Turanian, Shemitish, Corinthian, Hyrkanian, Nemedian, Vhendyan, Kushite.
Not a bad book at all, Out of the three Carpenter's I've read so far this is the best. It's a tad bit anachronistic at first since it really does feel like a Vietnam story. The other story it reminded me of a lot, is Sharpe's Regiment by Bernard Cornwell. In so far as Conan has performed a miraculous battlefield feat (Being the only survivor of Yaralet, but still managing to win out for Turan) and has become a semi-obsession with the totally out of touch monarch for whom he's fighting, and the story ends with Conan uncovering a military conspiracy and the Monarch giving him what he wants. Conan and Juma even have a relationship very similar to Sharpe and Harper. The Sharpe's book has exactly the same story, except Sharpe and Harper captured an Eagle at Talavara after having most of their men killed, and then Sharpe is doted over by Prince George III, Solves a military conspiracy and the Monarch gives him what he wants.
Conan's rank is the real factor that helps determine where this book should be placed, He starts the book out as a Sgt. and ends it as Captain. This causes some problems chronologically speaking, and means that though The people of the Summit is the next one in the list, it can't actually be the next story chronologically. But thats a discussion for next time.
It's also got a bit of tricky geography involved. In order for Conan to get back to Agraphur, he travels north through Venjipoor, westwards over the Colchian Mountains north of Iranistan and then takes a boat up the Ilbars river to Agraphur. That means Venjipoor has to be one of the "Golden Kingdoms".. An unfortunate name if there ever was one, considering Vietnam's place in the "Golden Triangle" of the Heroin Trade. Though they also mention Lotus farmers, and people besotted by Lotus. So even though Venjipoor doesn’t show up on many maps.. I think thats the best place for it.