Thursday, August 16, 2012

37. Tor Conan #23, Conan the Guardian by Roland J. Green

This story picks up more or less where the last left off, Conan and his free companions are now in Argos after having barely escaped the fall out of the political power struggle in Ophir. The Argossians are not particularly interested in allowing a group of free-lances into their country, and it requires hefty "tolls" in order to get the gears of Argossian bureaucracy turning.  Eventually, following a tussle with a river monster, Conan manages to get his companions into Argos, and gets them gainful employment.

However, it isn't long until Conan yet again finds himself embroiled in a local power struggle, and has to continually dodge the officious bureaucrats of Argos who wish nothing more than to expel him and his companions. After several weeks spent searching for the cause of the disturbances surrounding his employer, Conan succeeds in alleviating the problem. For his efforts he is made a citizen of Argos, and retroactively made a member of the elite Guardians of Argos.. before just as swiftly losing his status as a Guardian, all through the effects of bureaucratic paperwork.

He opts to stay in Argos while some of his companions chose to continue onwards to other locations, but it's unlikely he will be here long with the judicial system seemingly constantly out to get him, it's only a matter of time before a misunderstanding finally compels him to leave.

This wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't great either. Roland J. Green seems to turn in that sort of book consistently, neither bad nor good, but simply existing. As the finale of the series depicting Conan's journey southwards, I felt it did it's job adequately, but I was disappointed that the writer didn't attempt to link the story closer to the one which follows it, "Queen of the Black Coast". I presume that, they simply didn't want to make it to concrete in case there was ever the option of adding another story in between.

Up next is, at least part of a Robert E. Howard story, perhaps one of the most important Conan stories, Queen of the Black Coast.


David J. West said...

I think I read this one, but am at an absolute loss to remember anything and your review (nothing against your review) doesn't make me want to reread it.

The bureaucracy in a Conan tale, even a pastiche, has me going what? what?

Lagomorph Rex said...

well I wouldn't really recommend you reading it.. Essentially Argos is apparently like a paperwork hell with extremely tough laws which are rigorously enforced... Since the only real description of the place comes from the fact Conan left it in a hurry since he refused to betray a friend to the authorities..

I'm not sure how well it really works.. Honestly the book was just kinda dull.