Tuesday, August 21, 2012

40. Ace Conan #2.5, Queen of the Black Coast, part 2, By Robert E. Howard

The finale of Queen of the Black coast picks up some time after the events of Conan the Rebel, many other adventures have unfurled off page in the time which Conan has been with Belit, he's now about 25.

Belit issues orders for her crew to set sail up a nameless river somewhere in the regions south of Kush, before long they find themselves in a dense jungle and come upon a ruined and forgotten city. Belit finds a necklace which induces madness and she and the crew are all soon killed by a winged monster which guards the city.  Conan, riven with grief sets out to destroy the monster, and is on the verge of being killed when the ghost of Belit intervenes and gives him strength. Conan afterwords burns Belits body and the ship. Conan, grief stricken, with his future unknown and dubious chances of survival, sets off alone into the forbidding jungle.

"Queen of the Black Coast" is, in my opinion, one of the best Conan stories which REH wrote.. following very closely on the heals of "Tower of the Elephant" in my rankings. It is a powerful story and does a great deal to advance and build upon Conan as a character. Gone is all pretense of a callow youth out only for adventure and material gain, present is a man seasoned by many battles and great personal loss. Though there have been many women in Conan's life by the time this story takes place, none of them had been as important to him as Belit, nor would any of them be missed in the same way as her.

This will likely be my last update for a while as classes started yesterday and I will be needing to get a handle on them before I continue any of my own personal projects.

Up Next, Conan at the Demon's Gate by Roland Green. Which based on the description on the back, I am decidedly not looking forward to.


1 comment:

David J. West said...

I haven't read At the Demon's Gate, I'll read it nextish too.