Showing posts with label Conan the Valiant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Conan the Valiant. Show all posts

Sunday, July 31, 2011

27. Tor Conan #16, Conan the Valiant by Roland J. Green, part 5

At Fort Zheman, Sergeant Kemal has begun preparations for the coming attack, Bringing in all the civilians but not the live stock. The last thing they need are fevers and fluxes running rampant in the cramped quarters. They know that sometime in the next few days Eramius will throw the full weight of his Transformed at the fortress. Kemal has also sent runners to those officials he knows he can trust, hoping for reinforcements.

Never one to sit around and wait, Conan opts to take a group of men out and bring the fight to Eramius. Illyana and Rhaina go with him, along with the boy Bora who plans to lead them to the valley where he knows Eramius's alter to be. They follow a mountain stream further and further into ever winding valleys. After a good bit of traveling they finally draw near to the valley where Eramius is at. Conan and Rhaina creeping into a good position, draw their bows and let fly at the Transformed who are milling about.

They shoot a good number of them before Eramius reacts, they then flee back into the higher passes and hole up in a cave. He does his best to block the entrance, knowing they only have a matter of time before Eramius sends his minions to attack them. Using the time they have, Illyana beings to prepare a magical offense to be used against Eramius. As soon as night falls, they are attacked by the Transformed. Conan goes out, leaving Rhaina to shoot their remaining arrows. Illyana attacks with her full magical might.

Conan sneaks through Eramius's camp, eventually coming upon the mad sorcerer himself. He surprises the man, and quickly slices at him with his sword before the shock of it wears off. With Eramius dead, Conan heads back to the cave to collect the others. With the sorcerer gone, his foul creations cease living also. Conan, Rhaina, Illyana and Bora head back to the fort, and from there the original three companions set off back to Agraphur.

Review ~

For all the horrid things I've heard about Roland Green, this book was something of a surprise. It was easily better than all but one of Steve Perry's books. At least as good as two of the three Leonard Carpenter's I've read so far as well. But not as good as anything that Sean A. Moore or Robert Jordan wrote. It's perhaps only because my expectations were so low that it wasn't as bad as I feared. The story line more or less made complete sense, though it was rather annoying to have yet another evil sorcerer and yet another magical gewgaw. These things are clearly very standard in the Conan yarns produced by both Tor and Bantam/Ace.

I'd have preferred it have been just a political thriller, rather than involving magic. That aspect of the story was much more interesting.

Having now read my first Roland Green novel, this still leaves me with one of the more prolific Tor authors unread, John Maddox Roberts, but soon I'll be catching up with him.

Up Next, one of the more atrocious of the novels I've already read. Conan and the Spider-God by L. Sprague and Catherine DeCamp.

Friday, July 29, 2011

27. Tor Conan #16, Conan the Valiant by Roland J. Green, part 4

The following day, The Sorceress Illyana decides they need to take the refuges of Crimson Springs and head towards Fort Zheman. Now that she has stalled Eramius's plans, he will have to use brute force to achieve his goals. So they organize the villagers, and then the trio of Conan, Illyana and Rhaina set off to warn the fort of the impending arrival of the villagers.

The Camp's captain is not thrilled to hear about it. But he quickly is made to understand, at least in so far as if he dosen't do what Illyana wants Conan will pummel him. With reticence he gives them leave to prepare the fort. Over the next two days they slowly get things in order just as the first of the villagers begin to arrive. Conan wastes no time asserting his authority over the camp. He too is a captain, but is less concerned with debauchery and more with getting things into shape.

Meanwhile Eramius fumes over his setbacks. He takes it out on Achmai's men and on his Transformed. Cursing them all for their failure to secure the jewel for him. He sends them to destroy another village out of spite for his loss, and to gain more people which he can convert into the Transformed. He will need as much brute strength as he can get now that he no longer has the jewels.

Scouts at fort Zheman report in that they have spotted an army of demons marching towards the caravan train of refugees. They obviously plan to slaughter the helpless civilians. Conan and one of the bases sergeants organize a cavalry patrol and ride out to head off the horde of Transformed. It's a bloody battle, but after many hours of fighting they manage to get the villagers safely to the fort. Now they at least have a good wall between them and Eramius's forces.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

27. Tor Conan #16, Conan the Valiant by Roland J. Green, part 3

The group continue away from Achmai's Keep. Traveling quickly to avoid being followed. After several days of travel they stop in a village, well out of Achmai's territory. They find in the village a girl,"Possessed", by the power of one of the Jewels of Kuarag. Ilyana instructs Conan and Rainha to wait outside, only she has the magical aptitude to try and save the girl.

During the night, Eramius and his Transformed attack the village. Using sorcery and brute strength they quickly secure the second jewel. Conan's strength and cunning weren't enough to stand up against shear brute force. With both of the jewels, Eramius is now far more powerful. And even more difficult to defeat. All they can do is try. Illyana's Sorcery however was just enough.

She took the time to lay a trap on the second jewel. When Eramius placed it onto his staff, the magic took effect. It removed his ability to control not just the second, but also the first jewel as well. He suddenly finds himself far weaker than he had been before this night. His grip over the Transformed is steady for now, but who can say how long? And that Barbarian has managed to rouse the villagers into a show of defense.

Her magic may have proved to strong though, It's interactions with the jewels seems to have not only denied Eramius their use, but actually dissolved them. As Eramius bemoans the loss of one of the pre-eminent items in the magical demesne. Conan sets out to deal with Achmai's troops who are currently encircling the village waiting for the Transformed to do all the work for them. Using his skills as a soldier, and especially as an officer, he quickly has them fighting amongst themselves.

The night will soon be over, but the threat of Eramius remains to be dealt with. Conan heads back to the house where he and Raihna and Illyana are staying. He wants to know what the sorceress plans to do next.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

27. Tor Conan #16, Conan the Valiant by Roland J. Green, part 2

Before they can set forth, Conan and Rhaina must secure mounts. They go to the horse market and spend some time haggling over stringy mares and threadbare tack. They can't simply take official mounts, as that would arouse suspicions among those best left alone. After some time of haggling, the two set forth. They must first cross the ferry over the Shimak River.

Due to Rhaina's presence however, this doesn't go without incident. A particularly scrofulous Sargent decided to take a liking to her. He also took a dislike to the large man with her. Not realizing that this man was a Captain in the Turanian army, and Conan being under specific orders not to reveal that.. the misunderstanding quickly turns into an altercation. The Sargent is given a much needed bath when he is tossed into the Shimak to cool his heels.

Back in Bora's village in the Illbars, the boy is in conferance with the monk. Though he sent word north, nothing has returned to him from Agraphur. He fears that his warnings have been ignored, and wishes the boy to try and rouse the villages, if no one else will lead, Bora will have to. Meanwhile Eramius's is marching his Transformed to some further unholy task. They can do walk for days between meals, and he has much further for them to go yet.

After several more days of Travel, Rhaina, Illyana, and Conan make their way to the town of Gala. They rent a room in the local tavern, and set forth to seek out any additional information they can about the sorcerous happenings in the Illbars. As with most hill people though, the denizens of Gala prove to be tight lipped. After some persuasion, Illyana manages to find a lead for their investigation. She sets forth to put a glamour on Rhaina, and contrives for her and Conan to enter the service of a lord Achmai.

After walking to the gates of Achmai's keep, the twain are admitted and searched. Some hours pass, but both are eventually put into his service. So far, Illyanas plan is working. After nightfall, they find what they came for and then quickly beat an escape. Their purloining has not gone unnoticed and pursuit is hot on their heels as they make their way out of Achmai's keep.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

27. Tor Conan #16, Conan the Valiant by Roland J. Green, part 1.

In the Ilbars Mountains a Shepard boy, Bora, is watching an unusual ritual. The perpetrator of this is Eramius. He's currently using one of the jewels of Kurag to turn some unwitting person into one of The Transformed. A large, but slow witted collected of mutants. Perfect for doing the bidding of their sorcerous master. This explained the mysterious disappearance of so many from the neighboring tribes. Without waiting to see the end, Bora leaves to go and try and warn others.

His warnings go unheeded, after all, haven't they already been reported to King Yildiz's minister for the region? The man didn't think enough of them to do anything, so clearly there isn't anything that can be done. Having no alternative, he goes to talk to the priest of Mitra. A man not from his tribe, or even from the Ilbars. A man who came to convert the tribes, but not live among them. He is far more interested in the boys news and promises to send the information to his superiors in Agraphur.

Meanwhile, Captain Conan is training new recruits in the use of the Bow. No easy task, and as soon as the days work is done he heads to a local watering hole. It's proprietor is an old soldier himself, full of stories and a sympathetic ear for those still in the service. Before long however, one of the obnoxious Turanian hereditary officers saunters into the tavern. With him are a small handful of sycophants who almost immediately begin to cause trouble. Before the night is out, Conan has slain several of them and wounded the Turanian.

He goes back to his duties as captain, but is soon requested. He knew this was coming, but had hoped to avoid it. He is summoned to the residence of Lord Mishrak. King Yildiz's cheif of spies. A certain job has come up that they feel he can help them with. It's been two years since he broke the Cult of Doom, an action that lead to him joining the Turanian Military. In return they will make sure the problems with the Turanian lordling will go away. Conan is to escort the Rhaina, the assistant to the sorceress Illyana south to the Illbars, and from there search for clues as to what is going on there.