Monday, February 28, 2011

16. Tor Conan #9, Conan the Fearless by Steve Perry, part 1

I'm afraid I must apologize for having not updated this blog in quite some time. After slogging through the two Robert Jordan volumes, on top of a miserable Leonard Carpenter volume.. I felt I simply wasn't ready to tackle another Steve Perry penned tome. I'm sure you can all understand. I've begun to feel this series would have done really well to have a volume titled "Conan:.. oh for Crom's sake not another bloody sorcerer"

I'm not making any promises that I will ever reach the levels of semi-frequency that I once had, the joy of this project fled some time ago when it began to dawn on me just how bad some of these books really are. I'd tried to go back and read Conan the Bold, but something about that felt like cheating, since it isn't part of William Galen Grey's chronology, I should leave it till the end, same as the two movie adaptions.

So, without further ado...

Prologue and Chapters 1-4
As with every Steve Perry volume so far, this one begins with a prologue about a magus of some sort. This one happens to be named Sovartus, and like any good dark mage he is in the process of summoning up a Demonic entity to do his bidding. In this case it's hunting down the 4th of 4 children who represent the 4 elemental powers. He has Fire, wind and water in his possesion already, but Earth balks him. The Demon sets out to remedy this, no matter who gets in his way.

When we last saw Conan he was riding westwards away from Shadizar, Not knowing what would befall him on his way. So far this is the first time he has explicitly headed west into the more civilized lands of the Hyborian age, having previously only gone towards the exotic east. As this story opens he is currently drudging his way through the Karpash Mountains, last seen way back in the last Steve Perry story right before his apparent teleportation some hundreds of miles south and east to Arenjun. After the long ride from Shadizar, Conan seeks a place to sup and perhaps a cup of wine to wash the dust from his throat. As he passes through a town he inquires of a youth if he knows of a stable where his horse can be tended, the boy of 10 is persuaded to give the information by dint of a gold coin.

The Youth takes his horse to the stables and Conan goes into the Inn, he orders a meal and rents a room, with a bolt on the door, and sets too refreshing himself. His relaxation is short lived as not long after midnight his door is burst in by three men who aim to relieve him of his apparent wealth. This, is the worst mistake of their lives, but one they won't live long enough to regret. The Following morning he meets a Merchant who is also headed west, through Corinthia to Nemedia. Conan declines his company along the road, but agrees the two may meet again.

This Merchant however is not what he seems, for he is actually the willing servant of a sorceress. At least the author is consistent. We know not what her plans are as of yet, but she is not amused by the name Conan of Cimmeria when her servant mentions it, She dispatches a summoned beast to dispose of the Cimmerian before he can cause her problems as he has caused for so many others of her ilk.

Conan meanwhile has reached the Corinthian City of Mornstadinos and is currently once more relaxing in an inn. He makes friends with a rather lackluster street magician, but one who has a sharp whit to amuse the barbarian with. Unfortunately for the barbarian, there is a small girl watching one of Vitarius the magicians performances when the Demon summoned in the prologue appears. He has found the child he seeks and makes to take her back to his master. Conan however has other plans, and steps up to fend off the hellbeast lest he make off with the child. Thief though he be, he has no truck with hellspawn.