❮Epub❯ ➚ The Hour of the Dragon Author Robert E. Howard – Golanvideoagency.info
the hour of the Dragon has comeAfter reading one of Howard s shortstory collections I discovered he d also written a full length Conan novel The one and only originally written in five parts for the magazine Weird Tales under the title The Hour of the Dragon, then eventually published as a book under a new title Apparently a publishing company looking to fit this novel in with a themed series of Conan stories decided that Conan the Conqueror was appropriate Personally, I like the original title better.In this lengthened tale Conan must escape an ancient sorcerer, track down and steal an artifact of great power and take back the throne of Aquilonia from the rightful heir, and his accomplices, who have usurped him and thrown his kingdom and people into ruin.This was a pleasure to read I enjoy Howard s poetic writing style and the exotic, yet familiar world in which Conan fights and thrives a world somewhere betweeen myth and our own ancient histories My only complaint is the end seemed a bit rushed After the very last line I expected something , but it was justover When you hear the name Conan, you may get an image probably of Arnold in fur trimmed underpantsbut that s not where I m going with this Conan isn t just an over muscled sword wielding barbarian He s intelligent, thoughtful, cunning and much humane and sympathetic than popular images, or just plain assumptions, might have you believe As you follow Conan through his many obstacles you discover a character who is hardened, but not without compassion True, he s mostly hacking his way through obstacles, escaping sorcerers, powers of darkness, and terrible creatures, but in between some of those moments you ll get a glimpse or two of the heart of Conan Behind those smoldering blue eyes lies a man of heart I think that s why I like these stories so much I ve mentioned Howard s writing, which I love, but without a character that has something than the ability to hack his enemies to pieces these stories wouldn t be quite so enjoyable Important to mention this does share some similaries with the short The Scarlet Citadel during the first few chapters of the book A lot of the details and some of the names where changed or replaced, but the basic concept is still there As far as this particular kindle editionNot Recommended There were so many spelling errors it started to become distracting Words ending in rn were spelled with an m Names were misspelled, so that I had to look them up for their correct spelling A couple I wasn t sure the correct word was being used in a sentence There s no way this saw an editor. Written In The S As A Serial For Weird Tales, The Famous Pulp Magazine, Hour Of The Dragon Is The Only Novel By Howard Featuring His Greatest Creation, Conan The Barbarian This Powerful Novel Of Violent Adventure Has Spawned Many Imitations In The Genre Over The Years, Including A Series Of Best Selling Paperbacks Which, In Imitation Of Howard, Continued The Adventures Of ConanConan Is At The Pinnacle Of His Career In This Story, Having Roamed The Imaginary Prehistoric World Of Hyborea And, With Native Cunning And Sheer Force, Fought His Way To The Throne Of Aquilonia He Is The Archetype Of The Invincible Warrior Tough, Fearless And Incredibly StrongAs The Novel Opens, King Conan Is Captured By The Magic Of The Evil Sorcerer Xaltotun, Whom Conan S Enemies Have Raised From The Dead, After Three Thousand Years, For The Express Purpose Of Removing Conan From The Throne Conan S Armies Are So Unprepared To Battle Xaltotun S Sorcery That They Are Routed On The Battlefield And Aquilonia Is Conquered Conan Is Secretly Released From Prison By A Slave Girl Who Loves Him, And He Fights His Way Out Of The Dungeon Catacombs To Freedom, Defeating A Giant Murderous Ape Who Blocks His Way In The Course Of His Escape, He Overhears A Secret Meeting And Learns That The Source Of Xaltotun S Power Is A Mysterious Jewel, The Heart Of Ahriman, Which Xaltotun S Allies Have Stolen From Him To Insure Their Control Over HimConan Resolves To Track The Jewel Across The Barbaric Landscape Of Hyboria, Destroy Xaltotun And Regain His Kingdom It is not alone the rebellious lords of Aquilonia and the armies of Nemedia which are arrayed against you, answered Hadrathus It is sorcery grisly black magic from the grim youth of the world An awful shape has risen out of the shades of the Past, and none can stand before it This is one of the best of Howard s Conan tales Its rich description and compelling pace took me into a re imagined Eastern Hemisphere of the past with warring empires and fantastic cities Conan, a barbarian who has clawed his way to becoming King of Aquilonia, is about to suffer his worst defeat Within a few pages of the start of this novel his realm is defeated and he is quietly caged and taken to a foreign land Howard s longest written piece is full of the language and prejudices that characterized pulp fiction of a hundred years ago If you can set that aside, there is an adventure that few authors have matched and many of subsequent generations have tried to copy I have set out below hopefully, not spoiling the yarn some selections of his style by topic The Dark Ages return My lord, it is ill to say, and I fain would say otherwise But the freedom of Aquilonia is at an end Nay, the freedom of the whole world may be at an end Age follows age in the history of the world, and now we enter an age of horror and slavery, as it was long ago Mission Life is dangerous, rumbled the king I won t go as king of Aquilonia, or even as a knight of Poitain, but as a wandering mercenary, as I rode in Zingara in the old days Oh, I have enemies enough south of the Alimane, in the lands and the waters of the south Many who won t know me as king of Aquilonia will remember me as Conan of the Barachan pirates, or Amra of the black corsairs But I have friends, too, and men who ll aid me for their own private reasons A faint reminiscent grin touched his lips Strange Religious Rituals and Practices But none knew certainly They only knew that when a follower of Asura died, the corpse went southward down the great river, in a black boat rowed by a giant slave, and neither boat nor corpse nor slave was ever seen again unless, indeed, certain dark tales were true, and it was always the same slave who rowed the boats southward Sorcery He felt that reality and stability were crumbling into an abyss of illusion and sorcery A wizard was understandable but this was diabolism beyond sanity Suspense At any moment they might return, find the narrower alley and come howling down it He felt hemmed in by those sheer, unscalable walls, desirous of escape, even if escape meant invading some unknown building The heavy bronze door was not locked It opened under his fingers and he peered through the crack He was looking into a great square chamber of massive black stone A torch smoldered in a niche in the wall The chamber was empty He glided through the lacquered door and closed it behind him His sandaled feet made no sound as he crossed the black marble floor A teak door stood partly open, and gliding through this, knife in hand, he came out into a great, dim, shadowy place whose lofty ceiling was only a hint of darkness high above him, toward which the black walls swept upward On all sides black arched doorways opened into the great still hall It was lit by curious bronze lamps that gave a dim weird light On the other side of the great hall a broad black marble stairway, without a railing, marched upward to lose itself in gloom, and above him on all sides dun galleries hung like black stone ledges Conan shivered he was in a temple of some Stygian god, if not Set himself, then someone only less grim Terror His one thought was to get out of the haunted chamber which had housed that beautiful, hideous, undead fiend for so many centuries His wanderings through those black, winding tunnels, were a sweating nightmare Behind him and about him he heard faint slitherings and glidings, and once the echo of that sweet, hellish laughter he had heard in the chamber of Akivasha He slashed ferociously at sounds and movements he heard or imagined he heard in the darkness near him, and once his sword cut through some yielding tenuous substance that might have been cobwebs He had a desperate feeling that he was being played with, lured deeper and deeper into ultimate night, before being set upon by demoniac talon and fang And through his fear ran the sickening revulsion of his discovery Strategic vision Servius shook his head Your staunchest supporters in the eastern and central provinces are dead, fled or imprisoned Gunderland is far to the north, Poitain far to the south The Bossonians have retired to their marches far to the west It would take weeks to gather and concentrate these forces, and before that could be done, each levy would be attacked separately by Amalric and destroyed The Barbarian in battle His one chance lay in hacking through before they could gather their wits But there were half a score of them, in full mail, hardbitten veterans of the border wars, in whom the instinct for battle could take the place of bemused wits Three of them were down before they realized that it was only one man who was attacking them, but even so their reaction was instantaneous The clangor of steel rose deafeningly, and sparks flew as Conan s sword crashed on basinet and hauberk He could see better than they, and in the dim light his swiftly moving figure was an uncertain mark Flailing swords cut empty air or glanced from his blade, and when he struck, it was with the fury and certainty of a hurricane Statesmanship from a barbarian Let others dream imperial dreams I but wish to hold what is mine I have no desire to rule an empire welded together by blood and fire It s one thing to seize a throne with the aid of its subjects and rule them with their consent It s another to subjugate a foreign realm and rule it by fear Cultural offense Aye, white men sell white men and white women, as it was in the feudal days In the palaces of Shem and of Turan they will live out the lives of slaves. From death to death The Heart of Ahriman came, riding on a river of human blood Blood feeds it, blood draws it Its power is greatest when there is blood on the hands that grasp it, when it is wrested by slaughter from its holder Wherever it gleams, blood is spilt and kingdoms totter, and the forc es of nature are put in turmoil Thutothmes of Khemi The Hour of The Dragon, by REH The Hour of the Dragon 1934 1936 , is Robert E Howard s only full length novel of Conan, the barbarian he popularized in short story form The text is available on line for free via the Gutenberg project, but there are reason s to track down a paperback I read the Berkley Putnam 1977 edition, which has splendid additions to the story comprehensive foreword and afterwords by Karl Wagner explain how the novel formed prior being serialized in Weird Tales a map of the Hyborian Age inspired by REH s own drawings is essential for the Hyborian ambiances interior illustrations are bonuses and cover art by Ken Kelly is stellar Hyborian Age As Wagner details, this book was REH s attempt to break into the UK market that demanded novels and were not agreeable to his proposals for a collection of his own stories REH presents Conan as King of Aquilonia Sorcery and treachery dethrone him, and Conan trots about much of Hyboria, either pursing or being challenged by those who have the magical Heart of Ahriman which we learn in the opening chapter This touring of the pre drowned Euro Afro Asia continent begs for a map The traveling adventure amplifies the Hyborian Age concept REH s Conan lived in rich pseudo historical land that enabled real ancient cultures to interact with mythical ones Each chapter has Conan and his enemies traversing Aquilonia, Nemeda, Argos, Stygia, and these roughly translates to central Europe and Northern Africa I m not sure if any othe rtale Missing Chapter Mystery A deal was accepted but the UK publisher went belly up, so REH worked with Weird Tales to publish the chapters in serial form As Wagner explains, there is a possibility that one chapter went missing 20 Wagner left the numbering of the chapters consistent with the numbering as printed in Weird Tales 20 is skipped the original manuscript sent to Denis Archer has 4,000 words Pawling Ness imprint has 75,000 words That edition never made it to press, but Weird Tales published the novel in serial formand it had only 71,000 words Regardless, the story seems consistent, so there is no obvious loss in plot Style REH did not change his writing style, so each chapter maintains a very pulpy feel Chapters are over saturated with conflicts to maintain a frenetic pace An over reliance on chance encounters detracts from the enjoyment, but it remains a fun read on the whole Written in the 1930 s, the tone has some racial and misogynistic aspects of the time Despite the use of the word negro, Conan appears as a champion friend to many and even freed many slaves Woman on the other hand were represented terribly the few featured are concubines who are cheer leaders of Conan requiring rescue Here are some examples Example 1 Concubine saves Conan and is glad to have him put a knife to her Walk beside me, Conan instructed her softly, passing his massive arm about her lithe waist You ve played me fair so far, and I m inclined to believe in you but I ve lived this long only because I ve trusted no one too far, man or woman So Now if you play me false you won t live to enjoy the jest She did not flinch at sight of the reddened poniard or the contact of his hard muscles about her supple body Cut me down without mercy if I play you false, she answered The very feel of your arm about me, even in menace, is as the fulfillment of a dream Example 2 Conan relishes in his obvious manliness All right, Conan muttered I ll trust you though, by Crom, the habits of a lifetime are not easily put aside Yet I wouldn t harm you now, if you brought all the swordsmen in Nemedia upon me But for you Tarascus s cursed ape would have come upon me in chains and unarmed Do as you wish, girl Kissing his hands, she sprang lithely up and ran down the corridor, to vanish through a heavy double door He glanced after her, wondering if he was a fool to trust her then he shrugged his mighty shoulders and pulled the satin hangings together, masking his refuge It was not strange that a passionate young beauty should be risking her life to aid him such things had happened often enough in his life Many women had looked on him with favor, in the days of his wanderings, and in the time of his kingship Example 3 Conan thanks the concubine who saves him by taking his sexual due A horse is hidden for you in a thicket beside the road that runs westward, a few hundred paces to the south of the fountain of Thrallos You know where it is Aye But what of you I had meant to take you with me A flood of joy lighted her beautiful face Then my cup of happiness is brimming But I will not hamper your escape Burdened with me you would fail Nay, do not fear for me They will never suspect that I aided you willingly Go What you have just said will glorify my life throughout the long years He caught her up in his iron arms, crushed her slim, vibrant figure to him and kissed her fiercely on eyes, cheeks, throat and lips, until she lay panting in his embrace gusty and tempestuous as a storm wind, even his love making was violent The over arching plot is engaging, as is Conan s adventures as he meets up with past friends foes allies of his pre King days The titular Dragon refers to the antagonist s standard there are many other bad guys, often associated with serpents Conan and his allies have Lion icons Conan is dethroned in the very beginning, and it is nigh impossible not to read on to see how he can win it back That said, the constant, intense adventure indicative of pulp fiction doesn t work well in a novel form There is a chaotic, accumulating silliness our wilderness bred , panther stalking hero trips in a curtain while attacking his major foe he routinely stumbles across key foes in random places, encounters that push any bounds of coincidence he is saved too often by random characters events there are too many evil dude explains his ways scenes every few pages he comes across new, crazy conflicts that would work well in short story form ghouls, vampires, etc The in your face misogyny and high frequency chance encounters saves is distracting.The Hour of The Dragon is good adventure and represents Conan and REH s Hyboria well The story is best when it focuses on the grand battles and weird descriptions of necromancy A map and context i.e from Wagner s essays make it enjoyable. In this final chronologically Conan story, Howard demonstrates why he was one of the best adventure writers of all time In the only novel he ever produced, Howard is able to maintain the blistering pace he is known for, while still weaving a complex and interesting tale The story is set during Conan s time as King of Aquilonia, which is a period in the hero s life often overlooked I m looking at you, Hollywood In act one, King Conan is defeated and the kindom is wrested from his grasp We follow the hero on his quest to defeat an ancient wizard and reclaim his crown Conan s travels take us through many kingdoms of hyboria, and show the depth of Howard s world building skill and imagination Undead wizards, priests of mad gods, exotic assasins, and of course giant snakes seek to thwart our hero, but the man who rose from his barbarous roots to claim the throne of the greatest kingdom in the west will not be denied This book is a must read for every adventure fantasy fan, and if like me you aspire to write fantasy adventure of your own, it will give you a high mark to strive for I ll leave you with a quote from the book which sums up why Conan is the greatest fantasy hero of all time His surcoat was gone, his armor splashed with blood and battered with strokes of sword, mace and ax He loomed gigantically against a background of blood and slaughter, like some grim pagan hero of mythology. I m reading an online version on Wikisource I think this is the original that was published as a serial in the pulps is a great Conan adventure that winds up showing us a lot of his previous life, so that makes it a lot of fun All the convenient elements got to me, though One or two in a short story are fine, but an entire novel was too much view spoiler Zenobia, must have been the best setup gal in all the western kingdoms to accomplish what she did so quickly easily hide spoiler I could read this many times three, so far and pick out some new facet each time F instance Howard touches several times on the theme that Conan s lone wolf nature is both strength and weakness He is dedicated to his kingdom, but is not committed to it he neither married nor produced an heir Upon his presumed death, the barons cannot rally around an heir and thus the center of the kingdom will not hold A foozle quest in this case the Heart of Ahriman is required to save the kingdom, but the need for it is strongly justified As in, the characters run down the list of alternatives and the reasons why they will not work The magic device really is the last resort And, unlike many imitators, the Heart is not now buried in a eldritch guarded labyrinthine tomb in some forgotten land He must chase after the merchant who bought it, and those who stole it from him view spoiler Though the story of how the Heart was plucked from the temple of Mitra is, in my mind, a pastiche story waiting to be written hide spoiler The problem with a lot of genre classics is that their ideas have been ripped off so often they end up reading like they re full of cliches even though they were the originators of those familiar tropes But when it comes to the best of the pulp writers there s an electric vibe that runs through them that doesn t fade Like the stories of Raymond Chandler or Lovecraft or even Poe, they re just very entertaining and fun.Conan stories vary in quality, but this one, the only full length novel, has everything you d want in a ridiculous over the top swords and sorcery epic Undead wizards, giant snakes, vampires who live in pyramids, brave but terrified harlots, and thundering through battles, sword drenched in blood, Conan the Barabarian risen to king and fighting to reclaim his throne Plus a little casual racism What could you want This won t convince anyone who finds this kind of thing juvenile and pointless that they re wrong if anything it will probably do the opposite , but for anyone who s ever been a 14 year old boy or still is this is a great read and its entertainment value has not diminished over the decades Spoiler there are no actual dragons in this story. With this book, Robert E Howard proved that he could maintain the skillful prose and pacing of his Conan short stories in a full length novel Wonderful passage They traversed a long, dark, vaulted corridor in which, Conan noticed uneasily, the skull on the staff glowed phosphorescently He felt a surge of unreasoning, wild animal panic that urged him to rip out his knife and slash right and left at these uncanny figures, to flee madly from this grim, dark temple But he held himself in check, fighting down the dim monstrous intuitions that rose in the back of his mind and peopled the gloom with shadowy shapes of horror and presently he barely stifled a sigh of relief as they filed through a great double valved door which was three times higher than a man, and emerged into the starlight. Some wicked dark sorcery in this one.