Tuesday, August 30, 2011

CONAN THE BARBARIAN by Michael A. Stackpole

Publisher: Berkley
Date published: July, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-425-24206-3
Fantasy/Movie Tie-In
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Lynne
Obtained via publisher.

Conan is a Cimmerian, a barbarian, born on a battlefield. The son of a blacksmith named Corin, he is taught not only how to forge a blade, but to wield one as well, with courage and skill. A Cimmerian warrior, Conan learns he needs little else.

A cruel warlord, Khalar Zym, in search of all the pieces needed to reconstruct the Mask of Acheron, an enchanted mask said to have the ability to make a man a god, seeks out Corin, whom he believes is hiding one of the pieces.

When Corin and his entire village are slaughtered by Zym after the piece is retrieved, only Conan is left. Cast out into the merciless world, the boy seeks out his grandfather, Connacht, who continues his combat training as a warrior. Intent on learning all he can, Conan has only one goal in mind - to avenge his father and to retrieve what belongs to him, from Khalar Zym.

Conan matures into a skilled, physically powerful force to be reckoned with, a man of cunning, strength, and speed. Knowing his destiny lies beyond the Cimmerian mountains, he ventures into a merciless world, using every ounce of strength and courage he possesses in order to survive, enduring hardship and bloodshed along the way.

When he encounters Tamara, whose blood holds the key to unlocking the magic of the Mask of Acheron, Conan makes it his mission to protect her from Khalar Zym and his evil daughter, Marique, who intend to use Tamara’s blood to carry out their evil plans.

When Conan finally confronts the evil against him, he is quick to fulfill his mission and rescue the woman he loves, through any means possible.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN by Michael A. Stackpole is a great tribute to Conan’s original creator, Robert E. Howard. And it is easy to see why Stackpole is an award-winning writer. This book is phenomenal. It has everything one would want in a fantasy. Adventure, romance and excitement. Not to mention pirates and thieves.

Stackpole is an incredibly gifted writer. His use of narrative and description in CONAN THE BARBARIAN is exceptional. Vivid images of the swordplay of CONAN THE BARBARIAN is all one would expect from a book of this caliber. When a reader picks up a CONAN book, he fully expects to get a lot of sword fighting, strange beasts, and evil people trying to do Conan in. Well, one is not to be disappointed. This book has all that and more.

I especially enjoyed learning of Conan’s early life, of how he learned to master the use of a sword. Of what he had to suffer in order to become as tough as nails, a hardened warrior who few have ever bested once he matures. You actually feel his pain and thrill with his undaunted determination to become the skilled Cimmerian warrior his father knew he would become. With every battle against the enemy or fierce creatures of darkness, you find yourself cheering Conan on. You relish his great strength as he takes down men that others would have difficulty with.

The fact that Conan has a love interest in Tamara, shows us a caring side to this barbarian, who will do whatever it takes to rescue her from the clutches of Khalar Zym and his evil cohorts.

Yes, CONAN THE BARBARIAN is a book worth reading, if you are a fan, as I have been for many years. If you enjoy fantasy, adventure, the struggle of humanity against the forces of evil, then this is a book anyone would enjoy. There is no end to the suspense or action-packed plots that Stackpole has weaved throughout this tale. He is so skillful at his craft, everything flows smoothly, and you just want to keep turning the pages to see what happens next.

As a movie tie-in novel, it makes one easily want to see this story on the big screen. CONAN THE BARBARIAN is the kind of hero that generates excitement and makes women swoon over all those muscles and gorgeous physique.

If you are looking for a little escapism, then CONAN THE BARBARIAN by Michael A. Stackpole would certainly be the book to read.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

1 comment:

Romantic Heretic said...

Stackpole has long been a favorite author of mine. The books he wrote for the BattleTech™ series were awesome.