When I was ten years old I stumbled across the Lancer edition of this book,their edition of Howard's "The Hour of the Dragon," which actually ran as a serial in "Weird Tales" in the 1930s (none of REH's work was actually published as a novel during his lifetime, with the possible exception of "Almuric," which I can't remember for certain but it may have been). At that age I probably had no business reading it, but I made my first purchase ever of a book when I bought it. Amazingly, even though that was over thirty-five years ago, I still own the book.
The book is fast-paced, action packed, and carries the eerie atmopshere that so many Howard stories do (what is it about authors who shoot themselves that seems to tie them so closely to great story-telling?). Conna faces insurmountable odds in losing his kingdom, and naturally, he eventually overcomes them. The fun of the tale is in following his adventures as he travels the world to find the means to defeat his enemies.
Obviously, Howard isn't everyone's cup of tea. There is an air of fatality and finality looming over all of his best works, including this one. Despite Conan's ultimate victory, you almost sense that Howard knew, and by extension Conan knew, that all victories are short lived and would soon pass.
Regardless, if you have an interest in sword and sorcery, this is must reading and probably a good starting point for people new to the genre. Howard is essentially the father of the genre and is still the best in that area in my opinion.
Just looking at a lot of the deriviative junk that has grown around the whole Conan mythos, you really have to wish that Howard had lived longer and continued to write more about Conan, although at the time of his death, Howard was moving away from the genre to what he considered better paying markets.
I give it five stars because it is in many ways the peak of Howard's writing. And thirty-five years later, I still occassionally pick it up and re-read it, which may say a lot about how well-written it is, since I long ago left fantasy reading behind me.