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What can I say about 800+ pages of pure Howard Conan goodness? Not much other than it's bloody fantastic. If you've never read the *original* Conan, you're in for an incomparable treat. Howard writes more vivid, passionate, thunderous action scenes than perhaps ANY other writer in history. "Howard's writing seems so highly charged with energy that it nearly gives off sparks!" writes Stephen King. King, no mean author himself, is absolutely true. Conan isn't the dumb, bull-headed barbarian portrayed in popular media. In fact, the very first story starts with him updating the royal library because he thinks some of it is out of date. Hardly the debut of the cartoon character most people think he is!

Fortunately, as I've said, there's over 800 pages for newcomers to realize how far off that image really is. If you're familiar with Conan, this is an excellent book to revisit an old legend. This is pure, 100% Howard Conan. No edits, no pastiches, no add-ons. Pure Howard. If you haven't read Howard's Conan, and you have a pulse, you owe yourself to read it! If you have read it, and are looking to get it again, it's now just waiting for you.

How does it compare to the Del Rey series of Conan books? First, the artwork in this book isn't quite as good, and there certainly isn't nearly as much of it. The general editing (like cathing speeling errrors) isn't as good as the Del Rey books, but it's not awful. The binding of the book (hardcover) is reasonable, but not Wandering Star, top-notch quality. But this book does offer the tremendous advantage of giving one ALL of the Conan stories in one handy volume, which makes it a great asset to any collection. Besides the Conan stories, it has a relatively complete Howard bibliography at the start, some quotes about Howard from a number of famous authors, numerous Conan fragments (unfinished stories) and an afterwords by Stephen Jones outlining Howard and Conan's lives. The afterword is decent summary of both, and it is quite fair and balanced.

So the bottom line is that if you want the new releases of pure Howard, you now have two choices: the three excellent books from Del Rey, that offer more content and artwork or this great single book that offers a bit fewer bells and whistles but comes in one single volume (for a cheaper price). The real bottom line is that it's pure Howard Conan, which means this is pure dynamite just waiting to explode when you pick it up and read it!
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on March 3, 2016
UPDATE: I noticed the description now claims "New complete edition (fixed missing chapters problem!!)" Cool. I deleted and downloaded a fresh copy of the book. It's still missing chapters four and five from the first story. Sigh.

I wish I had read the other one-star review before I purchased this book in Kindle format. The first story, The Phoenix on the Sword, is missing the last two of five chapters. I don't know if anything else is missing; I've been too annoyed to read the rest of the book.

And just for extra emphasis: This review is only for the Kindle version. I expect the physical version is fine.
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on October 17, 2011
It's hard to make adequate comment on a writer whose work created an entire genre and the larger creative industry that genre spawned. Conan the Barbarian means different things to different people, because the character exists in so many different versions ' the original Robert E. Howard stories; the de Camp and Carter pastiches that expanded on Howard's vision and popularity; the new generation of books that the original pastiches inspired; the Marvel comics that pushed sword-and-sorcery into the pop-culture mainstream; the Dark Horse comics that revitalized and revisualized the character; the 1982 film that first set Arnold Schwarzenegger on the path to pretending to be an actor. As a result, it's entirely possible to "know" Conan without really knowing the original stories in their original forms ' a problem that this weighty collection addresses nicely.

The Complete Chronicles pulls together all of the original Howard stories in their original forms (including those edited as a part of the Howard/de Camp/Carter paperback collections that cemented the character's popularity). Unlike previous multi-part Conan collections, this book anthologizes the stories in the order Howard wrote them, rather than in chronological order according to the character's history. This means a lot of jumping around through the different ages of the character (the first two Conan stories Howard published are actually two of the last Conan stories, both taking place when Conan is king of Aquilonia; the familiar thief, barbarian, slayer, et al came later). However, i prefer this arrangement because it shows off how Howard's own understanding of the character changed and grew over time, the narrative and the character becoming more and more complex.

Some of the Howard stories are better than others; some are more properly about the world than the character. (A surprise to a lot of people who read the Howard pieces for the first time is how often Conan appears only after other secondary characters have set the story up.) Many of the stories show their 30s pulp origins a little too strongly (most commonly with lines like " 'By the gods!" Conan ejaculated.'). But taken all in all, the Howard canon creates a haunting and memorable mythology that stands the test of time, and which can't help but make one wonder to what greater heights Robert E. Howard might have taken the character and the world of the Hyborian age if he'd had more time.
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on January 21, 2016
I ordered the kindle version. I start reading the first short story The Phoenix on the Sword. It stops at chapter 3 and I notice there's something wrong with the "ending". I look online and find out there is supposed to be a chapter 4 and 5. Why are they not part of this collection?
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on October 21, 2016
The collected stories about Conan the Barbarian. It's the Hyborian Age, swords and sorcery galore.

Quite enjoyable if you don't mind the old chauvinist attitudes. Wide-eyed story telling about god-like physiques and nubile babes. Here's harmless entertainment for the dreamers and the adolescents.

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on July 28, 2013
This is a great and affordable collection of the collected adventures of our favorite barbarian. While I still have and occasionally re-read the pocket book editions of the same stories with those great Frank Frazetta covers; it has been equally pleasurable to read the original texts, free of the editing done in the Frazetta pocketbooks. While the editors were talented writers in their own right; the stripped down versions of Howard's stories and novellas are better for the lack of editing... the occasional errors and all!
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on August 4, 2014
What is there to say? If you love Conan, it's all here. Every Conan tale that Robert E Howard wrote, as well as hand drawn maps of Hyborea and essays on their fictional history. Classily bound in faux leather and topping out at almost 1000 pages of naked slave girls and swordfights, this is truly an epic tome!
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on March 10, 2015
All of Howard's original Conan stories are here. Bought the hardcover. Cheap binding and feels a bit flimsy. So I also bought the paperback. As a huge Conan fan I prefer the 3 part Del Rey versions. If u want the most for your money I recommend the paperback version of this book.
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on January 23, 2013
I'm just short of giving this a five-star rating. The text is great, the printing is fine and, contrary to one of the other reviews here, the binding seems perfectly sturdy to me. The only small quibble I have is with the illustrations. There are a relatively small number of pencil sketches throughout the text, which is fine, but many of them are repeated again and again. It's a minor - minor - point, but it seems like such an odd choice. Most of the pictures are also completely generic and could be used in any S&S book. With all the hundreds of famous artists out there who have given the Conan characters their attention, it seems a bit weak to have the book illustrated in this fashion. But make no mistake; I like this book and am happy to own it!
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on March 10, 2016
Ugh, as others have stated the Kindle Version is all messed up, missing chapters and broken.
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