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The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian by Robert E. Howard
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The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian

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The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian by Robert E. Howard
Dec 02, 2003 | ISBN 9780345469953

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    Dec 02, 2003 | ISBN 9780345461513

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“Howard’s writing seems so highly charged that it nearly gives off sparks.”—Stephen King

“I adore these books. Howard had a gritty, vibrant style–broadsword writing that cut its way to the heart, with heroes who are truly larger than life. I heartily recommend them to anyone who loves fantasy.”—David Gemmell, author of Legend and White Wolf

“The voice of Robert E. Howard still resonates after decades with readers– equal parts ringing steel, thunderous horse hooves, and spattered blood. Far from being a stereotype, his creation of Conan is the high heroic adventurer. His raw muscle and sinews, boiling temper, and lusty
laughs are the gauge by which all modern heroes must be measured.”—Eric Nyulnd, author of Halo: The Fall of Reach and Signal to Noise

“That teller of marvelous tales, Robert Howard, did indeed create a giant [Conan] in whose shadow other ‘hero tales’ must stand.”–John Jakes, New York Times bestselling author of the North and South trilogy

“For stark, living fear . . . What other writer is even in the running with Robert E. Howard?”—H. P. Lovecraft

Author Essay

The Coming of Conan and The Savage Tales of Soloman Kane: Del Rey Executive Editor Steve Saffel relates his fascination with Robert E. Howard.

Back in the early ’70s, when books were still printed on paper and there weren’t ten thousand new fantasy novels coming out every month, I first encountered Conan the Barbarian. Like many, I first read the groundbreaking Marvel Comic by Roy Thomas and Barry Smith, and from there I journeyed to the original Robert E. Howard stories published in paperback by Lancer Books. I still have those books, though the glue has disintegrated, leaving the covers loose from the spine.

Howard took me to incredible lands, from the savage jungles of the Pictish Wilderness to the frozen peaks of Cimmeria to the deadly deserts of Turan. Across these lands strode Conan, "black haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth." (Today, as I write this, it all sounds so grandiose, but there’s no other way I can think of to express the excitement those books inspired. There were exotic women, bloody swordfights, bizarre creatures, and foes wrapped in pure evil. As a reader, I was hopelessly mesmerized.)

Over the years, many of the pulp writers have become dated. Their writing has ceased to excite. Sometimes, you can’t look back. Not so with Robert E. Howard. This is a man who, if we can believe the movie The Whole Wide World, stood over his typewriter roaring out the story as he struck at the keys. And time hasn’t dulled the impact–the swords are still as sharp, the women every bit as sexy, and Conan is … well, Conan!
Many have tried to duplicate his work, and some have come close, but still there’s only one Robert E. Howard. So once again I’m at a loss for words–as I try to explain how excited I am to be able to bring Howard’s original works back into print in the United States. We’re publishing affordable trade paperback editions of the brilliantly illustrated Wandering Star limited editions produced in Britain, with breathtaking artwork by Mark Schultz and Gary Gianni. Each edition is thick with black-and-white illustrations, and the text is pure Howard. No collaborations, no pastiches–just the real thing.

So you won’t miss a single book, here’s the schedule:

*The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian (December 2003) – illustrated by Mark Shultz
*The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane (Summer 2004) – illustrated by Gary Gianni
*The Bloody Crown of Conan (Fall 2004) – illustrated by Gary Gianni
*Bran Mak Morn: The Last King (May 2005) – illustrated by Gary Gianni
*The Conquering Sword of Conan (Fall 2006) – illustrated by Greg Manchess

Certainly Conan is in the midst of a full-blown renaissance, with new material generating tremendous excitement over at Dark Horse Comics, as well (yes, we’ve come full circle). And he’s joined by Howard’s other great heroes. Solomon Kane, the dark-cloaked Puritan swashbuckler, and Bran Mak Morn, king of the savage Picts, have both inspired readers for decades. Their adventures have become legendary in their own right.
The Del Rey books will feature the original stories, the fragments, the proposals–much of this material available for the first time in decades, some of it appearing for the first time ever! There will be tales produced from Howard’s original manuscripts, others will be reproduced exactly as they appeared in the classic magazine Weird Tales. For an editor like me, it’s a dream come true, and for you, the reader, I think it will be the same.

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