This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Conan and the Manhunters
Series: Conan the Barbarian
Authors: John Maddox Roberts
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
From Wikipedia.org & Me
Conan, imprisoned by a satrap named Torgat Khan, escapes and is reunited with a band of thieves he’s leading in the deserts southwest of Turan. Subsequently, the thieves plan on looting the Khan’s treasury, held in a vault beneath the newly built temple of the sinister cult of Ahriman, the priests of which hope to revive their ancient god. Persuaded that mystical aid will be needed to ensure success, Conan agrees on accepting the aid of a kind wizard named Volvolicus and his daughter, Layla. After stealing the Khan’s treasure, Conan is pursued by the Manhunters, a band of bounty hunters with specialized skills led by a captain even more powerful than Conan himself. Through his own skills, and those of his new allies, Conan thwarts his pursuers while preventing the resurrection of Ahriman.
In some ways this was better than I was expecting and in others it wasn’t as good. First the bad.
From the cover I was expecting Conan to fight some super duper evil monster thing. While there is a monster or two, they end up being on Conan’s side and are as much illusion as anything. Conan doesn’t fight any monsters like that. That was VERY disappointing.
The good is the cosmic horror side of things. Arhiman the evil is an entity of darkest evil, an old god and a tentacled horror. He was banished way back when from our plain of existence. A couple of his priests are trying to bring him back, but Conan’s first raid on the temple upsets things so that Ahriman won’t be brought back as a fully intelligent creature with all his memories. Instead, he’ll be a maddened maw of hunger, ready to devour the whole world. Fighting against that, how cool, eh?
I have to say, when Conan is fighting wizards is when he’s at his best. Mundane earthly problems are nice, but he really needs the “sorcery” for his sword to shine its brightest.