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Conan offers a raw, primal experience with incredible stories that rush at you with reckless abandon, even almost a century after Conan was first unleashed on Hyboria. The warrior’s battles and epic escapes from warlocks, monsters and shadows transcend mere pulp fiction and are timeless.
The two stories we take up here show this: The Phoenix on the Sword has Conan reaching his ultimate goal: king of Aquilonia. But he’s not ready for the civilized man’s warfare, with all the scheming and plotting. Give him a sword and a red-blooded enemy any day over vengeful politicians and serpent-tongued poets. A plot nearly succeeds in ending his reign as king…..and his life, but unexpected sorcery behind the scenes meets Conan head on, wrecking the political plot, and….almost his life. Only his desperation to survive and barbarian instincts save him yet again.
In The Scarlet Citadel, the story opens on Conan in absolute defeat surrounded by his enemies, but he will not yield. A wizard of untold evil, Tsotha, subdues him on the field of battle, rather than having Conan go down fighting. Trapped in the bowels of a lair of sheer terror, Conan fights his own superstitions and the dark to find his way out in a most improbable escape. More fantastical is his return to Aquilonia, having raised a small army to battle a force invading his land. The odds seem insurmountable, the fates of millions rest in his hands, but will Conan’s forces suffer the same fate as before? It’s a rousing finale and a showdown with Tsotha that will leave the barbarian wishing he had never heard of the Scarlet Citadel…..
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