The bloodthirsty barbarian hero Conan the Cimmerian was created by Robert E. Howard in 17 stories written between 1932 and his suicide at age 30 in 1936. This influential saga of swords and sorcery has been rearranged and extended by other authors and Robert Jordan--now famous in fantasy for his Wheel of Time sequence--wrote seven new Conan novels in the early 1980s. The Conan Chronicles is an omnibus of the first three: Conan the Invincible, Conan the Defender and Conan the Unconquered. Though perhaps lacking that touch of inspired madness that shone through Howard's clumsy writing and made Conan immortal, these are competent, full-blooded fantasy thrillers. Conan clashes with typical Howard foes, such as Amanar the Necromancer, servant of that snaky god-demon the Eater of Souls; Albanus the intending royal usurper, who has assembled an armoury of magic weapons to take a throne which Conan finds himself defending; and Jhandar the chaos mage of the Cult of Doom, who unwisely decides to eliminate Conan as an obstacle to his planned empire. Throughout there are lashings of swordplay, blood, loot, sex, human sacrifice, supernatural nasties and battles against impossible odds. Conan always ends up footloose, underfunded and ready for fresh exploits. As in soap opera, the charm of sword-and-sorcery fantasy is that the adventures go on forever. --David Langford.