OK, so we’ve all heard of Conan, Robert E. Howard’s most popular creation who strides the earth in search of loot, women, adventure and a kingdom to call his own and we’re yawning with Tolkien (thank you very much Mr. Jackson). So what about all the other heroes? Less sung about around the camp-fire in orc-country, but still worth a verse or two in any saga. So gather ye round the hearth, top up those mead-horns and harken unto my words!
Kane The Mystic Swordsman – My absolute favourite of the lot. Written by the late psychiatrist Dr. Karl Edward Wagner, Kane is the very antithesis of Conan. He is an intellectual, demon-raising sorceror with the body of two-Conans and a sword arm capable of cleaving ogres. Cursed with immortality by a mad god for commmitting fratricide, this first man wonders the earth with an unquenchable lust for power. His dark and frequently disturbing adventures are chronicled in a bare handful of books before the author died- tragically and prematurely ending a great career.
Raven: Sword-Mistress of Chaos – Written by Robert Holdstock under the psuedonym Richard Kirk in collaboration with Angus Wells. The protagonnist is an unbelievably deadly alpha-female warrior. Very tongue-in-cheek, saucy and a bit camp too.
Thongor of Lemuria – Lin Carter’s muscle-bound hero with a glorously riduculous name. Not as bad as you might think and well worth scouring the charity shops.
Obtaining these books outside of the UK or the USA can also be something of an an epic quest as they have been out of print for years.
Good fortune in seeking these ancient treasured tomes adventurer!