The Hour of the Dragon - Robert E. Howard The only Conan novel written by Howard, The Hour of the Dragon delivers everything a fan of the Cimmerian would want - beautiful women needing rescue, several evil wizards to defeat, and a well-paced adventure that has Conan striving to recover the Aquilonian throne and thwart the efforts of Xaltotun to restore the empire of Acheron. This is the umpteenth time I've read the novel since acquiring this Sci-Fi Book Club edition almost 30 years ago and it's still great fun.

I like to believe the following reflects a certain emotional maturation on my part but at this point in my life I can't help but wish some author would write a Conan novel (or short) from his victims' point of view. After all, all of our "knowledge" about Conan comes from him. Reflect - the kozaki and Zuagir didn't just ride around waving swords and yelling. They descended on defenseless villages, killing men, raping women and leading off captives to be sold as slaves. And Conan led them. And just how "willing" were all those women who shared his bedrolls?

Maybe that's why all my favorite Conan stories nowadays either have a strong female foil ("Red Nails"), no female at all ("Beyond the Black River") or Conan doesn't get the girl ("People of the Black Circle" or "A Witch Shall Be Born").