Conan: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Savage Barbarian
Review by: Thulsa (). "Conan: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Savage Barbarian" (ISBN 0756620953), author Roy Thomas, published by DK Publishing 2006. 160 pages, hardcover, full color, illustrated.
This will be a short review, but even so, let's jump to conclusions: Buy. This. Book. Now!
The book claims to be "a dream come true" for existing Conan fans, and "the ideal introduction to a world of fantastic adventure" for newcomers to the Hyborian Age. I fully agree with these claims.
The book is heavily illustrated with hundreds of pictures from diverse sources, including the old Marvel comics, the new Dark Horse comics, maps from the Conan RPG by Mongoose, the upcoming Red Nails animated movie, art from the upcoming Conan computer game by Funcom, as well as the classic paintings by Frank Frazetta and others. As well as showing off the varied artistic interpretations of Conan and his world, this also makes sure there is something for everyone here. Even someone who is not interested in the text cannot fail to be impressed by this excellent collection of sword and sorcery artwork.
This is basically the ultimate "coffee-table book" for Conan fans. Written by the great storyteller Roy Thomas, it provides a summary of Conan's life, his enemies, allies and women, as well as the people and places of the Hyborian Age. Where relevant, Thomas has taken care to note what material is considered "other legends" (meaning pastiches).
To give you an idea of the completeness of this book, I am simply reproducing the table of contents below. Each bullet-point is typically given one or two pages in the book.
Needless to say, this is a perfect companion book to any roleplaying campaign set in the Hyborian Age.
Editing and Proofreading
The book is well laid-out with each story, location or person getting its own page, or a two-page spread in the case of important characters or places. I haven't spotted any spelling or grammatical errors in the actual book, although there were a few typos in the credits section, where Frank Frazetta is spelled "Fazetta", and copyright is spelled "csopyright". Those are very minor quibbles, of course.