Conan the Barbarian

Contributed by: Kenneth Bearden, who writes: "I own every Conan novel and short story collection ever written. (...) A couple of years ago, I started reading Conan, in chronological order, from the beginning. (...) As I read, I've been keeping a timeline. I'll read a novel or short story, then update my chronology. Of course, this timeline is not complete as I have not yet read all near 100 books that have been published about Conan. But, the timeline is complete up to about Conan at age 23."

"Know, O Prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars. Thither came Conan, a reaver, a slayer, to tread on the jeweled thrones of the Earth beneath his sandaled feet." -- The Nemedian Chronicles

CONAN. Thief. Warrior. Barbarian. Mercenary. King. Truly, Conan is the most famous figure to come out of the Hyborian Age. Sired by Nial, borne of Maeve, Conan is a barbarian raised in the cold rocky clime of Cimmeria. His father, a blacksmith gifted with the secret of steel, and Conan’s grandfather, a southern clansman of mixed blood, trekked north, across the width of Cimmeria, in the wake of a vicious blood feud, settling with a clan in the mountainous north-western region.

Conan the Cimmerian

There, Conan is born. He is a warrior from birth. As Maeve fights the pains of labor, horsemen from neighboring Vanaheim attack the Cimmerian steading. Conan's first breath is taken on a battlefield. In five winters, Nial begins Conan's training with the sword, teaching his young son rudimentary tactics.

Conan The Barbarian -- Chapters 1-3

By L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter

Just as Conan sees 9 snows, Vanir raiders again make war against the Cimmerian villagers. Nial and Maeve are killed in the massacre. Conan is taken north, into Vanaheim, where he spends the rest of his childhood and his first adult years as a slave, working the wheel of the grain mill in the village of Thurdvang.

Conan grows into a youth of immense size and strength. A Hyrkanian Pitmaster passes through Thurdvang, promoting pit fights -— a favored spectator sport among the peoples of the north. Conan is caught in the Pitmaster's sight, who is always watchful for new recruits for his bloody games. This man, Toghrul, opens his purse to the Vanir slave master, and thus, Conan is sold.

Conan's next years take him across the northern lands of the Hyborian world, through Vanaheim and Asgard, across Hyperborea, and far east into Hyrkania. He becomes an undefeated pit fighter—because all pit fights are fought to the death. Word of the champion Conan spreads throughout Nordheim. Vanir and Aesir alike flock to the Cimmerian's fights, all eager to watch Conan down another foe.

One stormy night, Conan becomes a man with a noblewoman who has paid Toghrul to bed the champion. That very night, the Earth shakes. The ground cracks open, and Crom's shaking of the world allows Conan to break bars and win his freedom. The Cimmerian, who has not yet seen 15 snows, escapes south, finally returning home to Cimmeria.

But, Conan's return is short lived. Though his village is gone, Conan lives and hunts with his clansmen—clansmen from neighboring villages. During Conan's absence, Gundermen from northern Aquilonia push past Cimmeria's border, establishing a frontier post at Venarium. It is an attempt to colonize Cimmeria's southern marches.

For the first time in history, the warring, feuding tribesmen of Cimmeria band together as a great horde, sweeping out of the mountains with both sword and torch. Conan is a member of this howling, blood-mad force bent on repelling the invaders, and his blade is blooded in the engagement that has become forever known as the Sack of Venarium.

After the plunder of the Aquilonian outpost, Conan returns for a time to his clan, but all that he has seen in his young life burns wanderlust into his soul.

His first venture as a free man beyond the borders of his homeland takes him west into the wilderness of the Picts. It is not clear what happens to Conan on this sojourn, but he staggers back to Cimmeria, barely alive, falling into a near coma in the care of a Cimmerian family.

Conan The Bold

By John Maddox Roberts

Conan finds himself in Stygia, having journeyed across Hyboria, from Cimmeria to Aquilonia, into Ophir and south to Koth, finally through Shem to the banks of the river Styx.

He travels for a time, eventually turning north again toward his homeland. He drifts from place to place, staying for a time in some places, traveling on when he comes to others, finally coming to a point of rest in Pirogia, capital of Brythunia.

Conan The Hunter

By Sean A. Moore

Conan's young life is full of travel, and adventure takes him from eastern Brythunia, south through the Kezankian Mountain Range, into the deserts of Shem, before returning to Pirogia.

For as much of the world Conan has seen -— more than most people see in a lifetime —- the barbarian longs for a return to his native northern clime. He departs Brythunia to mingle among those of his clan, but the restless youth is attacked by adversity. He leaves Cimmeria yet again, this time trekking north, back into the cold lands known as Asgard.

Legions of the Dead

By Lin Carter and L. Sprague de Camp (contained in Conan The Swordsman)

Conan travels with a band of Aesir, raiding into Hyperboria. He is captured, chained, and taught the sting of the slavers' whip a second time. But, Conan has vowed to never again be slave to any man. He works late at night on a length of chain, which eventually breaks under Conan's fierce determination.

The Thing in the Crypt

By Lin Carter and L. Sprague de Camp (contained in Conan)

Conan The Barbarian -- Chapter 4

By L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter

A new, ancient broadsword in his hands, and the slave chain behind him forever, Conan finds himself in the Kezankian Mountains, running south.

Conan The Defiant

By Steve Perry

Conan stands at the desolate juncture, where the lands of Brythunia, Corintha, and Zamora come together.

Conan The Indomitable

By Steve Perry

Although not by choice, Conan fights his way out of a cavern complex beneath the Kezankians. Upon return to the surface, he resumes his trek into Zamora.

Conan The Free Lance

By Steve Perry

The mighty barbarian finally departs south, out of the Kezankians, although he will make many more treks into this dangerous set of mountains in the future.

Conan The Formidable

By Steve Perry

Conan's path takes him to the valley between the Kezankian and Karpash mountains. The trek south, on the road best traveled, leads him, finally, to the kingdom of Zamora.

Conan The Barbarian -- Chapters 5-17

By L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter

Conan's steps into Zamora take him first to the border town of Yazdir, then to the inner cities, finally to Shadizar the Wicked, where Conan learns of the Set Snake Cult and the murderer of his father and mother.

Conan the Thief

East, he rides, far across Zamora, past the Kezankian mountains, across the desert steppes, into Turan. At the shores of the Vilayet Sea, Conan finds the citadel of Thulsa Doom, High Priest of Set.

He returns to Shadizar for a time, then leaves for Arenjun, City of Thieves.

The Tower of the Elephant

By Robert E. Howard (contained in Conan)

Conan is still in Arenjun, just days later.

Conan And The Sorcerer

By Andrew J. Offutt

Prudently leaving Arenjun, after a skirmish with a man of the city watch, Conan travels to Shadizar, continuing the practice of his chosen trade as a thief.

Conan The Mercenary

By Andrew J. Offutt

The Cimmerian has traveled to Khauran for a time. He makes his way north, through the Desert of Shem, along the Road of Kings, returning to the Zamoran city of Shadizar.

Conan: The Sword of Skelos

By Andrew Offutt

Conan's adventure takes him south again, past Khauran, to the Shemite city-state of Zamboula.

He vows he will never return to the place -- even swearing never to admit he had even visited the city. He makes his way north again, returning over the Shem Desert, to Shadizar.

Conan The Destroyer

By Robert Jordan

At the behest of Princess Tamaris of Shadizar, Conan rides west, into the Karpash mountains, then back again to the Wicked City.

Conan The Magnificent

By Robert Jordan

Conan's adventure takes him north, into the Kezankian Mountains, and back to Shadizar.

Conan The Invincible

By Robert Jordan

Conan leaves Shadizar yet again, trekking east, to the southern chain of Kezankian Mountains, returning again to Shadizar The Wicked.

The Hall of the Dead

By Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp (contained in Conan)

Conan has become a master thief, well known in Shadizar. He sets foot for the ruins of Larsha with plans to loot that ancient city, but upon return to Shadizar, Conan finds that life in the Wicked City has become too risky. His reputation has grown large, and prudence warrants setting foot for other cities in other parts of Hyboria.

Conan leaves Shadizar, traveling west, on the Corinthian Road.

Conan The Fearless

By Steve Perry

A nameless village at the foot of a pass from Zamora through the Karpash Mountains is the first look Conan has of Corinthia. As he continues his trek west, he becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue and magic. Two wizards feud -— one, an adept of the White Square, the other of the Black.

Conan's adventure in Corinthia takes him to the city state of Mornstadinos, but by tale's end, Conan is headed west again toward Numalia in ancient Nemedia.

The God in the Bowl

By Robert E. Howard (contained in Conan)

Conan reaches the Nemedian border town of Numalia, where he rests, weary of travel and recent adventure. To fill his empty coin purse, he resumes his trade in thieving.

Conan's first brush with the machinations of the Stygian sorcerer Thoth-Amon sends him fleeing from Numalia, spitting the taste of the supernatural from his lips.

Conan The Warlord

By Leonard Carpenter

Conan's flight from Numalia takes him deeper into Nemedia, northeast to the capital, Belverus, and beyond into the province of Dinander.

The Cimmerian keeps himself in cups by plying his trade as a thief, but Nemedian swords lay glove on him again. He is thrown into Dinander's dungeons.

But, the Fates have set forth a twisted road that Conan must travel. The barbarian's time in Dinander's dungeon leads to time spent at the Baron's castle, then to a taste of nobility itself... and another brush with the vile armies of the Children of Set.

At tale's end, Conan sets foot south again, back into the heart of the Hyborian realms.

Rogues in the House

By Robert E. Howard (contained in Conan)

Conan is aged 5 when Nial begins his training with the sword and aged 9 when the Vanir raiders strike his clan's steading, and it is four winters that the mighty Cimmerian spends as a slave and pit fighter. He takes part in the Sack of Venarium before he has seen 15 winters.

Most of what has been recorded here takes place over the last five years of the barbarian's life, and as Conan now journeys south from ancient Nemedia, he has seen 19 seasons.

His route south and east from Nemedia brings him through a city-state in Corinthia, where misadventure lands him in a dungeon once again. Assassination, political intrigue, and an encounter with a product of the time when the oceans drank Atlantis follow, but it is not long before Conan passes through Zamora, the Kezankians and the desert steppes to visit the shores of the Vilayet Sea.

Conan The Triumphant

By Robert Jordan

Sultanapur is one of the largest cities on the Vilayet Sea, a thriving trading community in Turan, thronged with peoples from far away lands as well as native Turanians. It is here that Conan has come, having reacquainted himself with a companion from his days as a thief in Shadizar.

Adventure brooks as Conan tries his hand at a new profession, that of smuggling, and this tale takes him across the Vilayet and into the western regions of Vendhya.

The return to Sultanapur proves to be prosperous, for a while, but a quick escape from the city becomes necessary lest Conan forfeit his head to the headman's axe after a small matter of assorted offenses against the King's peace.

South, Conan rides, along the length of the Vilayet Sea to the ivory domed city of Aghrapur, Turan's capital.

Conan The Unconquered

By Robert Jordan

Aghrapur becomes Conan's home for several seasons, the royal city where King Yildiz bolsters the ranks of his armies with troops both regular and mercenary.

Conan the Warrior

Thus begins Conan's service in the armies of Turan. The Cimmerian is in need of coin and so sells his sword arm to the league of irregulars supporting Yildiz's newly swelled host....

The Hand of Nergal

By Robert E. Howard and Lin Carter (contained in Conan)

Conan's service as a sellsword serving the army of Turan will last more than two years.

During this time, he will improve indifferent skills, becoming an expert horseman and archer, and travel over the immense deserts, mountains, and jungles of Hyrkania, reaching even the far eastern kingdom of fabled Khitai.

One such tale of Conan's time in the Turanian military takes place in the comparatively unknown eastern land of Meru.

The City of Skulls

By Lin Carter and L. Sprague de Camp (contained in Conan)

Conan's experiences in the Turanian military are again chronicled in another tale, a tale that begins as Conan travels through the Khozgari Hills.

The People of the Summit

By Bjorn Nyberg and L. Sprague de Camp (contained in Conan The Swordsman)

Then the cimmerian volunteers for service in one of Turan's frontier colonies, contested lands where the army's presence is needed to protect the lotus trade. Conan's belief is that such a billet lies on the path of advancement. Fort Sikander is located near the city of Venjipur, in the Venji jungle just north of the Gulf of Tarqheba and south of the Colchian Mountains, between the nations of Iranistan and Kosala.

Conan The Hero

By Leonard Carpenter

Conan, now a Captain, finally sets his azure eyes on the fabled lands of Khitai.

The Curse of the Monolith

By L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter (contained in Conan of Cimmeria)

Conan's rise through the ranks of the Turanian military has brought him to a position in the king's own Royal Guard. As such, he is billeted in the kingdom's capital, Aghrapur, when he is approached by an accomplished swordswoman named Raihna.

Conan The Valiant

By Roland Green

After two full years fighting for Turan, Conan has become a seasoned soldier.

Conan the Barbarian

His future is promising until some business with the mistress of a superior officer. Conan deserts and makes for Sultanapur.

Conan and the Spider God

By L. Sprague de Camp

The Cimmerian resorts to his prior life as a thief to obtain some coin. Continuing his flight from Turan, Conan has returned to Zamora and a city he knows well: Arenjun.

The Bloodstained God

By Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp (contained in Conan of Cimmeria)

Conan wanders west to the Kothian city of Khorshemish, a place where the fates conspire to drive him in another direction still —- this time back home. It has been many years and many adventures since Conan has seen Cimmeria. He longs for his native land.

Conan The Valorous

By John Maddox Roberts

In this tale, Conan learns of the fate of his clan, the Canach, and his father's brother, Cuipach, and his cousins Balyn and Turach. We learn of the great blood feud that drove his family into northern Cimmeria before Conan's birth. And, during this homecoming, there is a uniting of the Cimmerian clans unlike any that has taken place since the siege of Venarium. Conan himself journeys to the great mount of Ben Morgh, home of his god Crom, all the while unaware of the part played by the Stygian sorcerer Thoth-Amon.

The battle on Ben Morgh sees Conan fighting sword and axe with a band of Aesir, lead by the chieftain Wulfhere, and at the conclusion of this tale, Conan journeys north, leaving Cimmeria once again, into the Aesir homeland of Asgard. There, Conan joins Wulfhere and his Aesir warriors on their raids into Vanaheim, making war on the Vanir.

The Frost Giant's Daughter

By Robert E. Howard (contained in Conan of Cimmeria)

Conan has just seen his 23rd winter, spending it among the Aesir and later, among his clansmen in northern Cimmeria. But, he grows bored of the life afforded by the simple villages of his homeland. He yearns again for the taste of the south lands where women, wine and gold are not hard to come by for a man who knows how to sell his sword arm.

At the first thaw, Conan rides south into the Eiglophian Mountains that separate Cimmeria and the Border Kingdom.

The Lair of the Ice Worm

By L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter (contained in Conan of Cimmeria)


Conan The Valiant

By Roland Green

This is a sequel, of sort's, of Roland Green's Conan the Valiant. We see Raihna again. Conan begins the tale on the trail, fresh from his encounter in The Lair of the Ice Worm.