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.

  • Foreword, by Todd McFarlane
  • Prologue
    • Conan in the Nemedian Chronicles
  • Introduction
    • The Hyborian Age
    • Map of the Hyborian World
    • Major Gods of the Hyborian World
  • Conan the Cimmerian
    • The Lands of the North
    • The Battle of Venarium
    • Conan Among the Aesir
    • The Frost-Giant's Daughter
  • Conan the Thief
    • On the Road of Kings
    • The Tower of the Elephant
    • Yag-Kosha
    • Janissa
    • The Man-Serpent
    • Thoth-Amon of the Ring
    • Jenna
    • Prince Murilo & Nabonidus the Red Priest
    • Thak
    • Isparana
  • Conan the Mercenary
    • On the Shores of the Inland Sea
    • Yezdigerd
    • Nergal & Tammuz
    • Juma the Black
    • The Monster of the Monolith
    • The Demons of the Summit
    • The Trail of the Bloodstained God
  • Conan, Corsair of the Black Coast
    • All is Mystery
    • Amra
    • Belit, Queen of the Black Coast
    • The Death of Belit & The Vengeance of Conan
    • The Vale of Lost Women
    • The Hundred-Headed Monster
  • Conan the Warrior
    • Return to the East
    • Chief of the Kozaks
    • Iron Shadows in the Moon
    • Chief of the Zuagirs
    • Taramis & Salome
    • Conan Crucified!
    • Shamash-Shum-Ukin & The Citadel at the Center of Time
    • The Demoness from Outside
    • Zabibi, a.k.a. Nefertari
    • Totrasmek, the Priest of Hanuman
    • Jehungir Agha
    • Khosatral Khel, the Devil in Iron
    • War Chief of the Afghulis
    • The Devi Yasmina
    • The Black Seers of Yimsha
  • Conan, Soldier of Fortune
    • A Truly Ancient Near East
    • Xuthal of the Dusk
    • Thog
    • Amalric & Lissa
    • The Red Tower's Curse
  • Conan, Scourge of the Seas
    • Isles off the Coast
    • Port Tortage
    • Zaporavo
    • The Black Ones
    • Princess Chabala
    • Sigurd
  • Conan, South of Stygia
    • East and South of Kush
    • Valeria
    • Red Nails
    • Muriela & Yelaya
    • Thutmekri
  • Conan of the Border
    • The Borderlands
    • Balthus
    • Zogar Sag
    • Sagayetha
    • Tranicos' Treasure
    • Black Zarono
    • The Black Stranger
    • Count Trocero
  • Conan the Liberator
    • Barbarians at the Gate
    • Gault, Hagar's Son
    • King Numedides
    • Thulandra Thuu
  • Conan the King
    • The Age of King Conan
    • The Plotters
    • The Demon of the Ring
    • Tsotha-Lanti & Pelias
    • The New Plotters
    • Xaltotun of Python
    • Zenobia
    • Thutothmes & The Black Hand of Set
    • Yah-Chieng
    • The Death of Yezdigerd
    • The Death of Thoth-Amon
  • Conan of the Isles
    • The Way West
    • Red Shadows
  • Epilogue
    • The Hyborian Age after Conan
  • Index
  • Acknowledgments

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.


  • Pros: Awesome artwork, complete coverage of Conan, his life, his enemies and allies, and the Hyborian Age
  • Cons: None!
  • Overall Score: A+