Daily Archives: August 7, 2015

The Coming of Conan Re-Read: “The Phoenix on the Sword”

comingofconanBill Ward and I are reading our way through the Del Rey Conan collection The Coming of Conan. This week we’re discussing “The Phoenix on the Sword.” We hope you’ll join in!

Howard: Look at the story’s opening quote. That’s practically the gold standard of quotes from imaginary historical sources. That fabulous “Know, O Prince” and all that follows has been imitated but rarely, if ever, equalled. This, fellow fantasy fans, is the way it’s done. Admittedly, there are a few phrases in the middle of the paragraph that are less inspired. I’m looking at “Zingara with its chivalry, Koth that bordered on the pastoral lands of Shem.” Most of the rest of the quote paints lovely word pictures, but those phrases don’t remotely approach the poetic majesty of the rest  — what does Zingara look like? What does Koth look like? But the rest is lovely, and the quality picks right back up with “dreaming west” and powers on to that fantastic finish, “Hither came Conan…”