The Hour of the Dragon by Robert E. Howard is sometimes referred to as having a different title - one that probably rings more bells: the story is also known as Conan the Conqueror. The only full and complete novel by the writer, this Conan story has everything the reader can possibly expect of an excellent fantasy tale: adventures, one after the other in rapid succession, wizards, battle scenes, monsters and an always triumphant hero.
The Conan we meet in The Hour of the Dragon is no longer young, he is about 45 years of age, wise and strong. He is the King of Aquilonia, but there are people around him who plot against him to put Valerius on the throne, deposing Conan. Valerius is the heir of Numedides, the king that Conan had slain to get the throne and the conspirators now turn to necromancy to defeat Conan and they resurrect an ancient sorcerer. They capture Conan and they are just about to execute him, but Conan gets help - from a slave girl who is willing to risk her life to help him escape. Conan then leaves on a long and dangerous journey to defeat the sorcerer and get back his crown - a journey that takes him to many places and is eventually successful. The ending is, of course, happy: Conan regains his throne and marries the slave girl to make her Queen.
The Hour of the Dragon was first published in series in the prestigious pulp fiction magazine Weird Tales. It came out as a book only much later, in 1950, under the title Conan the Conqueror, the original title being restored only in 1977. The story was adapted and republished a number of times since the first edition, the latest adaptation being a comic series entitled Conan the Conqueror.
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