Summer of Conan: Steve Perry’s Conan the Fearless

Steve Perry wrote five Conan pastiches.  He did much of his work in other writers’ worlds, writing Star Wars, Aliens, Predator, and Indiana Jones books in addition to Conan books.  He also wrote several Tom Clancy’s Net Force books.

I have two: Conan the Fearless and Conan the Free Lance.  I’ve only read Conan the Fearless and don’t plan on reading any more of the Steve Perry pastiches anytime soon.  Conan the Fearless is the worst Conan story I’ve read.

There are a lot of issues with Conan the Fearless.  The plot bears too strong a resemblance to Robert Jordan’s Conan the Invincible, already a weak book.  The plot is overcomplicated by too many characters.  Who tend toward the lame—an aristocratic were-panther?  A sex-crazed witch?  But the most grievous sin against Howard is that Conan is aided by a White Magician.  Simple good-evil delineations of wizard, complete with senseless restrictions on what the good wizards can do, isn’t sword and sorcery, let alone Howard.  The entire thing is very much generic 1980s fantasy.

Which is a shame, because Perry might write the best action scenes of any of the pastiche authors I’ve read.

2.5 of 5 Stars.


You can find all of my Summer of Conan posts here.

About H.P.

Blogs on books at Every Day Should Be Tuesday (speculative fiction) and Hillbilly Highways (country noir and nonfiction).
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Throwback SF and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Summer of Conan: Steve Perry’s Conan the Fearless

  1. Pingback: Announcing a Summer of Conan – Index | Every Day Should Be Tuesday

  2. pmcnamee67 says:

    CONAN THE FREE LANCE is the one and only Perry I’ve read. Like you, I have little desire to try any of his other Conan attempts. FREE LANCE really drove home to me how many pastiche writers fail to get the *world* correct as well as the character of Conan. FREE LANCE read far too much like D&D Forgotten Realms rather than the Hyborian Age.

    Liked by 1 person

    • H.P. says:


      And that is a good point. A lot of reviewers, including me, focus on how well the pastiche authors write Conan, but Howard created a very distinctive world as well.

      I suppose it is a bit too much to ask that a book written in the 80s/90s not read like a book written in the 80s/90s. (Which is why I roll my eyes whenever an author brags that their book is written with a “modern sensibility.” Books that aren’t written with the sensibility of their time are exceedingly rare.)


  3. Terry says:

    You are not missing much by skipping the others. I have all five, and none of them are very good. As noted above, he does not “get” Conan, nor is “his” Hyborian Age anything similar to REH’s, except for the geography.
    He does a much better job in “his” universes. The Matador series is one of my favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. danielshumphreys says:

    This is tough for me because Steve Perry is one of my favorite writers of all time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: THROWBACK SF THURSDAY: John Maddox Roberts’ Conan Pastiches –

  6. John Boyle says:

    I haven’t read any of the Perry or Maddox Roberts pastiches, and I appreciate the heads up. Thanks for posting these reviews here and at Castalia House.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bob Byrne says:

    I recently read Fearless. If I could stomach it, I’d go back and re-read Conan the Indomitable, which I have held as the worst of the tor Pastiches. I’m not sure which of the two I’d pick now. Here’s my amazon review of Indomitable. Oof!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Robert Jordan’s Previously Unpublished Warrior of the Altaii to be Published in Fall 2019 | Every Day Should Be Tuesday

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s