Roland Green wrote seven Conan pastiches. He also wrote most of the infamous Richard Blade books. I have four of his Conan books—Conan at the Demon’s Gate, Conan and the Death Lord of Thanza, Conan and the Mists of Doom, and Conan the Guardian. He gets points for better than average titles, at least. I’m not moving on from Conan and the Death Lord of Thanza anytime soon. After one book, I’m ready to relegate Roland Green to the lower tier of Tor pastiche writers along with Steve Perry and Leonard Carpenter. Their books, at least in my experience, are a long step down from the Robert Jordan and John Maddox Roberts books.
Conan has a price on his head in more than one country and an angry pimp on his heels, so he enrolls in the “Thanza Rangers” being organized to root bandits out from the mountains between Aquilonia and Nemedia. I think I like Conan the best as a soldier. At the same time, bandit chiefs Lysinka and Grolin are seeking the Soul of Thanza, which can give the bearer power over death.
For the most part this isn’t a very creative story. I’ve read about Conan squaring off against a lot of sorcerers by now (although this isn’t quite that), and Lysinka is a poor man’s Karela. The only really interesting character is Klarnides, the green captain of the Thanza Rangers who gets his commission due to his family name but shows real mettle. Green has a curiously longwinded writing style. Characters will engage in extended dialogue during a fight (a major pet peeve of mind) and Green will take a page and a half to say what Howard could have dispensed with with a single evocative sentence. It’s not a long book, but the first two-thirds dragged for me. But the fight with a water dragon in an underground cave is a highlight, as are a troop of skeleton warriors.
3 of 5 Stars.
You can find all of my Summer of Conan posts here.