The Chronicles of Conan
Volume 9 - Riders of the River-Dragons and Other Stories

Author: Roy Thomas
Artists: Various
Titan Books
RRP: 12.99
ISBN 1 84576 138 3
Available 24 February 2006

From the turbulent seas to the deepest, darkest jungles, the barbarian Conan moves ever closer to his destiny as king and conqueror. Allied with the deadly she-pirate Belit, Conan journeys further into the most savage and untamed Hyborian lands, and into his own heart of darkness...

Riders of the River-Dragons and Other Stories is another cracking addition to the Chronicles of Conan series. The "river-dragons", and their "riders" of the title refer to a clan of men who ride crocodiles into battle.

Belit is captured by these natives, who wish to offer her to their feared leader, and understandably neither her nor Conan are best pleased about it. And, as Conan sets about flexing his muscles and running after his love interest, Belit has troubles of her own to contend with. Amra, the head of the river-dragon riders, fancies his chances with Belit. And how can she not fall for this hunk of pure testerone - who can command lions? In his bid to free Belit, Conan must wrestle to the ground crocodiles, wild boar, a leopard and, believe it or not, a gang of crazed gnomes.

Ah, yet another collection from the days when real men weren't afraid to work up a sweat and run around attacking anything that moved. Back then everything was fine until someone stole your woman - and then you went berserk.

Thankfully it's not all animal slaughtering and muscle flexing. Conan also happens across a band of Vikings - who like their wine - and manages to literally hug a man to death.

As we've come to expect from this series, the artwork is faultless and the writing, if showing its age a little, is full of real meaty goodness.

Everyone should read this.

Pete Boomer

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