Conan has Come Hither: The Book is in Print! (May 1)

Conan has Come Hither: The Book is in Print! (May 1)

It’s here! You probably know that back in 2019, many of the leading Robert E. Howard experts and fans contributed to a terrific series here at Black Gate on REH’s Conan stories. Prior to that, Black Gate’s own Howard Andrew Jones, along with Bill Ward, had over on his own blog, done a deep dive into each story as well.

Jason Waltz and his Rogue Blades Foundation combined those two series’ and added much more content. Now, Hither Came Conan is a print book that is THE definitive guide to REH’s sword-swinging Cimmerian (Hollywood added ‘the Barbarian’ tag – that’s not REH).

Howard wrote 20 Conan short stories, and one novel. Plus, there’s one unfinished tale (“Wolves Beyond the Border”). Each of the twenty-two stories has an essay from the Black Gate series, as well as Howard and Bill’s blog entry. Plus, there are thirteen new essays related to various stories. Finally there, are eleven additional essays not tied to a specific story.

That is a staggering SIXTY SIX essays on Conan and the Hyborian Age. I am stunned at how much information and terrific reading there is in this book. It ends with a memorial poem from Weird Tales.

NOTE: Every single contributor donated their author fee back to Rogue Blades, which is a not-for-profit literary publisher of heroic fiction. So I’m not plugging this book so I can make a buck. In fact, I have yet to make a buck for any of my writing, but that’s neither here nor there (if it’s not here or there, where is it????).

I discovered Conan through the three-volume Del Rey collection (which originated as the Wandering Star series). I read from those Del Reys several times a year. And Hither Came Conan is the PERFECT companion to those books. Honestly – if you are a fan of Robert E. Howard’s Conan (not the many novels and short story pastiches that have come out of over the years, but REH’s original bad ass), you absolutely will love this book. I can all but guarantee it.

Available as a 370 page hardback, or in ebook format, this is the book you need in your Conan collection.

You can pick up a copy – and get some autographs – at Howard Days 2023 in Cross Plains Texas, on April 28-29.

Look at this Table of Contents:


Foreword: Who is Best, Conan?
– S.M. Stirling

Preface: Conan is the Best
– Dierk Günther
Introduction: The Best Conan Story Written by Robert E. Howard was…
– Bob Byrne
Introduction: The Conan Re-Read
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“The Phoenix on the Sword”
The Best: Bird on a Blade
– Bobby Derie
Extra! Extra! Ruminations on “The Phoenix on the Sword”
– Bob Byrne
Re-Reading: “The Phoenix on the Sword”
-Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“The Frost-Giant’s Daughter”
The Best: Let’s Get Frosty
– Fletcher A. Vredenburgh
Extra! Extra! The Frost King, the Frost-Giant, and Their Daughters
– Keith West
Re-Reading: “The Frost-Giant’s Daughter”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“The God in the Bowl”
The Best: The God Has a Long Neck
– Mark Finn
Extra! Extra! That Time Robert E. Howard Wrote a Police Procedural…
– Bob Byrne
Re-Reading: “The God in the Bowl”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“The Tower of the Elephant”
The Best: Gimmie a T!
– Jason M Waltz
Extra! Extra! Progression of the Unspoiled Savage
– Bill Ward
Re-Reading: “The Tower of the Elephant”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“The Scarlet Citadel”
The Best: On The Scarlet Citadel
– John C. Hocking
Re-Reading: “The Scarlet Citadel”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“Queen of the Black Coast”
The Best: Queen for a Night
– Patrice Louinet
Extra! Extra! Howardian Masterpiece
– G. W. Thomas
Re-Reading: “Queen of the Black Coast”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“Black Colossus”
The Best: One Wild and Bloody Ride
– Deuce Richardson
Re-Reading: “Black Colossus”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“Iron Shadows in the Moon”
The Best: The Statues
– Morgan Holmes
Re-Reading: “Iron Shadows in the Moon”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“Xuthal of the Dusk”
The Best: On 25 Lunas a Day
– Jason Durall
Re-Reading: “Xuthal of the Dusk”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“The Pool of the Black One”
The Best: Maybe R-rated? At least PG-13
– David C. Smith
Re-Reading: “The Pool of the Black One”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“Rogues in the House”
The Best: Feeling Lucky, Punk?
– Bob Byrne
Extra! Extra! Honor among Thieves: Hyborian Age Morality
– Brian Murphy
Re-Reading: “Rogues in the House”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“The Vale of Lost Women”
The Best: Pain Crystallized and Manifested in Flesh
– David Hardy
Re-Reading: “The Vale of Lost Women”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“The Devil in Iron”
The Best: Of Green Stone and Living Iron
– Scott Oden
Extra! Extra! Four Stories, One Master Plot Plan
– John Bullard
Re-Reading: “The Devil in Iron”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“The People of the Black Circle”
The Best: The Elemental Man and Woman
– Gabe Dybing
Extra! Extra! More than a Muscular Arm
– James Reasoner
Re-Reading: “The People of the Black Circle”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“The Hour of the Dragon”
The Best: A Novel Idea
– Ryan Harvey
Extra! Extra! The Greatest S&S Novel Ever Written
– Vincent N. Darlage, PhD
Re-Reading: “The Hour of the Dragon”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“A Witch Shall Be Born”
The Best: Which One is Conan?
– Jeffrey Shanks
Re-Reading: “A Witch Shall be Born”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“The Servants of Bit-Yakin”
The Best: A Bit of Yacking Serves None
– James C. McGlothlin
Re-Reading: “The Servants of Bit-Yakin”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“Beyond the Black River”
The Best: Going Deep into the Black River
– Keith West
Extra! Extra! Across a Blood-Darkened Borderland
– Bill Ward
Re-Reading: “Beyond the Black River”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“The Black Stranger”
The Best: Conan as Picaro
– Fred Adams, Jr.
Extra! Extra! The Black Strangers
– C.L. Werner
Re-Reading: “The Black Stranger”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“The Man-Eaters of Zamboula”
The Best: It Really Is the Best of All Time
– Steven H Silver
Extra! Extra! A Reappraisal
– John Bullard
Re-Reading: “The Man-Eaters of Zamboula”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“Red Nails”
The Best: Roses are Red, Nails are for the Dead
– Keith J. Taylor
Extra! Extra! Dehumanizing Violence and Compassion
– Jason Ray Carney
Re-Reading: “Red Nails”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward

“Wolves Beyond the Border”
The Best: Howl at the Moon
– Woelf Dietrich
Re-Reading: “Wolves Beyond the Border”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward
Re-Reading: Epilogue
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward
The Best: Epilogue
– Bob Byrne

Afterword: Conan, I Like Your Grit
– Matthew John

The Worldbuilding of REH
– Jeffrey Shanks
Hyborian Age World Building
– Bill Ward
Re-Reading: “The Hyborian Age”
– Howard Andrew Jones & Bill Ward
REH, Two Fans, and the Birth of Conan Scholarship
– Bob Byrne
Weird Tales Memoriam of Conan & Robert E. Howard
Biographies & Copyrights

Hither Came Conan, indeed! I’m happy to have six essays in this book. I’m always reading for upcoming Black Gate posts, and for my other writing. But I want to do a Del Rey Conan re-read, reading all this book’s essays for that story, after I finish each one. THAT is going to be wonderful!

Robert E. Howard is rightly proclaimed the father of sword and sorcery. 2023 marks the eighty-seventh year since he took his own life at only age thirty. But his fans know that he left an enduring legacy. This book is absolute proof of that. If you’re a Conan fan, you really should own a copy of this one.


I’ve written over two dozen essays here at Black Gate about REH and his works. He’s my second favorite author after only John D. MacDonald. Here’s a link to all of them:

All my REH Writings at Black Gate

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Bob_TieSmile150.jpgBob Byrne’s ‘A (Black) Gat in the Hand’ made its Black Gate debut in 2018 and has returned every summer since.

His ‘The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes’ column ran every Monday morning at Black Gate from March, 2014 through March, 2017. And he irregularly posts on Rex Stout’s gargantuan detective in ‘Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone.’ He is a member of the Praed Street Irregulars, founded (the only website dedicated to the ‘Sherlock Holmes of Praed Street’) and blogs about Holmes and other mystery matters at Almost Holmes.

He organized Black Gate’s award-nominated ‘Discovering Robert E. Howard’ series, as well as the award-winning ‘Hither Came Conan’ series.

He has contributed stories to The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Parts III, IV, V, VI and XXI.

He has written introductions for Steeger Books, and appeared in several magazines, including Black Mask, Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, The Strand Magazine, and Sherlock Magazine.

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Scott Rowell (we met at Howard Days last year)

Hi Bob,
Thank you for your major contributions to this book! I’m looking forward to picking up a copy at Howard Days later this month. Any chance you will be in attendance this year?

Scott R.

Yes, you and I discussed an article you wrote about Iron Shadows in the Moon, in which you pointed out some interesting Biblical references. You also mentioned wanting to write an article sometime about Howard’s take on King Saul. I will miss seeing you this year.


CONGRATS! (again) the work you do to put together all the monday updates is always great and this series was especially greatbecause it made me revisit and visit for the first time the conan run. will certainly pick up both version, read the kindle but prize the physical, haha

Jason M Waltz

You are such a delight, Bob! Your exuberance is why this book exists, and I’m super proud to be part of its creation. It is definitely unrivaled in its all-encompassing grasp of REH’s Conan. PSST: Ah, *many* (not all) of the contributors donated their payment, some to RBF and some to Project Pride. 🙂


Is this available in ebook somewhere other than Amazon?

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