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ConanTheVictoriousTrade
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Conan the Victorious is the 7th Conan pastiche novel written by Robert Jordan. Originally published in trade paperback in 1984 with a cover painted by artist Boris Vallejo (upper), the mass-market paperback was published in December 1985 with a cover by Kirk Reinert (lower). This novel was Jordan's last Conan effort; he assumed the editorial role over the TOR Conan pastiches in 1986.

Synopsis[]

Naipal, court wizard to King Bandharkar of the city-state of Ayodhya in Vendyha, prepares to bargain with a demon, Masrock, to win control of the kingdom and rid himself of his rivals, the Black Seers of Mt. Yimsha. Meanwhile, in the Turanian city of Sultanapoor, a Vendhyan-supported plot has resulted in the assassination of a prince. Conan, employed in guarding a smugglers' ship, is rumored to have been hired to commit the crime. Turanian spymaster Lord Khalid sends his apprentice, Jelal, into Vendhya to find out if a northerner was truly involved.

Running for his life, Conan eventually makes it to the docks and to his friend/fellow smuggler Hordo, whom he met during his time with Karela the Red Hawk. Hordo suggests that Conan leave with him on his next delivery of "fish" and he agrees. While examining the chests, they feel strangely light and, when questioned, the Vendhyan merchant who owns the crates flees. However, as he escapes, the merchant accidentally slices Conan with a hidden blade. The crates contain nothing except dried leaves of an unknown origin. Unfortunately, the blade was poisoned and Conan discovers that the antidote may lie in Vendhya, the original destination of their cargo.

At the mouth of the Zaporaska River in Vendhya, the smugglers question a tribe of Vendhyan warriors who are receiving their cargo. After discovering their chests have been tampered with, the warriors accept Hordo's explanation in a suspicious way. Moments later, Conan and his crew learn that the Vendhyans were planning to kill them once their cargo was delivered. Soon, an army of Vendhyan tribesmen attack and set their ship alight, stranding them. During the battle, Conan gets close enough to see a caravan loading their crates. Unsure if the caravan will be friendly or not, the crew split up, one will follow the caravan, another will return home by walking along the coast.

Conan's crew eventually close the distance and, by nightfall, have come within feet from the caravan's distant bonfire. Conan assumes the identity of a Vendhyan merchant and, after a brief conversation with the captain of the caravan guard, they learn that the owner will speak with them in the morning. During the night, a Khitan merchant approaches the smugglers and offers in hiring them as his guards.

In Vendhya, Naipal discovers Conan has become embroiled in his schemes. Believing Conan's involvement is purposeful, he plans to kill both the Cimmerian and his companions. After his agents in the caravan attempt without success in slaying Conan, Naipal lays a trap for him in the lost city of Gwandikan. Soon, Conan takes the bait. Lured into an ancient tower, he's attacked by a swarm of cobras and narrowly escapes. Afterwards, Conan searches for an antidote to his poisoned wound in a nearby forest, where he has been told it can be located. Soon, he discovers the herbalist who originally treated him and learns he was in fact cured by his first treatment; the man had lied about it then to secure the Cimmerian's aid. He, presumably, is Naipal's true adversary. A final conflict between the two sorcerers ensues, in which both end up dead at the hands of the demon each tried to control, and the demon itself is destroyed by the spells they had lain on it.

Conan, surviving, decides to return home. On the way, he encounters Lord Khalid's agent Jelal. The spy has completed his investigations and cleared the Cimmerian of complicity in the Vendhyan plot against Turan. He gives Conan a parchment and instructs him to present it at the headquarters of the Turanian army on his return to Sultanapur.

Characters[]

  • Conan
  • Naipal - Court wizard to the King of Vendhya. His name is a pseudonym (we don't learn his real name). Wears understated gray robes and turban without any accents or adornments. Known for his dedicated service and competence, but also for his lack of exposure/publicity and lack of ambition; considered a virtue by many in a land where everyone was obsessed with ambition.
  • Zail Bal - Former court wizard to King Bhandarkar; carried off by demons prior to the beginning of the novel.
  • Bhandarkar - [mentioned by name only] King of Vendhya
  • Black Seers of Yimsha - [mentioned by name only] sorcerers involved in managing the magical world east of the Viliyet Sea.
  • Masrok - one of 4 multi-armed demons called Sivani, traditional guardians of the tombs of Venhyan Kings. More than twice as tall as any man with skin like  polished obsidian. "Its only garb was a silver necklace from which depended three human skulls, and its body was smooth and sexless. Two of its hands held silver swords that shone with an unearthly light. Two more held spears with human skulls hanging below the points for decoration, and another grasped a needle-pointed dagger...Large leathery ears twitched on the hairless head, and sharply slanted ruby eyes."
  • Junio - Casual acquaintance of Conan also following the smuggling trade.
  • Valash - Casual acquaintance of Conan also following the smuggling trade.
  • Emelius - Casual acquaintance of Conan also following the smuggling trade.
  • Tasha - Prostitute often found in the Golden Crescent. Conan's love interest at the beginning of the story.
  • King Yildiz - [mentioned by name only] King of Turan
  • Hordo - former Captain of Karela, The Red Hawk. Current captain of the smuggling vessel being operated around Sultanapur on the Vilayet Sea
  • Captain Murad - officer in the Sultanapur City Guard. A narrow-faced man, tall for a Turanian, with a thin mustache and a small beard waxed to a point. Also a patron of Tasha; she appears to prefer Conan. He is killed by Conan over a disagreement on who should command Tasha's attentions
  • Banaric - Tavern keeper of the Golden Crescent. A plump Kothian with small gold rings in the lobe of each ear. He has fat hands and a wine-stained apron.
  • Tavik - snearing guardsman with a broken nose and a brawler's face, looking for Captain Murad in the Golden Crescent tavern. Killed by Conan to effect his escape from the Golden Crescent.
  • Abdul - Snearing guardsman with a scraggly mustache, looking for Captain Murad in the Golden Crescent tavern. Killed by Conan to effect his escape from the Golden Crescent.
  • Gamel - A soldier looking for "tall northerner" wanted in the slaying of Captain Murad and possibly Prince Tureg Amal
  • Alsan - A soldier looking for "tall northerner" wanted in the slaying of Captain Murad
  • Ghurran - Herbalist patronized by Hordo. A stooped man in robes of brown camels hair; looks old and weathered; sparse white hair and olive skin blotched with age and wrinkled like often-folded parchment. His hands were like knobby claws but his dark eyes, deep-set staring eyes showed a spark of vitality
  • Karim Singh- Wazam of Venhya [chief advisor to King Bhandarkar of Vendhya]; concludes a visit to Agraphur and King Yildiz to negotiate a treaty. Departed for home the day before the beginning of the novel.
  • Jelal - Spy in the employ of Lord Khalid, King Yildiz' spymaster. His mother was Corinthian and father was a Turanian spice merchant allowing him to pass as various ethnicities with brown skin. Clean-shaven and above medium height with a raw-boned lanky build that often fooled me into underestimating his strength. Wears motley garb from many different nations. Has spent 4 years in Corinthia and Koth and Khauran, posing as every sort of merchant and peddler, legal and otherwise, and never once was caught or even suspected. Perhaps the best man Lord Khalid ever had. However, Jelal wants to return to being a simple soldier in the Ibari Mountains
  • Lord Khalid - King Yildiz' spymaster. Has a narrow thin-nosed face, with mustaches and small beard neatly waxed to points, seeming more suited to a palace than a district of beggars. His hands are soft and he has a heavy gold-seal ring on one forefinger
  • Tureg Amal - Prince in Turan (male relative of King Yildiz). High Admiral of Turan; also a drunkard, wastrel, and lecher. Murdered via a poisoned needle thrust into his neck on the same morning that Conan killed Captain Murad. Suspect is a Vendhyan woman he took to his bed that very morning...the woman escaped
  • Zara - A buxom doxy with hennaed hair piled high on her head and gilded brass hoops in her ears. Her working clothes leave her breasts almost bear. Willing to aid/warn Conan that the city guard is seeking him
  • Tarek - Thief in the seaside quarter of Sultanapur. A short wiry man with sunken eyes dart frantically above a pointed nose, making him resemble a mouse searching for a hole.
  • Hasan - A tall, lanky  man in a turban. New recruit to Hordo's crew. Suggests that rumors say that Tureg Amal's death was by contract assassination. Has the idea to take the chests to the buyers in the Zaporosky River despite Patil's death. Has the idea to bring goats and pigeons, for fresh  meals on the ship, while they cross the Vilayet.
  • Patil - Vendhyan arranging for the transport of "rare condiments from the islands of the Western Sea" via Hordo's ship to the mouth of the Zaporoska River. He wears a dark gray cloak with a voluminous hood. He has a narrow, swarthy face topped by a turban twice as big around as is the fashion in Turan, fronted by heron feathers held by a pin of opal and silver. Rings covers his fingers with sapphires and amethysts.
  • Prytanis - Member of Hordo's smuggling crew. A Nemedian who might have been handsome had his nose not been slit for theft at some time in the past.
  • Shamil - a new recruit to the smugglers; a tall lanky Turanian. Wears a turban and leather vest.
  • Baltis - One of the more veteran crew, a Kothian. Thick old scars were layered where his ears had been none too expertly removed in the distant past.
  • Enam - One of the more veteran crew, a hollow-faced Shemite.
  • Kang Hou
  • Vyndra - Vendhyan noblewoman

Locations[]

  • Ayodhya - capital city of Vendya
  • Naipal's palace - given to him by King Bhandarkar, it is lavish to the extreme, unlike his external persona. The palace also contains subterranean chambers created by Naipal to fulfill his own dark purposes.
  • Mount Yimsha - [mentioned by name only] abode of the Black Seers
  • Sultanapur - Turanian port city on the Vilayet Sea. aka The Golden Queen of the Vilayet. aka The Gilded Bitch of the Vilayet. Has a broad harbor protected by a breakwater.
  • Golden Crescent Tavern - a stone-walled tavern with a crescent moon roughly daubed in yellow on its front. A heavy door and thick walls kept out the heat and the noise of the city of Sultanapur.
  • Akif - [mentioned by name only] a city in Turan.
  • Khoraf - {mentioned by name only] a port city in Turan favored by slavers, first mentioned in Conan the Avenger by Nyberg and de Camp.
  • Agraphur - [mentioned by name only] Capital city of Turan.
  • Kafar's warehouse - one of scores of smugglers warehouses found near the harbor. It was a nondescript building of two stories, daubed in flaking white clay, that might once have held a tavern or a chandler’s shop. It was the custom in such places to store the goods of each smuggler in a separate room, for no man among them trusted those not of his band. Closed doors, iron-bound and held shut with massive iron locks, lined the corridor in the rear of the building.
  • Zaporoska River - major river that tributes the Vilayet Sea. It Lies on the western shore of the Vilayet where it bends Southeast. Part of the caravan route to Vendhya and Khitai. The mouth of the Zaporoska is wide, with dunes and hills to hide an army on both sides.

Noteworthy Items[]

  • Black Opal pendant - worn about Niapal's neck; the sole means for Masrok to signal obedience or ask to be summoned.
  • Silvered Mirror - housed in a large flat box of ornately carved ivory atop faceted crystal legs. A mirror that shows no reflection. Instead it is enchanted to show images of possible threats to his dark designs.
  • Khorassani - ten stones, smooth ovals of so inky a hue that the ebony [wood] seemed less black beside them. Nine were the size of the last joint of a man’s thumb, the last twice so large. Used to summon the Sivani if their true name is known
  • Demon weapons of glowing silver - weapons that cannot miss what they strike at and slay whatever they strike. Even demons. Naipal possesses one, given to him by Masrok as a token of their pact; the wizard keeps it in a golden coffer. Naipal discovered the true abilities of the weapon through research, after Masrok warned him against touching it
  • Hordo's drunkenness cure - Salted wine was Hordo's favorite cure to sober up his men.
  • Hordo's smuggling ship - aka Karela; a trim vessel some sixteen paces long, with a single forward-raked mast stepped amidship.

Continuity Notes[]

  • Dieties: Hordo swears by Mitra and Zandru's 9 Hells; I'll be an Erlikite, referring to Erlik, Black Erlik's bowels and bladder; Katar and Katar's teats (Vendhyan deity)
  • Rare goods: Khitan silks and Basralla laces from Vendhya
  • Fauna: a Remaira Stallion is a horse that stands out when compared to mules due to height and breadth
  • Flora: "rare condiments from the islands of the Western Sea" 20 chests of the type that transport tea but some hold small dried unidentifiable leaves that have no aroma, others hold saffron crystals or tightly corded leather sacks with red crystals, and others with vials of a green liquid. The chests are sealed with lead and stamped with the likeness of a bird Conan has never seen before
  • Illicit drugs: kanda leaf and red lotus are mentioned
  • purdhana - synonymous with seraglio or harem for Vendhyan upper-class

Publication history[]

  • Conan the Victorious (novel) • Robert JordanTor (trade paperback) November 1984
  • Conan the Victorious (novel) • Robert JordanTor (mass-market paperback) December 1985
  • Conan the Victorious (novel) • Robert JordanTor (mass-market paperback) March 1991
  • Conan the Victorious (novel) • Robert JordanTor (trade paperback) August 2010
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