Books Like Conan The Barbarian

Books Like Conan The Barbarian

The sword and sorcery genre continues to be popular amongst fans of fantasy novels, and one of its most memorable and recognizable heroes is Conan the Barbarian. The character was created by Robert E. Howard in 1932, and Conan went on to feature in several pulp magazines, comics, books, television shows, video games, and movies. In addition, Conan served as an inspiration for many other authors writing in the fantasy genre. Nowadays, there's no shortage of novels featuring highly skilled warriors who are also as smart as they are deadly with a weapon. The announcement of Netflix acquiring the exclusive rights for Conan films and shows has also renewed interest in this iconic character. For more tales of cunning and daring, here are a few books like Conan the Barbarian.

The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane

by Robert E. Howard

The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane by Robert E. Howard

Although Conan is his most memorable creation Robert E. Howard also wrote tales of a vengeful Puritan swashbuckler named Solomon Kane. These stories are considered amongst the first in the sword and sorcery genre and were a big hit with readers. The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane is a collection of all the stories and poems that make up the saga of the titular hero. From sixteenth-century England to the remote jungles of Africa, these tales are filled with vengeful ghosts and bloodthirsty demons. However, Kane is a grim avenger with a fanatic's faith and a warrior's heart who isn't intimidated by the dark sorceries wielded by evil men and women. The Solomon Kane tales are perfect for fans of Conan, but Howard also wrote about another barbarian named Kull, which is also worth checking out.

A Princess of Mars

by Edgar Rice Burroughs

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

A tale of planetary romance set on Mars might not sound like it has much in common with Conan the Barbarian, but there is more linking these stories than one might think. A Princess of Mars was first published in 1912, and the author, Edgar Rice Burroughs, is also the creator of Tarzan. Burroughs was good friends with Howard, and their work undoubtedly influenced each other. Despite being set on Mars, A Princess of Mars is filled with swordplay and daring feats. The hero, John Carter, is a Confederate veteran of the American Civil War who ends up being transported by Mars while prospecting in Arizona. The lesser gravity and lower atmospheric pressure give Carter great strength and superhuman agility, which earns him the respect of the inhabitants. Carter has numerous adventures on Mars, including one where he rescues a humanoid Princess.

The Book of Kane

by Karl Edward Wagner

The Book of Kane by Karl Edward Wagner

The Book of Kane is a collection of stories featuring a warrior-sorcerer with red hair and blue eyes. Kane is very intelligent but also a born killer, which made him one of the original anti-heroes of the heroic fantasy genre. The Book of Kane features Reflections for the Winter of My Soul, Misericorde, The Other One, Sing a Last Song of Valdese, as well as Raven's Eyrie. These are all gritty stories in a very similar vein to those of Robert. E. Howard. Wagner also has other ties to the Conan universe as he has written Robert E. Howard pastiches. These include Legion from the Shadows, a Bran Mak Morn novel, and The Road of the Kings, a Conan novel. In addition, Wagner restored Howard's Conan fiction to their originally published forms for a three-volume set that pleased many purists. 


by Charles R. Saunders

Imaro by Charles R. Saunders

Imaro by Charles R. Saunders is an interesting take on the sword and sorcery genre. It is set in an alternate reality version of Africa on a continent called Nyumbani. In its universe, legend and history are one and the same as are magic and reality. The continent faces danger in the form of sorcerers called the Erriten, who seek only conquest and domination. To stand up against the Erriten and the unholy deities they serve a warrior like no other is needed. This warrior is Imaro, a man who must protect his people and fulfill his destiny. Imaro was first published in 1981, and an updated edition was published in 2006. Other novels in the Imaro series include The Quest for Cush, The Trail of Bohu, and The Naama War. 

Wolf of the Steppes

by Harold Lamb

Wolf of the Steppes by Harold Lamb

Harold Lamb was one of Robert E. Howard's favorite writers, and there's no doubt that his work had an influence on the Conan novels. Wolf of the Steppes is the first volume in a collection of stories featuring Khlit the Cossack. This volume sees Khlit infiltrate a hidden fortress of assassins, tracking down the tomb of Genghis Khan, fleeing the vengeance of a dead emperor, and much more. Like Conan, Khlit is not just a very skilled warrior but also a brilliant tactician. However, his best years are behind him, so he cannot just rely on brute strength to survive. Most of the tales are set during the late 16th and early 17 centuries across a variety of exotic locations, and it is clear why Howard enjoyed Lamb's writing so much. 

The Reluctant Swordsman

by Dave Duncan

The Reluctant Swordsman by Dave Duncan

The Reluctant Swordsman is the first novel in the Seventh Sword series by Dave Duncan. The book follows the adventures of a young man named Wallie Smith. He is a middle-aged chemical engineer who wakes up in the body of a barbarian swordsman on another world after dying on Earth. Wallie discovers that the original inhabitant of the body failed a quest assigned to him by the gods, and he will face a similar fate unless he can succeed. However, it won't be easy as Wallie has to learn the ways of the strange new world he finds himself in while trying to survive as a member of the warrior caste. Three more novels followed the Reluctant Swordsman; The Coming of Wisdom, The Destiny of the Sword, and The Death of Nnanji. 

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FEATURED AUTHOR - Five-time Pushcart Prize nominee Frank Scozzari resides in Nipomo, a small town on the California central coast. His award-winning short stories have appeared in more than one-hundred literary magazines, including The Kenyon Review, Tampa Review, Eleven Eleven (Cal Arts), Pacific Review, Reed Magazine, Minetta Review (NYU), The Nassau Review, War Literature, and the Arts (U.S. Air Force Academy), The Berkeley Fiction Review, Ellipsis Magazine, South Dakota Review, Roanoke Review, Hawai'i… Read more