I finally got my hands on a copy of this book and read it about two days. If I'd had nothing else to do I could've finished it in less than a day. I was just wondering if anyone else has read this and what people think of it, especially compared to the movie.
I personally thought the book was a good read. De Camp and Carter did a good job telling the story they had to work with, from Milius's script. I thought that the Conan they described on the pages was much closer to the "real" Conan than Arnold's onscreen version. In particular, I found the chemistry between Conan and Valeria to be more convincing in the De Camp/Carter novel than in the movie. I felt her loss more in the book.
So for a pastiche - I repeat, FOR A PASTICHE - this was a really good read, though I can't say that De Camp and Carter's novel is better than the movie in all respects. The intense combat backed up by Basil Poldouris' score was missing, as were Gerry Lopez as Subotai, James Earl Jones as Thulsa Doom, and Max Von Sydow as King Osric.
I always felt that James Earl Jones simply radiated evil as Thulsa Doom ("Come to me my child!" "Crucify him!") and made even Darth Vader look tame!
And Max Von Sydow's last line: "There comes a time thief, when jewels cease to sparkle, when gold loses its luster, when the throne room becomes a prison, and all that is left is a father's love for his child!" That's just powerful, the way he delivers it.
So in conclusion, neither Arnold's movie nor De Camp's pastiche do justice to Conan or REH, but I have to admit I like them both, and would have to call it a draw.
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