The Hyborian Age by Robert E. Howard
is a collection of essays and fictional works by the renowned American author Robert E. Howard. The book is a comprehensive history of a fictional world known as the Hyborian Age, which is the setting for many of Howard’s most famous works, including the Conan the Barbarian stories. First published in 1936, “The Hyborian Age” has since become a seminal work in the fantasy genre, and has had a significant impact on the development of modern epic fantasy.
The Hyborian Age is a mythical world where magic and monsters abound, and where kingdoms and empires rise and fall in a never-ending cycle of conquest and conflict. The world is populated by a variety of races, including humans, elves, dwarves, and many others, and is ruled by powerful sorcerers, ruthless warlords, and noble knights. It is a world of epic adventure and danger, where mighty warriors battle fierce beasts and dark powers in a struggle for survival.
In “The Hyborian Age,” Howard presents a detailed history of this fictional world, covering its rise and fall from prehistoric times to the end of its last great civilization. The book is divided into several sections, each of which covers a different period of the world’s history and introduces new characters and locations. Throughout the book, Howard provides rich descriptions of the cultures, religions, and politics of the various nations and peoples that inhabit the world, creating a vivid and immersive portrait of the Hyborian Age.
One of the most notable features of “The Hyborian Age” is the way in which Howard blends historical and mythological elements with his own unique creations. The world is filled with references to real-world historical periods and civilizations, such as the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, but is also populated by fantastic creatures and magical beings that are unique to Howard’s imagination. This blending of real-world and fictional elements gives the world a sense of depth and complexity that is often lacking in other works of fantasy.
Another important aspect of “The Hyborian Age” is its influence on the development of the epic fantasy genre. Howard’s work was groundbreaking in its portrayal of a fully realized fictional world, complete with its own history, mythology, and geography. This approach to world-building has since become a hallmark of the genre, and has been emulated by many other authors.
Additionally, “The Hyborian Age” introduced readers to the character of Conan the Barbarian, who has since become one of the most iconic figures in the fantasy genre. Howard’s portrayal of Conan as a fierce warrior who triumphs over his enemies through sheer force of will and physical prowess has inspired generations of readers and writers, and has had a profound impact on the development of modern fantasy.
In conclusion, “The Hyborian Age” is a seminal work in the fantasy genre that has had a lasting impact on the development of epic fantasy. Howard’s detailed history of a fictional world, complete with its own mythology, geography, and characters, has influenced countless other authors, and his creation of Conan the Barbarian has become an enduring icon of the genre. The book is a must-read for any fan of fantasy, and remains a testament to Howard’s legacy as one of the greatest writers in the genre’s history.