As a lifelong, hardcore fan of sword and sorcery fiction, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Brian Murphy did his research and it showed, as this great book is probably the best thing I’ve ever read on the history of sword and sorcery fantasy, as a whole.
It’s part biographical when it covers specific writers in the genre but it also gets really deep into the history of the sword and sorcery style and how it was established and grew into quite the phenomenon that still creeps in and out of mainstream pop culture.
While this spent a good amount of time on the legendary writer, Robert E. Howard, and his most famous creations Conan and Kull, it also went way beyond that exploring other writers and their work, which helped propel sword and sorcery forward and into the hearts and minds of literary fantasy fans around the world.
The book also shows how sword and sorcery grew beyond just words on a page and how it sort of fell out of popularity but also had a resurgence, later on.
If you love sword and sorcery and you haven’t picked this book up, you definitely should. It’s something I will probably go back to and reference for years to come.
Pairs well with: other books about sword and sorcery literature, comics and film. Especially, the books put out by Pulp Hero Press.