Publisher Castalia House and Bounding Into Comics are proud to share with you an exclusive first look at Chuck Dixon’s upcoming second Conan the Barbarian novel, Caravan of the Damned.

Caravan of the Damned Draft Cover Art by Ademir (2023), Castalia House

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Caravan of the Damned sees Conan leading a large band of merciless bandits across the bone-dry wastelands of the Zuagir, where he doesn’t hesitate to attack even the most well-guarded caravans. In fact, Conan relishes the challenge surmising that the greater the risk usually means the greater reward.

However, some treasures might be too dangerous to keep a lesson Conan quickly realizes after his bandits ambush a royal Turanian caravan to the court of Hadranor.

Not only will the book see Conan leading his bandits on raids through the wastelands of the Zuagir, but hidden in the sands of the deepest desert are horrors too dreadful for even the most fearless barbarian to imagine.

Caravan of the Damned (2023), Castalia House

Dixon, who is no stranger to writing Conan having penned numerous stories for Marvel Comics in comic book form in Savage Sword of Conan, shared with Bounding Into Comics what readers can expect from the second novel, “Caravan of the Damned is set in the time when Conan was a desert reiver. I wanted the challenge of writing a story that was an extended chase. It’s unlike anything I ever wrote for Savage Sword.”

Dixon elaborated, “The fun for me is restricting myself to to the vocabulary and writing form that Howard used. I don’t want any jarring stylistic anachronisms to take the reader out of the story. If I’ve succeeded here, the story should read like it would have been perfectly at home in an issue of Weird Tales.”

Caravan of the Damned (2023), Castalia House

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Dixon previously made it a point to note he was trying to mimic Howard’s prose style when he discussed the first novel, The Siege of the Black Citadel, with Bounding Into Comics, “I was totally immersed in Howard’s bravura writing style as an adolescent. I liked the challenge of creating a new Conan story written in that style.”

He added, “So, much of Howard’s prose relied on the reader to create vivid images in their own imaginations as they read. I really wanted to see if I could inspire that same brand of wild visuals.”

Caravan of the Damned (2023), Castalia House

Readers are going to get some assistance in that department this time around as Caravan of the Damned features illustrations by Ademir.

In fact, Castalia House informs Bounding Into Comics, that a second edition of The Siege of the Black Citadel, which will is already currently available in paperback and will soon be available in hardback, features new illustrations as well as new cover artwork. An example of one of the illustrations for The Siege of the Black Citadel can be seen below.

The Siege of the Black Citadel (2023), Castalia House

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Now, to what you all have been waiting for. The exclusive excerpt from Dixon’s Caravan of the Damned:

These were the wolves of the Zuagir. Bandits and worse. They sat waiting in the shadows cast by their ground-reined horses. Men in mufti and soft-soled boots. Some leaned on the hafts of long lances. Others busied themselves by restringing sinew bows.  A few dozed, heads lowered to rest on crossed arms set atop their knees.  A mixed band of cutthroats and thieves that were the sweepings of the fleshpots, the chafe of the hinterlands, the refuse of ports all along the coast of the Vilayet Sea. Fatherless scum. Men of no tribe.  Men who found a purpose in banditry and a talent for slaughter. They came from every corner of the world. Hillmen of Drujistan, deserters from Turan, brigands out of Zamora and Khoraja. These were men with prices on their heads from across the southern kingdoms, emirates, and khanates. For better or ill, they were Conan’s sword brothers and looked to him as their chieftain for as long it suited him. Or them.

The paperback and ebook for Caravan of the Damned is expected to go on sale later this month in September. Both the hardcover for Caravan of the Damned and The Siege of the Black Citadel are expected to go on sale in October.

The Siege of the Black Citadel paperback versions is currently on sale. You can grab the paperback version from Castalia’s store.

The Siege of the Black Citadel (Arkhaven), 2023

What do you make of this excerpt? Do you plan on picking up Caravan of the Damned when it arrives?

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  • About The Author

    John F. Trent
    Founder and Editor-in-Chief

    John is the Editor-in-Chief here at Bounding Into Comics. He is a massive Washington Capitals fan, lover of history, and likes to dabble in economics and philosophy.