“Howard’s writing seems so highly charged with energy that it nearly gives off sparks.”
“Robert E. Howard had a gritty, vibrant style–broadsword writing that cut its way to the heart, with heroes who are truly larger than life.”
In a meteoric career that spanned a mere twelve years, Robert E. Howard single-handedly invented the genre that came to be called sword and sorcery. From his fertile imagination sprang some of fiction’s most enduring heroes. Yet while Conan is indisputably Howard’s greatest creation, it was in his earlier sequence of tales featuring Kull, a fearless warrior with the brooding intellect of a philosopher, that Howard began to develop the distinctive themes, and the richly evocative blend of history and mythology, that would distinguish his later tales of the Hyborian Age.
Much more than simply the prototype for Conan, Kull is a fascinating character in his own right: an exile from fabled Atlantis who wins the crown of Valusia, only to find it as much a burden as a prize.
This groundbreaking collection, lavishly illustrated by award-winning artist Justin Sweet, gathers together all Howard’s stories featuring Kull, from Kull’s first published appearance, in “The Shadow Kingdom,” to “Kings of the Night,” Howard’s last tale featuring the cerebral swordsman. The stories are presented just as Howard wrote them, with all subsequent editorial emendations removed. Also included are previously unpublished stories, drafts, and fragments, plus extensive notes on the texts, an introduction by Howard authority Steve Tompkins, and an essay by noted editor Patrice Louinet.
“Howard was a true storyteller–one of the first, and certainly among the best, you’ll find in heroic fantasy. If you’ve never read him before, you’re in for a real treat.”
–Charles de Lint
“For stark, living fear . . . what other writer is even in the running with Robert E. Howard?”
–H. P. Lovecraft
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As some cover blurbs so rightly state, "Before Conan--there was Kull!" The warrior Kull was yet another popular creation of pulp writer Robert E. Howard (1906-1936), generally credited as the originator of the subgenre heroic fantasy. Yet Kull should not be dismissed as second-rate Conan. (Although Howard did transform a few unsold Kull adventures into those of Conan the Cimmerian when the later series took off with the public.) Set in ancient, lost Atlantis, the Kull stories take place mostly after the barbarian has already come to power as King Kull of Valusia. What makes these scant dozen stories most memorable is Howard's heightened style of mystical decadence, similar here to his Weird Tales contemporary, Clark Ashton Smith. Rest assured there's enough gruesome bloodletting and wanton savagery to satisfy the most ardent Howard reader. (Variant editions of this collection have been published over the years, with the uncompleted stories finished posthumously by Lin Carter. Other editions have simply presented the few story fragments as untouched--and unadulterated--Robert E. Howard.) --Stanley WiaterAbout the Author:
Robert E. Howard is one of the most prolific short story writers in American history, and has created such beloved characters as Conan the Barbarian, Kull of Atlantis, Soloman Kane, Bran Mak Morn, El Borak, and Dark Agnès de Chastillon. He tragically passed away in 1936.
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