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Kull

(The Robert E. Howard Library #2)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  2,483 ratings  ·  130 reviews
KULL

KING OF KINGS

On the throne of Valusia sits the dauntless king of barbarian days, Kull, savage outlaw, fierce gladiator, soldier, commander and king of kings who dreamed of golden destiny. Now the dream has become reality, great Kull has slain the despotic King Borna, ripped the crown from his gory head, and mounted his throne as ruler of Valusia, land of dreams,
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Mass Market Paperback, 190 pages
Published September 1978 by Bantam Books (first published 1967)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Dan Schwent
Mar 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here we are again; another installment of Dangerous Dan's Book Reviews, because after all, you can only hide from the law in a brothel for so long before the girls start demanding payment for services rendered.

Today I'll be reviewing a short story entitled Kings of the Night by the one and only Robert E. Howard. Kings of the Night can be found in both Kull: Exile of Atlantis and Bran Mak Morn: The Last King. That's because it stars both of the title characters.
"How can that be?" you ask. Kull
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Jim
Read by Todd McLaren & downloaded from my public library. You rock, Library!

The introduction by Steve Tompkins is long, over 30 minutes. Almost immediately, he puts down ERB's John Carter. He said something about Carter's ego being so big that Helium, the city he rules, is well named. Seriously? He crapped on ERB's character?!!! I'll bet most Kull & Conan fans like John Carter, too. I do, although not as much, but that's just unnecessarily rude. It's not a contest about whose sword is
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Terence
Jun 04, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: REH fans
Shelves: sf-fantasy
I first read Howard's Kull stories on a trip home from college one Christmas. My brother had picked up a used copy (a very used copy) of a paperback collection, which was falling apart in my hands as I read.

My initial reaction was one of disappointment. Perhaps, at that time, I was looking for a more Conan-like story. Whatever the case, when I was building my GR library, I gave these stories but 2 stars. I'm glad that I took advantage of a SF Book Club sale to pick up this reissue of the series
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Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, action
Good reliable sword and sorcery. Kull the barbarian king of Atlantis kicking butt and having his scribe take names.

In the introduction of the book our organizer of stories goes to great length to tell us that Kull isn't really Howard's warm up for Conan.

Look I know I don't have a degree and I'm not an authority but at least to a certain extent I have to disagree. Kull is where Conan goes. There is a more complete feeling (for me at least) in the Conan stories.

Still this is a good read and like
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Bookwraiths
My rating is 3.5 stars. Full review to come. My main feeling about this one is that I really like Kull and his close companions, but the incomplete stories were difficult to read at times.
Eric
“You have power, Kull,” said he, choosing his words with more care than he did in the council rooms of the nation, “to make yourself mightiest of all kings, and restore some of the lost glories of Valusia. So. I care little for Valusia—though the women and wine be excellent — save for the fact that the stronger Valusia is, the stronger is the Pict nation. More, with an Atlantean on the throne, eventually Atlantis will become united—”

Kull laughed in harsh mockery. Ka-nu had touched an old wound.

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Mike (the Paladin)
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, action
Good reliable sword and sorcery. Kull the barbarian king of Atlantis kicking butt and having his scribe take names.

In the introduction of the book our organizer of stories goes to great length to tell us that Kull isn't really Howard's warm up for Conan.

Look I know I don't have a degree and I'm not an authority but at least to a certain extent I have to disagree. Kull is where Conan goes. There is a more complete feeling (for me at least) in the Conan stories.

Still this is a good read and like
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Benjamin Thomas
Several years ago I began what has become a tradition in my reading life. At the beginning of the year I start a new volume in the excellently produced Robert E. Howard collections (Del Rey) reading a single short story/novella each Saturday morning, usually before the rest of the family gets out of bed. It’s a sort of “me” time. I get through an entire collection over about three months and really feel like I absorb the stories rather than just reading one right after the other. This year I ...more
Simon
Dec 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, this is certainly one for the Howard completists. Not that it is only such readers who would be interested in this. It is also great for those who just want to read about another of Howard's characters, those who want a change from Conan, although of all of them Kull is probably the most Conon like. If one ignores the various incomplete fragments and unfinished drafts, most of these stories are top notch, up there with his best work.

These are stories of Kull, of Atlantis, barbarian and
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Michael
Howard's stories about Kull of Atlantis are generally more reflective than his better-known Conan tales, and have an air of melancholy that, personally, I think contrasts well with the more conventional "hack-and-slash" elements.

Although Kull's world is not as fleshed out as Conan's Hyborian Age, this works to the tales' advantage, as it adds to the age-lost mystery and atmosphere of degeneracy of a world in its last throes, about to be washed away by geological upheavals, a slate wiped clean
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Erik
This collection of related stories was way more awesome than I had expected. I essentially started reading it on a whim, as I had stol– ahem, borrowed the full Robert Howard series from my father’s bookshelves but had promptly forgotten about them once they were on mine. But the other day I was bored and noticed them and said Hey, I love the Conan films (the snake palace / harem scene, my god! So well done! Not the battle itself but the stealth infiltration / build up to it. It was like a ...more
Aaron Meyer
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First time reading this volume but I have read most of the Kull stories at one time or another before. What I do like about this is that all the fragmentary stories, poetry, and many drafts are all brought together into one place for everybody to see. In the appendix there is an essay by Patrice Louinet called "Atlantean Genesis" which talks about the development of Kull from Am-ra and how over time as Howard became estranged from writing Kull stories you see Kull evolve into Conan. This volume ...more
Charles
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
There were times when I've liked Kull as a character more than Conan. He seems more thoughtful at times, but overall there's no doubt that Conan is a more consistent, and in that sense more believable, character. Still, it's nice to have this collection of all the Kull stories, as well as some fragments and drafts, because it shows us a lot about the development of Howard's characters across his writing life.
Cwn_annwn_13
Kull was Robert E Howards pre-Conan sword and sorcery character so you could make a case that Kull is where the fantasy genre began. Kull follows a formula similar to the Conan stories where the stories often resemble horror and/or Lovecraft stories as much as fantasy. However Kull, while similar to Conan, is a very different character also. He is more of a silent brooding character than the more wild barbaric Conan. Through might Kull has become King of a mighty empire but must deal with ...more
William Gerke
A collection of some of Howard's earliest stories. "The Shadow Kingdom" is a masterpiece (and worth reading the closing essay to understand what Howard was doing with this story and it's relationship to the Biblical Saul). The remainder of them are erratic in quality but interesting as a window into the past as Howard develops the vibrant style that would characterize the Conan stories. The inclusion of "Kings of the Night" only highlights the contrast, as it is a later story featuring two other ...more
Jim
This Lancer edition has cover art by Frazetta & all the original Howard fragments finished up by DeCamp & Carter (I think). I read this first & always liked their take on the stories the best.

Kull is a predecessor to Conan - the same kind of guy. He's a barbarian that took over the country by his honor & fighting skills.

One story is almost identical to a Conan story - the one where the king is attacked in his bed chamber & kills them all. He stands sorely wounded with an ax
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Derek
Except for the introductory story "Exile of Atlantis", they all operate consistently and common themes repeat. Kull is king, and trouble either comes to him or he goes looking for it. A young couple wish to marry despite social barriers. Kull stands on the brink of otherworldly knowledge.

I wonder if Howard ditched the character because the stories were running out of gas. The Conan series as he originally wrote them had greater diversity in terms of plot and setting.
Teo
Jan 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"Kull: Exile of Atlantis” is Del Rey’s collection of all Robert E. Howard’s Kull yarns, given life not only by the author’s vivid writing, but also illustrator Justin Sweet’s magnificent artwork. Kull, a barbarian, and exile of Atlantis that is later to become Valusia’s most fabled King, is often cited as a Conan prototype and literary forerunner – which is indeed true as, ironically, the last Kull story – “By This Axe I Rule!” was later rewritten as “The Phoenix on the Sword” which is both the ...more
Zare
Nov 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kull seems to be something like a blueprint for the later Conan. He is a barbarian but unlike Conan he does not try to solve everything with his sword. He uses his brains and one can almost feel his disgust with all the plotting and scheming around him that will only make him react with more force and more blood spilling. [return]He can easily be put aflame by disrespect of others and then there is no way that he will cool off without taking his revenge (in one tale he is even ready to go to the ...more
Doug Dandridge
May 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always loved Robert E Howard from the time I found my older brother's Lancer books when I was a child. Conan was of course a favorite, but my imagination was always captured by the Atlantean King Kull, a barbarian who rule the fabled kingdom of Valusa back in the dawn of time. Kull was a more intellectual hero than Conan, always brooding about the metaphysical world, but still ready and able to swing a sword in order to crush a tyrant or kill a wizard who threatened his rule. I bought ...more
Craig
Oct 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Kull stories tend to be somewhat overlooked in the wake of Conan and Solomon Kane and some of Howard's other work, but they're good, interesting adventures. Kull tends to be more introspective and less consistent than Conan, and his character is never quite as clearly defined. This comprehensive audio version is comprised of ten discs, including a lengthy introduction and afterword, and draft versions as well as the final versions of some of the stories. It's good for completists, but those ...more
David
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Out of the various heroic incarnations Howard produced in his short but fruitful career, Kull is a bright spark that comes and goes all too quickly. Only three Kull stories were ever published in Howard's lifetime, so to read a collection containing unpublished works starring him is a real treat. Kull is like Conan in a lot of respects, but bears a philosophical side that gives him a more brooding aspect. I recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys swords and sorcery fiction, combat scenes, ...more
Dean Eizenberg
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apart from the stories which are energetic and fun in their own right, what impressed me most about this edition was the biographical account at the end based on Howard's correspondence from letters to the Weird Tales publishers and other authors about his ideas and stories. This set me on a wild fantasy of my own, imagining what it was like in the Pre-Cataclysmic Atlantian days to write a letter and send it through the post. Crazy I know.

As for the stories, for anyone interested in the genre,
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David
Fun read, not his best but a good early effort.

Raymond
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kull is often considered a mere prototype to Conan and while the story 'By this Axe I Rule' was indeed rewritten as a Conan story the Kull stories are still very much their own thing. They're less action-oriented and more focused on intrigue, mystery and philosophy, and the setting itself is entirely alien and not based on psuedo-historical precursors to ancient and medieval states like Hyboria. In the essay 'The Hyborian Age' however it is described as a precursor to the Hyborian world, but ...more
Charles
Jul 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The Kull stories are more reflective than Howard's Conan tales, and than some of his other heroic fantasy characters. Thus, they often move a bit slower. But they are still filled with Howard's trademarked description and his energy. Good stuff.
Nathan Shumate
Not as good as the last time I read it, but I'm not sixteen anymore. Robert E. Howard was like the Grandma American fantasy: primitive and self-taught, but energetic and primal.
Max
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a pretty good collection of stories featuring a very entertaining character. Kull, as the title states, is an Atlantian exile, but one from an age when Atlantis is a barbaric continent rather than a hyper-advanced one. He has travelled to the mainland and become king of Valusia, the greatest of the ancient and decadent Seven Empires, but being a barbarian, Kull spends as much or more time fighting people as he does actually ruling. Kull is, of course, a sort of prototype for Conan, but ...more
Brendan
Feb 03, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Read about half of this as a fill-in while waiting for holds to come in at the library. Holds came in, so I'm not finishing. Most of these stories were not published during Howard's lifetime, but, to be fair, that's only because they are not very good. If you are familiar with Conan or Solomon Kane stories, you know that they vary pretty widely in quality. These are worse than all of those.

"The Shadow Kingdom" is the exception--it moves quickly and sets up a really cool and interesting scenario
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Isidore
So, here's old Kull again, every last little scrap of him, from drafts of drafts to false starts and tiny story fragments.

Reading (or rereading) all of this in one gulp leaves me siding with Farnsworth Wright. The three stories he published (including Kull's guest star appearance in "Kings of the Night") are by far the best work here, with "The Shadow Kingdom" the most outstanding. Kull's metaphysical musings and the prevailing mood of unreality, dread, and obsession in the published stories
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Actually, a complete edition? 2 7 Jun 08, 2019 09:03AM  
Robert E. Howard ...: Kull: Exile of Atlantis 29 29 Mar 14, 2016 07:44PM  
The Striking Of The Gong 1 3 Feb 26, 2013 02:40PM  

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1,834 followers
Robert Ervin Howard was an American pulp writer of fantasy, horror, historical adventure, boxing, western, and detective fiction. Howard wrote "over three-hundred stories and seven-hundred poems of raw power and unbridled emotion" and is especially noted for his memorable depictions of "a sombre universe of swashbuckling adventure and darkling horror."

He is well known for having created — in the
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Other books in the series

The Robert E. Howard Library (6 books)
  • Cormac Mac Art (The Robert E. Howard Library, Vol. I)
  • Bran Mak Morn: The Last King
  • Eons of the Night
  • Trails in Darkness
  • Beyond The Borders (The Robert E. Howard Library, Vol. VII)
“The more I see of what you call civilization, the more highly I think of what you call savagery!” 70 likes
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