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Bran Mak Morn: The Last King

(Bran Mak Morn)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,421 ratings  ·  75 reviews
From Robert E. Howard’s fertile imagination sprang some of fiction’s greatest heroes, including Conan the Cimmerian, King Kull, and Solomon Kane. But of all Howard’s characters, none embodied his creator’s brooding temperament more than Bran Mak Morn, the last king of a doomed race.

In ages past, the Picts ruled all of Europe. But the descendants of those proud conquerors
Hardcover, 282 pages
Published December 31st 2001 by Wandering Star (first published September 1st 1969)
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A fantastic collection of stories, but in a different way than Howard's Conan.

Where reading Conan gives you the feeling of a man besting all of the odds and laughing in the face of danger, the Bran Mak Morn stories are more haunting and-in a way-sad. Bran is the king of a dying, deformed people that are quickly fading from the world. Where Conan attempts to tame the wild and laughs in the face of civilization, Bran desperately fights to keep the wild places free in the face of unstoppable
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Arguably the most doom-haunted of Howard's protagonists (because Bran Mak Morn is literally the last king of the Picts (Howard's somewhat ahistorical imagining of an aboriginal British race, although in some ways it was inspired by actual theories at the time), fighting an ultimately losing war against the Roman Empire's British outposts).

These are stories that kind of occupy the intersection of the Venn diagram between historical adventure fiction, sword & sorcery and horror -- the main
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert E. Howard’s tales about Bran Mak Morn and the Picts are typical of REH’s wonderful writing but with a strong emphasis on his themes of nationalism, tribalism, and “racialism.” This observation is not a criticism of REH. He wrote these stories in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and, the concept of racial traits and supposed advantages and superiorities of certain races were more acceptable in that era than now. Editor Rusty Burke summarizes these issues in the included “Notes on ...more
Benjamin Thomas
Before Conan, before Solomon Kane, and even before Kull of Atlantis, there was Bran Mak Morn, King of the Picts. In fact, Bran was the second main character ever developed by Robert E. Howard, second only to Francis X. Gordon (El Borak). This book contains several stories about Bran as well as numerous fragments, untitled/unsold stories, essays, letters (most notably to and from Weird Tales magazine and Howard’s buddy, H.P. Lovecraft), etc. that help to define REH’s life-long interest in the ...more
Oct 28, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of historical fiction and fantasy
Though these stories were first seen in pulp fiction magazines in the late 1920's and early 1930's, to dismiss them as "easy reading" is a mistake. Howard and his contemporaries wrote impressive works of literature that drew heavily on history, and referenced recurring fictional themes such as dark fantasy, eldritch magics, the horrors of the night and the undiscovered country, lost empires and cities such as Atlantis, and of course massive battles between iron-clad warriors with sword and ...more
While the rest of the world was obsessively reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this weekend, I was taking the time to finish off my latest venture into my growing REH collection. Nothing against Harry, mind you, but I had already started on Bran Mak Morn, and wanted to finish it off before I moved on to other things. Besides, the idea of over-caffeinating myself just to obsessively force myself through the end of the book sounds dreadfully unpleasant to my ears, and reading is supposed ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Also a pretty good read, anoter "for-runner" of Conan. Bran Mak Morn is the "last" King of the Picts. Howrd romanticized the Picts and used his fictionalized version of them in both the King Kull stories and some of his Conan adventures.

This is his foray into using "them" as the main character focus.

Again, Howard's gift for adventure comes to the fore and the only concern may be not getting blood splashed on your clothes from the page.
Dan Schwent
Bran Mak Morn is the last king of the Picts and will do whatever it takes to help his people. That's all you need to know going in.

I liked this omnibus about as much as the Kull one I read at the beginning of the year but not as much as Solomon Kane and definitely not as much as Conan. My favorite story in it is Worms of the Earth, where Bran makes a deal with some Lovecraftian beasties.

I enjoyed it and I'm glad I read it but I wouldn't consider Bran an essential read for Howard fans.
Tom Barnett
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Robert E. Howard was a great writer of heroic fiction of the pulp era. This is an a very enjoyable collection of stories.
Jul 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Bran Mak Morn is one of my favorite Howard characters. Great pieces here, including some of Howard's strongest.
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Everybody who knows Robert E Howard knows Conan. Some go on to read his Kull stories which were written earlier. But those characters are nearly the same, the difference in the works more due to Howard's maturing as a writer and giving Conan a bit more depth of character.

I like them all, but the Bran Mak Morn stories have a different feel. This character wasn't set up to be invincible like Conan and Kull. He was conceived from the beginning as a king who fought for his people's place in the
Willow Redd
May 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the way Howard writes his characters, they are intelligent warriors. He writes thinking men with a strong fighting spirit. They can often be drawn into a bloodlust, but it is typically when all else fails.

Here we have a collection of Howard's Pict, Bran Mak Morn; only, the title character doesn't appear as much as you would think. The first tale is more the tragic history of the Picts, followed by the appearance of Bran through the eyes of a Roman. It's not until "Worms of the Earth" that
A must read for Howard fans, but not so sure if other people need to pick this up.

The stories are reasonably good, but none of them I felt had the vitality of the Conan, Solomon Kane or even the Kull stories. These ones have a tendency of going off on a tangent and re-telling pretty much the same story of the Picts as a race in the middle of something else happening. The action is only sometimes on par with Conan, but the "historical" setting is a nice change from Kull and the Cimmerian.

At any
William King
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Don't let the fact that Pictish King Bran is one of Howard's minor heroes fool you. This book contains some of his best sword and sorcery. Howard's predilection for themes of illusion and reality is evident in the Kull crossover story Kings of the Night, and the Worms of the Earth is simply one of his strongest stories ever. Here, more than almost anywhere else, the power of Howard's prose and the depressive grandeur of his vision is evident. Bran is fighting a losing war against an invincible ...more
Riju Ganguly
Unlike Howard's other works which concentrate on action, horror, and adventure, these tales were more introspective. Perhaps those who look forward towards Howard's penmanship rather than his adrenaline-pumping narratives, would enjoy them. I found most of them rather tame in comparison to adventures of Conan or Solomon Kane. Besides, Thulsa Doom was s..u..c..h a damp squibb!
But, as usual, there are absolute jewels here which would blow you away. So go ahead.
Walk with Bran Mak Morn.
Timothy Boyd
Jul 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While this is my least favorite of Howard's characters, the action is still the best. An awesome unedited collection of all the Bran Mac Morn stories. Highly recommended
Apr 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: REH fans
I enjoyed this one, though it wasn't what I expected. Bran wasn't in enough of the stories.
short stories. some historic fantasy, some weird. i think i liked this better than some of the conan stuff by him that i grew up on.
Mar 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Howard was a true master of his craft - his Bran Mak Morn is the last of the ancient royal line of the Picts, facing the oppression of the Celts and the Romans as well as other, darker powers . . .
Viel Nast
Bran mak morn is a book about picts, or whatever was considered as picts by Howard. In his pseudo-history, he merges pieces of history, untestified material and his own theories that ended in a blur of stories where even the author himself doesn’t know what picts are! The hero bran mak morn has a couple of stories is referred in another few but basically, the book is about antique creatures that occupied ancient and medieval Britain. The stories are not good, not good at least by Howard’s ...more
Stuart Dean
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of short stories, some of which feature Bran Mak Morn, all of which feature the Picts. Bran Mak Morn is a good character, a brooding king trying to drag his people up out of barbarism while fighting a doomed war against Rome. The Pict stories cover all of REH's career, so the stories are a bit uneven. Sometimes the Picts are mutant dwarves living in caves, sometimes they are stout fighting men facing Vikings and the like, occasionally they are the blue people of British history. ...more
I read this through audio and I think it would have been better visually. I didn't know how the book was broken down till I was about half-way through.
Also I read it on a whim and it wasn't my style but I did appreciate it. I especially liked how they added the letters between the authors giving the "behind the scenes" of the creation of the writing.
There are three very good stories in this book. One of these is already in the Del Rey Kull book. It seems to me it wasn't enough material for a whole book. Still, I enjoyed reading those three. The rest are small minor stories and not among Howard's best.
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. My only complaint was the absence of "People of the Dark," which, although not a Bran Mak Morn tale, does contain elements similar to "The Children of the Night" and fits with the fate of the Picts.
Ace McGee
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: s-s
Great stories. Afraid I skipped the letters of Howard, all which sounded the same.
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
hese book needs no introduction. Bran Mak Morn was one of the famous characters created by the mythic Robert E Howard, the creator of Conan, Kull or Solomon Kane. It's quite amazing that some of these stories he had only 13 years old. And they are beautiful. I must say that the painter Gary Gianni was the right one to do the job. I've search some books with pictures of Bran Mak Morn and even Conan ones and this one was the better one. Trully beautiful. The history on this book as some not ...more
The richness invoked by Robert E. Howard's words was engrossing to me. All of the stories held well together by themselves; however, reading them as a whole didn't diminish the experience for me. A few favorites did emerge, imho, and those were: The Dark Man, Kings of the Night, and Worms of the Earth. The first containing a story well into the future, where despite Bran Mak Morn's earnest efforts the age of his people have come and gone. Black Turlogh, an Irish warrior who's the main character ...more
Fernando Rocha
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
amazing. Howard is the Master.
Joel Griswell
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah, REH, how I love thee! This book collects all of his stories about Mak Morn (and a few others merely concerning the Picts), including short stories, poems, and a number of unfinished works. It's interesting reading about REH's obsession with the Picts since early childhood, they were the one culture that stayed present throughout his whole writing career. Although obsessed with history and the real-life Pict's at-times very mysterious development, in his stories, REH also creates his own sort ...more
Nov 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, sf
Having never read Conan stories I decided to take a look at the works of a man considered to be a master storyteller and a writer that has triggered entire heroic-epic-fantasy concept (exaggeration perhaps but after reading this book I can say that he is very very good storyteller and writer). I took this book because everyone said that Howard was obsessed with Picts and that his stories about them were the best.[return][return]This one is a story of an ancient race, one that has ruled entire ...more
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Robert E. Howard ...: Thoughts on Bran Mak Morn 19 25 Jan 13, 2014 07:44PM  

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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

Other books in the series

Bran Mak Morn (5 books)
  • Worms of the Earth (Bran Mak Morn)
  • For the Witch of the Mists
  • The Dark Man
  • Bran Mak Morn: Legion From The Shadows (Bran Mak Morn)
“Time and times are but cogwheels, unmatched, grinding on oblivious to one another. Occasionally - oh, very rarely! - the cogs fit; the pieces of the plot snap together momentarily and give men faint glimpses beyond the veil of this everyday blindness we call reality.” 13 likes
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