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Brak the Barbarian

(Brak the Barbarian #1)

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  166 ratings  ·  20 reviews
A warrior forced to battle the evil that thwarts his destiny, Brak must combat sorcery and plagues as he journeys south to Khurdisan. Before reaching this paradise city, he must hack his way through obstacle after obstacle as he passes through unknown lands. But between his broadsword and heart he is able to overcome certain death at the hands of monsters like Septegundus ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published December 28th 2001 by (first published 1968)
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3.39  · 
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 ·  166 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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Mar 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s been a while since I’d read a full length old school sword & sorcery novel, and I have to say that this really hit the spot. This is a collection of loosely connect short stories arranged in chronological order. They are very much in the vein of Robert E. Howard’s Conan. These are the tales of high adventure of a barbarian from the north who meets with cultures, customs and civilizations that are strange and incomprehensible to him. He encounters dark magicks and strange supernatural fo ...more
Jun 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Straightforward Sword & Sorcery tales, with some literary flourishes here and there. The book is several short stories tied together chronologically. Jakes is a good writer, and the Brak stories move along at a good S&S pace.
S.E. Lindberg
Before John Jakes became known for historical fiction, he wrote a series of "clonans" (i.e. Conan-like heroes based off of Robert E. Howard's hero). Jake's hero was: Brak the Barbarian. In his introduction, Jake says he merely wanted to have more stories of the ones he liked. With a little more effort, he could have a really neat hero. Instead, he took a cookie cutter mold of Conan, stripped him free of specific goals, and set him on a general trip "south" toward Khurdisan, an apparently dreamy ...more
Fairly decent Conan-inspired sword and sorcery tales. Make no mistake, though, John Jakes is no Robert E. Howard. Here are some notes I have on this volume:

Almost every one of these stories starts off with Brak getting the shit beat out of him (in one story it is a sandstorm that does the beating, but I'll still count it).

Brak is very clumsy. It is quite common for him to trip over something and fall over when he is in combat. as an added bonus, he also falls into pits and pools of water pretty
Dec 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Here's some faint praise: better than the sequels. Not consumed by Jakes's excesses, anyways, though these lurk.

(These are, namely: that Brak is headed to Khurdisan with no real justification yet gives up much to continue; that Jakes plays with the order of narration to start in medias res and immediately flashes back to fill in the story; that Brak is frequently an observer or passive element in his own story; that he wears a must-be-disgusting lion pelt despite coming from the tundra and there
Oct 28, 2017 rated it liked it
A satisfying read but it is really showing its age now. Or maybe I've been influenced by reading more up to date Sword and Sorcey tales. I've just finished a couple of John Thanes brand new Sword and Sorcery stories and they really hit the mark. Shadow of the Barbarian: A Legend Will Rise
K. Axel
May 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Conan fans
Recommended to K. Axel by: Erik Mona
The Story...
Brak is a barbarian in the tradition of Robert E. Howard's Conan. He is a simple man who was exiled from his northern and slightly more savage homeland. Ever since hearing of Khurdisan the Golden, Brak has been wanting to see that place with his own eyes. This is what drives him south to warmer and more exotic lands.

Brak's life is one of endless adventure!

My Judgement...
As you can probably tell, this book is pretty straightforward. Brak owns a broadsword that is more often than n
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first discovered Brak (and Jakes, little knowing he was famous) via the entry in L. Sprague de Camp's "The Fantastic Swordsmen" collection. It was a clear-cut Conan-clone and it was well worth reading, so naturally I snatched up this all-Brak book when I found it at the paperback exchange.

It's sort of a novel and it's sort of a collection of stories, but what matters more is that Brak is an awesome barbarian dude is on a personal quest to reach a near-magical city and that he's got an evil pis
James Caterino
There may have been better Conan ripoffs during the Frazetta inspired Robert E. Howard Sword and Sorcery boom of the late 60's and 70's, but the Brak the Barbarian series was my favorite.

The Brak series lacks the visceral edge and fierce originality of Robert E. Howard's Conan stories. But John Jakes could always be counted on to craft a well structured, seductively readable adventure with colorful action. I also read some his Kent Family Chronicles historical soap opera novels and few of his ol
Benjamin Thomas
John Jakes, of course, is well known today for his popular historical fiction sagas such as the Kent Family Chronicles (Bicentennial series), the Crown Saga, and the North and South trilogy. But before he turned to that genre he was a pretty successful science fiction and fantasy author. As a great fan of Robert E. Howard, Jakes began writing his first Brak the Barbarian story in the 1960s, a Conan pastiche and homage to Howard.

Apparently it was fun to write so he continued on to write quite a
Jun 24, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
Dear god, what a hackneyed, awful series this is.

Even my junior high school self, which was mindless eating machine dedicated to consuming every book in its path, almost stalled out in the middle of this one.

I lost count of the times Brak, faced with some eldrich horror or wizened sorcerer, "bit his lip until it bled".

It was his default reaction to any unexpected events- I patiently waited for him to spill his flagon of mead, or trip on his scabbars and "bite his lip until it bled", but no such
Jul 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is the first book that John Jakes wrote about "Brak the Barbarian." It's a full length novel and I have a fond spot in my heart for it. It's clearly a Conan type story but I didn't mind that. The writing is more sparse and not as poetical as Robert E. Howard's work in Heroic Fantasy, but Jakes tells a good story that's worth reading.
Michael Sigler
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The stuff of pulpy fantasy legend.
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
These would read like a farce if Brak weren’t such a depressing oaf. He’s constantly tripping over, getting tangled in things, and of course, having his ass handed to him. At one point he is physically overpowered by an old man. He’s about as heroic as a mop. And even less fun.
Bryan Dyke
Dec 09, 2015 rated it liked it
For folks who like REH or Sword and Sorcery genre, this book is a worthy read. Jakes prose is much chunkier and coarse than REH or some others, but after a while it becomes serviceable and the stories clip along good enough. Jakes never promises these tales are anything but derivative fan-fiction, and, in this regard, he does not disappoint.

Within the tales, there’s a bit more cheese than REH, and readers should expect some simpler thrills. Even after I got used to the prose, I still would pause
Ed Wyrd
In the 1960s there was a new wave of interest in Sword and Sorcery, attributed to L. Sprague de Camp's editing and release of Robert E. Howard's Conan sagas. This opened the door for all sorts of new authors and characters from Michael Moorcock's Elric to John Jakes Brak the barbarian.

Jakes introduced his character Brak through short stories published in Fantastic and other pulps. "Brak the Barbarian" was his first novel based on the character, which is actually several interconnected short stor
Joe Santoro
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: epic-fantasy
I was very curious about this when I saw it.. I've read some of Jakes' generational fiction, and a Conan clone is VERY far from that. Sadly, this is not just a Conan clone (which he admits even in his prologue), but a medicore one. Brak is like a more savage, less competent Conan.. he is constantly captured and abused. It's kinda interesting that he's wandering because he got kicked out of his country, but that's not a story that's in this book.

Overall, not as bad as, say, Lin Carter's stuff, bu
Aug 05, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: conan fans, heroic fiction fans
It's pretty cheeseball so far, but curiously addiction. I kept thinking to myself - "I could be watching TV right now," and instead, I kept reading the book. I guess that says something. Not sure what.

I read a good portion on the book, enough to get a good sense of it. I'll probably pick it up again down the road, and if fortune presents me with sequels i'll probably feel impelled to buy them, because that's the kind of guy I am. Otherwise, it just is what it is.
This book was a lot of fun for any fan of Conan-type stories. Guilty pleasure.
Mark Hodder
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
One of of the better Conan clones, though Jakes lacks the opulent, vivid language of Robert E. Howard, resulting in a tale that has all the ingredients but insufficient flavour.
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John Jakes, the author of more than a dozen novels, is regarded as one of today’s most distinguished writers of historical fiction. His work includes the highly acclaimed Kent Family Chronicles series and the North and South Trilogy. Jakes’s commitment to historical accuracy and evocative storytelling earned him the title of “the godfather of historical novelists” from the Los Angeles Times and le ...more

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Brak the Barbarian (5 books)
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