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Kull (Robert E. Howard Series, Vol II)
ISBN 0671876732 / 9780671876739 / 0-671-87673-2
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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 Wiater [via]