Ok - Here's the rest of Offutt's great intro
The guy breathes in these pages. Kull ate and drank and cursed, lost his head and his temper, and I know dam' well he belched. A rather introspective man he is, seeking meaning--and a huge barbarian the while, sitting a throne as if it were his bauble, pouncing like a bright-eyed child on each new curiosity and diversion. The cares and duties of a monach are forgotten while Kull indulges himself and loses himself. He is readily diverted, unless he is rushing o save a friend or seeking vengeance. (And no villain gets off on a technicality. Nor is there any appeal. Scabbard justice reigns.)
This Herculean man with the sword-steel eyes and sword-scarred face and hands is readily, boyishly drawn into fascination with such as the bemusing cat of Delcardes, the strange, soul-sucking mirrors of Tuzun Thune...and then he is wholly absorbed and entranced by them-and at last enrapt to the exclusion of all else. Aye, mighty is King Kull--and more than once a clearer head has to save his bacon, for he is ever the boy. He is ever human.
Too, he is ever all too ready to go off alone, as to the Forbidden Lake and the eerily strange inhabitants of the Enchanted Land at its bottom. Then there was the time, as men said in the wineshops of Valusian, wagging their heads and making sure none of the undefeatable Red Slayers overheard, that ol' impetuous Kull rode clear across dthe continent after one woman of the nobility, and her nothing to him; she'd but piqued royal pride by fleeing her own land with a foreigh lover. Terrible, ridiculous behavior for a king!
But--who can identify with the perfect Arthur invented by Sir Walter Scott and others? Our king, the big barbarian, the people of Valusia must have vaunted, is human; he even loses his head and does the illogical and ridiculously dangerous...even as do you and I, stranger. Say naught here against our Kull!
The man even had heart. He shows it in these stories-some of them. He's partial to young lovers, and even smashes ancient tablets of the Law for them, dangerously declaring words to be echoed later in history by lesser men: I am the Law! I am the State!
Nor was Kull such a loner as the surlier Conan. Ka-Nu of Pictdom and civilized, conscientious Tu are ever hovering as advisers to the king. Pictish Brule the Spear-slayer, dark and blue-eyed (aye, Howard even Celticized this Pict!) with the ritual warriors' scars, is the king's constant companion, adviser, chess-playing friend, sword-comrade--and rescuer.
(Sword? Oh, aye, there's ever one at Kull's lean hip, even when he restlessly sits his ermined throne or strides the torchlit halls of his castle in crown and rich, gem-encrusted robes. Yet it is the ax he prefers; the dread bloody wedge of sharpened iron on a club, a savage basher of skulls and crusher of chests, rather than the more civilized slash-and-stage weapon of the sword.)
Kulll the King. King Kull.
They asked me to write this because, boyish as Kull, I am helplessly a fan of REH and have love in me for the big barbarian king from Atlantis. They know I want to write a novel about him, to wallow in the Pe-Catacylsmic world.
King Kull! Aye ye dog, ye lucky dog of a reader! If you're about to read these tales for the first time, I smile, for I remember, and I can identify with you, and feel empathy with you, and ...yes, even envy you!
Vive Kull! Long live the King!
--andrew j offutt, fan
There ye have it and now it's off to the store to find more REH and Offutt Kull books and bash with a sledgehammer any dogs who get in my way!http://en.wikipedia....ndrew_J._Offutt
Edited by THE KID, 26 February 2013 - 01:01 AM.
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