Friday, September 12, 2014
Bran Mak Morn - The Last King!
Bran Mak Morn is an utterly fascinating character and one of the most mysterious created by Robert E. Howard. The Ballantine collection Bran Mak Morn - The Last King actually is a collection of not just Howard's Bran Mak Morn stories, but of his Pict stories in general.
Only three stories about Bran Mak Morn were published in Howard's lifetime, and only one, the outstanding "Worms of the Earth" is a full-fledged story from the Pictish king's perspective. Also included are "Kings of the Night" which co-stars Kull of Valusia and "The Dark Man" which showcases not Bran himself but his enigmatic statue which is the object of worship a thousand years after his death. One story rejected originally by Weird Tales was "Men of the Shadows" which lays out the Pictish history very nicely in a wonderful tale.
Also in this volume are some stories about Picts such as "The Lost Race", "The Little People", and "Children of the Night". There are lots of essays and background materials in this volume to flesh it out, all of it of keen interest to a Howard devotee.
Of all of Howard's burly heroes, the smaller dark king of the Picts seems in many ways the closest to the man himself.