Life in Atlantis[edit | edit source]
Kull was born in Pre-cataclysmic Atlantis c. 20,000 BC. At the time Atlantis was ruled by barbarian tribes. East of Atlantis lay the ancient continent of Thuria, divided among several civilized kingdoms. Including among others Commoria, Grondar, Ramelia, Thule, and Verulia. Most powerful among these was Valusia. East of Thuria were located the islands of Lemuria.
He was native to a tribe settled in the Tiger Valley of Atlantis. However, the valley and his tribe were destroyed by a flood while Kull was still a toddler. He managed to survive and spend a few years as a feral child.
Kull was eventually captured by the Sea-Mountain tribe and was adopted into it. In Exile of Atlantis, an adolescent Kull attempts to prevent an execution and is consequently exiled from Atlantis.
Slave, pirate, outlaw and gladiator[edit | edit source]
The young warrior attempted to reach Thuria but was instead captured by the Lemurians. He spent a couple of years as a galley-slave before regaining his freedom during a mutiny.
Kull tried the life of a pirate between his late adolescence and his early twenties. His fighting skills and courage allowed him to become captain of his own ship. He set out creating a fearsome reputation for himself in the seas surrounding Atlantis and Thuria.
Kull lost his ship and crew in a naval battle off the coast of Valusia but once again survived. He settled in Valusia as an outlaw. His criminal career proved short-lived, as he was soon captured by the Valusians and imprisoned in a dungeon.
His captors soon offered him a choice: execution or service as a gladiator. He chose the latter. He proved an effective combatant and gained fame in the arenas of the capital. A number of fans helped him in regaining his freedom.
Soldier and King[edit | edit source]
However, Kull was not about to leave Valusia or return to the life of an outlaw. He joined the Royal army as a mercenary, pursuing elevation through military ranks. In The Curse of the Golden Skull, a Kull approaching his thirties is recruited by King Borna of Valusia in a mission against the ambitious sorcerer Rotath of Lemuria. Kull proves to be an effective assassin.
Borna promoted Kull into the general command of the mercenary forces. Borna himself, however, had gained a reputation for cruelty and despotism. Among the nobility, several were discontented with Borna's rule, and before long, civil war broke out. The mercenaries proved more loyal to Kull, allowing for the former slave to reach first for the leadership of the revolt, and then for the throne itself.
Kull killed Borna and took his throne whilst he was still in his early thirties. The Shadow Kingdom finds Kull having spent six months upon the Valusian throne and facing the first conspiracy against him.
The series continued with Kull finding that gaining the crown was easier than securing it. He faces several internal and external challenges throughout the series. The constant conspiring of his courtiers leaves Kull almost constantly threatened with loss of life and throne. The ageing King is ever more aware of the Sword of Damocles that he inherited along with the crown.
The series had several recurring characters. Arguably the best known was his trusted ally Brule the Spear-slayer (a Pre-cataclysmic Pict). There are also First Councillor Tu: a trusted administrator, but also a constant reminder of the tradition bound laws and customs of Valusia, and Ka-Nu, Pictish envoy and wise man, who is responsible for the friendship between Kull and Brule, who otherwise would rather have disliked each other... and his mortal enemy Thulsa Doom the sorcerer.
The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune finds Kull reaching his middle-forties and becoming progressively more introspective. The former barbarian is left lost in contemplations of philosophy. At this point the series ends. His fate is left uncertain.
Thuria, Lemuria and Atlantis alike fell to a cataclysm a few centuries after his reign. At least according to an essay of Howard concerning the origins of the Hyborian Age. Eight millennia after his time came Conan the Barbarian. Several secondary sources consider Conan to have been a reincarnation of the Valusian King.
Actually, Kull is Conan the Barbarian's direct literary forerunner. Conan's first story (both as a written piece and a published one) The Phoenix on the Sword is a rewriting of an earlier Kull story By this Axe, I rule, with less philosophy and more supernatural and action to make it more sellable... though many passages of both stories still match word for word.