I’ve been discussing the El Borak stories with some friends recently.
For the uninitiated, El Borak, whose real name is Francis Xavier Gordon, is a character that appeared in some of the last stories written by Robert E. Howard. An adventurer in a similar vein to Talbot Mundy’s JimGrim, Gordon’s always been one of my favorite characters, ever since I discovered an old paperback with a Chris Achilleos cover on a shelf in a bookstore, about thirty-five years ago.
The El Borak stories are tight adventure yarns, set along the Northwestern Frontier and in parts East.
Not the most popular character in Howard’s production, El Borak was a mature effort on the part of the author, a character that might have allowed Howard to grow in different directions.
But these are what-might-have-beens.
Six of the El Borak stories, including Lost Valley of Iskander, that really made an impression on sixteen-years-old me, are available online, having fallen in the public domain.
Here are the links to the versions on the Wikisource servers.
The Daughter of Erlik Khan (First published in Top-Notch, December 1934)
Hawk of the Hills (First appeared in Top-Notch, June 1935)
Blood of the Gods (First published in Top-Notch, July 1935)
The Country of the Knife (First published in Complete Stories, August 1936. Alternate title: Sons of the Hawk)
Son of the White Wolf (First published in Thrilling Adventures, December 1936)
The Lost Valley of Iskander (Alternate title: Swords of the Hills)