Robert E. Howard’s Desert Adventures Returning to Print Essay

As announced on

Paradox Entertainment is happy to announce that the next book in the Robert E. Howard library of classics, published by Del Rey, will bring readers to Egypt, the Middle East, and Central Asia as we follow the adventures of Francis X. Gordon (“El Borak”) and Kirby O’Donnell. The book will be illustrated by renowned artist Michael Kaluta, among other things known for “The Shadow” (DC Comics), “Starstruck” (Marvel), and the 1994 J.

R.R. Tolkien Calendar. Kaluta is no stranger to illustrating Robert E. Howard since he illustrated El Borak and Kirby O’Donnell in the FAX editions from the mid-1970’s, as well as created concept art for the upcoming animated feature “Conan: Red Nails”. Rusty Burke continues to helm the role as series editor.

Francis X. GordonGordon is called “El Borak” – the Swift – by the untamed tribesmen of Central Asia and the Middle East. The nickname describes his speed with sword and revolver, the latter skill perfected in an earlier career as a Texas gunman. A freelance adventurer who occasionally hires on with the British Secret Service to foil Russia’s imperialistic designs north of the Khyber Pass, Gordon sometimes rides into trouble alone, sometimes with a small band of dedicated friends. In the fearsome Land of Ghouls, he infiltrates and shatters a resurgent band of outlaws who have attempted to revive the brotherhood of the Assassins. In the corpse-choked Pass of Swords, he throws off his disguise as “Shirkuh,” a killer for hire, to foil the sinister Black Tigers.

When WW1 explodes, he follows the call of duty southward to fight alongside Lawrence of Arabia.Kirby O’DonnellLike Gordon, Kirby O’Donnell is a restless American who has found his true home on the far borders of High Tartary. Armed with the fighting-knife called the kindhjal and cloaked in the assumed identity of “Ali El Ghazi,” a Kurdish soldier of fortune, O’Donnell follows a legend of vast treasure to the forgotten city of Shahrazar. He finds the fortune, then consigns it to destruction so as to prevent it from igniting a conflagration across Central Asia.

But another fabulous hoard awaits, the ruby-encrusted idol known as the Blood-stained God; it is O’Donnell’s for the taking, in the rugged hills beyond the Crag of Eagles — if he can survive multiple double-crosses to claim it!

Per Rusty, the volume will not include the large amount of El Borak material published in the Cryptic chapbooks during the 1980s.  Since this material was written by REH when he was a mere teenager, it should be considered juvenilia. Also, much of it is incomplete and only of interest to the most die-hard fans.

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  Rusty hopes to have it published (possibly by the Howard Foundation) at the same time as the Del Rey book.However, you are going to have to wait two years since it’s currently slated to appear in February 2010.


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