cover image El Borak and Other Desert Stories

El Borak and Other Desert Stories

Robert E. Howard, . . Del Rey, $16 (559pp) ISBN 978-0-345-50545-3

The late Howard (1906–1936) is best known for his sword-and-sorcery stories, but he was a prolific author whose work spanned many genres. This collection focuses on his Central Asian stories, offering 11 tales of derring-do along with various miscellanea and supplemental materials. Much of the book is devoted to Francis “El Borak” Gordon, an American caught up in the struggle among various imperial powers who seek control of the regions north of India. More self-centered adventurers like Kirby O’Donnell and Steve Clarney get fewer pages, but provide an interesting contrast with Gordon’s loyalty to his friends of all races. Many elements of these stories have aged badly, but Howard’s skill as a writer and his enthusiasm for the subject matter are undeniable. Illus. by Tim Bradstreet and Jim & Ruth Keegan not seen by PW . (Feb.)