El Borak

Francis Xavier Gordon
El Borak character
First appearance"The Daughter of Erlik Khan" (1934)
Created byRobert E. Howard
AliasEl Borak

El Borak, otherwise known as Francis Xavier Gordon, is a fictional character created by Robert E. Howard. Gordon was a Texan gunfighter from El Paso who had travelled the world and settled in Afghanistan. He is known in Asia for his exploits in that continent.

The character was originally created when Howard was only ten years old[1] but he did not see print until "The Daughter of Erlik Khan" in the December 1934 issue of Top-Notch. He is likely to have been inspired by real people such as Richard Francis Burton, John Nicholson, "Chinese" Gordon and Lawrence of Arabia as well as the fiction of Talbot Mundy.[2] One of the earliest surviving stories where he made an appearance was a story written by Howard when he was sixteen years old.[1] These stories, however, were not complete and the character itself faded from the author's consciousness for several years.[1] He was revived in 1933 together with another oriental adventurer, Kirby O'Donnell in stories published by Top-Notch, Complete Stories and Thrilling Adventures.[3]

Although Howard is best known for his fantasy fiction, the El Borak stories are straight adventure fiction and only "Three-Bladed Doom" contains a fantasy element.

The background of the El Borak stories is similar to that of the Conan the Barbarian story "The People of the Black Circle" in which Conan is a chieftain of a hill tribe in what corresponds to Afghanistan.

Character introduction

El Borak is the central character of the series, frequently attempting to minimise tribal wars and conflict in the region through guile or direct violence.

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