“The Shunned Castle” is an unfinished tale by Robert E. Howard that blends adventure with elements of mystery. Set in a dense, jungle-covered landscape, the story follows Frank Gordon, known as El Borak, and his younger companion, Steve Allison, as they encounter the mysterious and foreboding ruins of an ancient castle. Unique in Howard’s oeuvre, this narrative features the rare team-up of two of his well-known characters, each bringing their own skills and personalities to the unfolding adventure.

A team-up of different Howard characters. Today we would probably call them crossovers. El Borak teams up with the Sonora Kid. Never published in Howard’s lifetime.


As night approaches in the jungle, Frank Gordon and Steve Allison, both seasoned adventurers, discuss the lack of tigers they have encountered, despite their abundance in the area. They spot what appears to be a castle or temple through the trees, deciding it could offer shelter for the night despite Steve’s reservations about sleeping in the jungle.

Upon nearing the structure, they encounter a terrified native wood-cutter who warns them against the castle, mumbling about djinns, devils, and Moslems associated with Janir Khan. Despite the man’s dire warnings and quick escape, Gordon decides they should continue towards the castle.

As they approach, they meet an old Indian man near the castle, who reacts with recognition when Gordon introduces himself as El Borak. Entrusted with their horses, the old man reluctantly agrees to take them to his village for safekeeping, though he too warns the pair about the dangers of the castle.

Ignoring the warnings, Gordon and Allison decide to investigate the castle themselves. They discover the drawbridge is unstable, managing to jump across a moat to enter the castle grounds. Inside, they find the castle largely in ruins but still structurally imposing. When Allison attempts to open the massive gate, Gordon stops him, suggesting a safer route over the wall. After safely navigating into the courtyard, Gordon’s cautious push causes the gate to collapse, confirming his suspicions of danger.

Inside the castle, the atmosphere is tense and eerie, with both men on high alert for any signs of the supernatural or human threats hinted at by the villagers. As they explore the decrepit halls and chambers, the sense of a lurking presence grows, setting the stage for a night filled with unexpected encounters and revelations about the castle’s dark history.


  • Frank Gordon (El Borak): A seasoned adventurer known for his skills in wilderness survival and combat. He leads the expedition into the jungle and the castle, showing a deep understanding of and respect for the local cultures and legends.
  • Steve Allison: A younger companion of Gordon, skilled but less experienced. He follows Gordon’s lead and provides a lighter, sometimes skeptical perspective on their dangerous environment.
  • Native Wood-Cutter: A local Indian who first warns the pair about the castle, frightened by something he encountered while cutting wood nearby.
  • Old Indian Man: Another local who recognizes Gordon by his nicknames and reluctantly agrees to care for their horses while warning them of the castle’s dangers.

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