If my memory serves me (and that is becoming more problematic as each year passes), I first read this work in either 1958 or 1959. The edition I read, the one being reviewed here, hit the stands in 1953 and sold for .40 cents. Even in 1958 this was a Kingly sum. Anyway, I still have that old book and recently while digging through ancient boxes moldering in my attic I "rediscovered," and I must tell you that I enjoyed this current reading as much as I did the first way back when.
If you take Indiana Jones and his adventures and then take John Carter and throw attributes into the mix along with just a bit of mystic interference from Gods and such...think Homer, then you will get the picture.
Matt Carse, our hero, is a sort of futuristic Indiana Jones...investigating and digging through interplanetary ruins in a sort of mercenary sort of way, far in the future. Now while rummaging through places he should not have been digging on the now barren planet of Mars, his body is sort of inhabited by a mythical "god" and Carse is placed into the position of having to fight all this ancient beings battles allover again. Enter the personification of John Carter!
There is much swashbuckling action, maidens to rescue (Although the maid in this adventure is a bit different that some of the young ladies Burroughs gave us and actually did not need all that much rescuing - truth be told). The action is swift and graphic and the author keeps the story moving right a long which is expected in this sort of work. Of course we have an extra factor thrown in with this adventure with the fact that Matt Carse is not only fighting his own battles, but he is also battling for Earth's future! Good grief! The pressure!
In the few novels in this genre Leigh Brackett wrote, she has been favorably compared to ERB. I cannot deny, despite being a loyal Burroughs follower, that the lady sure came pretty close as to story line, and most certainly writing skills. In my opinion Brackett does a much better job with dialog than Burroughs, and is funny to boot. If you enjoyed the John Carter of Mars series, then you most certainly will enjoy this one.
Do note though that with all books of this sort, the reader must gear up their credulity a bit but I will tell you that Brackett handles this aspect of the fantasy of that era better than most. There is logic to what she writes if you do not examine it too closely...hey, just read it and enjoy it.