on 18 November 1998
If I had to be stuck on a desert island with only ten books, the Barsoomian trilogy (Princess of Mars, Gods of Mars, and Warlord of Mars) would be three of them. Warlord wraps up the tale as Carter takes up the trail of the incomparable Dejah Thoris, following her captors to the hidden cities of the polar regions, culminating in a battle that settles the future of Barsoom. All the breathless adventure, daring swordplay, hairsbreadth escapes, and dry humor you could ask for. Even more in control of his material than in the other two excellent volumes, Burroughs challenges himself both to keep in the established material about Barsoom and still invent new elements. If you have not read the Barsoomian trilogy, and you love SF adventure, buy it NOW! You will re-read it with delight the rest of your life.
Edgar Rice Burroughs did not intended to write a trilogy, but his 1914 pulp novel “The Warlord of Mars” completes the story begun in “A Princess of Mars” and continued in “The Gods of Mars” and finally brings John Carter and his beloved Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium (i.e., no cliffhanger this time around, boys and girls). The story picks up six months after the conclusion of “The Gods of Mars,” with our hero not knowing whether she is dead or alive in the Temple of the Sun of the Holy Therns where he last saw here with the blade of Phaidor was descending towards her heart as the evil Issus, queen of the First Born, had locked his mate in a cell that would not open for another year. However, it turns out that the exiled leader of the Therns has reached the trapped women to rescue his daughter and to seek revenge on Carter for exposing his evil cult.
The focus of “The Warlord of Mars” is on Carter’s relentless pursuit of the villainous Thurid who have taken his beloved princess from the south pole of Barsoom across rivers, desert, jungles, and ice to the forbidden lands of the north in the city of Kadabra where the combined armies of the green, red and black races attack the yellow tribes of the north, thereby justifying the book’s title. It is interesting to note that Carter’s heroics in this novel have the same sort of over the top implausibility we find in contemporary Hollywood blockbusters as ERB pours on the action sequences one on top of another. Whether he is scaling towers in the dark of night or surviving in a pit for over a week without food and water, John Carter is a manly hero in the great pulp fiction tradition of which ERB was an admitted master. Overall, the Martian series is Burrough’s best work, avoiding the repetition that overwhelmed his Tarzan series and providing a lot more creativity (ever play Martian chess?). There is also, Dejah Thoris, one of the great names in science fiction history.
on 20 April 2000
When I was 22 I was working for a spell in Rhodesia and came across one of the John Carson on Mars series, well I enjoyed it so much I went out of my way to collect the whole series and I enjoyed every one of them, but when I was moving house I must have either chucked them out by mistake or missplaced them but now I am looking forward to collecting them again and will start with the Mars Triology
on 8 November 2012
This title in the chronicles of John Carter has aged very well. The storyline is good, though predictable. As Space-Opera/Fantasies go it has all of the staple ingredients - A hero who faces danger, escapes from impossible situations and/or horrible creatures, chases his enemies tirelessly across half a planet, gets the girl, etc. ect. Even so I found the book to be a good 'page-turner', As are all of the titles I have read in this series. Considering that the book is one of many free titles available for my Kindle, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and would recommend the title to anyone who enjoys reading a good 'Space-Opera/Fantasy'.
We rejoin John Carter six months after the last book ends – six months after the cliffhanger which left him separated from his wife Dejah Thoris as she was locked in a revolving prison with two other women, one of whom has promised to kill her. It will be another six months before the prison opens and John Carter learns what has happened during that time.
He has taken to standing watch in the shadows around the temple, and that is how he spots Thurid leaving the temple under cover of darkness. Intrigued and concerned, he follows Thurid only to find him meeting up with Matai Shang. Both are mortal enemies of John Carter and all that he loves. An overheard conversation about a secret way into the prison holding Dejah Thoris and the others sparks John on a quest that will take him all over Mars in an attempt to be reunited with his beloved wife. Will he overcome incredible odds to do so?
When I hit the cliffhanger of the second book in the series, I really did intend to get to this book sooner and find out what happens next, yet it still took me this long. Fortunately, there is a good summary of what has happened to remind us and bring new comers up to speed.
The plot is a little repetitive with John Carter facing overwhelming odds and always just missing his happy ending. Likewise, the characters are fairly flat, even John, who narrates the story first person.
And yet I enjoyed it. The action is fairly steady across the entire book and I was into the story to want to see justice done. It’s worth a quick read if the story interests you. It’s like an early action story that and if you go in expecting a written action movie on a different planet, you’ll be just fine.
Despite the flaws, this book is fun. It’s nothing I would rush out to reread, but I am glad I finally got to see this part of John Carter’s story.
on 14 February 2015
The first three books in this series have inspired many other writers to, either simulate to a degree, or produce their own great works is review enough. Though sometimes the reader can be frustrated at the main character for his naivety, you must remember that it was written in 1911/1912, and that, a lot, if not most of sci fi that we have become used to have been influenced in no small part from these books. They are great stories from a great mind
on 5 March 2013
These books are all about adventure and in this context are timeless. The world Edgar Rice Burroughs creates in the depth of his own mind is one the reader can enter knowing that the princess always gets rescued, the hero survives to be proclaimed, and the villain always gets his or her just deserts!
on 22 April 2013
You need to switch off your 21st century sensibilities to read John Carter, very dated now in attitudes, sexist and racist (Martian tribes are characterised are distinguished by their colour) they are best read as historical curiosities.
on 15 January 2009
"The Warlord of Mars" by Edgar Rice Burroughs picks up where "The Gods of Mars" left off. This novel was published from December of 1913 to March of 1914 in "All-Story" as a serial, and then published as a novel in September of 1919. Unlike "A Princess of Mars", neither "The Gods of Mars" nor "The Warlord of Mars" can easily stand alone. The former volume ends in a cliff-hanger, and this novel relies on the reader knowing what is going on. Also, it is to the benefit of the reader to start with the first in the series to have a complete background for the entire story, though one could probably get by without it.
Unlike the first two books of the series, this one does not open with a forward in which the author presents the fantastic tale as true, but that undoubtedly is due to the fact that the story was left with a rather abrupt ending in the previous book. As with the previous installments of the series, there is plenty of action, and more than a few amazing coincidences, where John Carter just happens to be in the right spot at the right time to overhear a key piece of information, but in many ways that is what adds to the fun.
Burroughs continues to take the reader on a trek around the Red Planet. After covering the dead seas and meeting the Red and Green Martians in the first book, and then heading to the south pole in the second book to meet the White and Black Martians, it is not too big of surprise that in this book he heads to the polar north, and there we find yet another race, the Yellow Martians, and along with them a host of new enemies, and some new allies as well. There are also some new monsters to be faced in the north.
The story is basically one big chase seen, starting with John Carter following a Thurid, a black dator. Thurid had sworn fealty to Xodar, but John Carter knew that Thurid had a great deal of hatred for him and so was suspicious. His suspicions, prove to be well founded, as he learns that Thurid is conspiring with Matai Shang, the Father of the Therns, another enemy. From spying on them, he learns that there is a way to rescue his beloved Dejah Thoris who was imprisoned at the end of "The Gods of Mars." And so it goes, with John Carter always seemingly one step away from recovering his beloved, as he follows them from the south pole, to Kaol, to the frozen north, where the lands of the hidden Yellow Martians lie. It is there, where John Carter finally is able to face his foes, both in personal combat, as well as a battle of armies between his allies and those of his enemies.
As with the previous books in the series, there are times when the reader is far ahead of John Carter as to what is going on, but as with the amazing coincidences it is part of the fun of reading these stories. These books make for great light escapist reading, and are far better at what they do then so much of what has been written by others since. Burroughs simply has a knack for telling an entertaining tale, and it is oh so easy for the reader to simply sit back and enjoy the ride. This installment meets the expectations set in the first two books of the series.
Sometimes the first three books are referred to as a trilogy as the first two books have cliff hangers. Of course we know this is not the end due to the number of book written.
In this part of the story we left John waiting at the Temple of the Sun. Everyone knows that he as not long to wait until his old nemeses' devise a plot of revenge. Soon John, while in the process of chasing the capturers of Dejah Thoris, will come up against untold and unfathomed barriers to the end of the world. Luckily he has old Woola at his side.
Reading this make you want to get out you sward and join in.
Still as with all places ruled by law, John will have to meet with the Judges of the Temple of Reward ad face the consequences of returning from the Valley of Dor and the Lost Sea of Korus. As no one can escape judgment.