First of Burrough’s Martian tales featuring John Carter. It’s also Burroughs first book. This is pure action-adventure that shows how Burroughs led the way.
In the opener, Captain John Carter of Virginia goes to the Arizona desert with his friend Powell. They succeed and become wealthy prospectors. Things take a bad turn as Powell is killed by Apaches. An enraged Carter rides into their camp with guns blazing and takes Powell’s body to a cave. He feels a presence but doesn’t know what it is. The Indians are at the entrance but are too afraid to step in. Back outside Carter is staring at Mars…and then awakens there while his body rests in the cave. He doesn’t have any clothes or weapons.
It’s not long before he’s captured by Green warriors called Tharks. They range from nine to fifteen feet tall and have four arms. He has to prove he’s a warrior and does battle with the giants. It all seems worth it as he meets their prisoner, the Princess Dejah Thoris of Helium. That’s home to the Red men of Mars who are mostly peaceful scientists. They call the planet Barsoom. If the planet had an edition of Playboy she’s be the centerfold….just like all good heroines.
Carter is looked after by Sola and a fierce watch creature named Woola. His captor is the warrior Chieftan Tars Tarkas. Also making her presence known is the evil Sarkoja. She knows a major secret about Sola. Carter and Dejah don’t exactly start well but….you know where this goes. He also manages to make a Cocker Spaniel out of Woola.
There are many battles to come between the Red and the Green. The book moves swiftly and never loses its story among all the mayhem. Carter seems indestructible as all good larger than life heroes have to be. Just when you think he can get some rest there’s a Princess to rescue and a planet to save. It’s safe to say that even those that hesitate (like me) about flashing swords and impossible odds will more than likely enjoy this.
The adventure continues in 1918’s “The Gods Of Mars.”