The Chessmen of Mars By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Chessmen_of_Mars-1922

 

Again, John Carter himself is mercifully in the background. Again, the book concentrates on a couple. Tara is daughter of John Carter and Dejah Thoris. I’m intrigued as to where her name comes from. Given that her brother is called Carthoris, shouldn’t she be called Dejohn? Gahan, the jed (chief) of Gathol, loves her though she is engaged to another. (Sound familiar?) When she is lost while flying in a storm, Gahan sets out to rescue her.

This time, we go to two places nobody ever leaves: the land of the walking heads, the Kaldanes, and Manator, a city inhabited by primitive Red Martians. A Martian chess game called Jetan plays a pivotal role in the story, but frankly you don’t need to worry about the longish explanation of the rules in the early part of the book.

Tara does stuff though her role shrinks toward the end to someone to be rescued.  The Kaldane Ghek is my favorite character and there are plenty of twists and turns. I really enjoyed this book and for me it’s the best of the Barsoom novels I’ve read.

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