The Chessmen of Mars (Golden Classics #31) (Paperback)

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This is book number 31 in the Golden Classics series.

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In this novel Burroughs focuses on a younger member of the family established by John Carter and Dejah Thoris, protagonists of the first three books in the series. The heroine this time is their daughter Tara, princess of Helium, whose hand is sought by the gallant Gahan, Jed (prince) of Gathol. Both Helium and Gathol are prominent Barsoomian city states.

Tara meets Prince Gahan of Gathol, and is initially unimpressed, viewing him as something of a popinjay. Later she takes her flier into a storm and loses control of the craft, and the storm carries her to an unfamiliar region of Barsoom. After landing and fleeing from a pack of ferocious Banths (Martian lions), she is captured by the horrific Kaldanes, who resemble large heads with small, crab-like legs.

The Kaldanes have bred a symbiotic race of headless human-like creatures called Rykors, which they can attach themselves to and ride like a horse. The Kaldanes imprison Tara, intending to fatten her up, then eat her. While imprisoned, Tara manages to win over one of the Kaldanes, Ghek, with her lovely singing voice.

Gahan, who has fallen in love with Tara, sets out to find her, only to find himself caught up in the same storm, and he falls overboard while attempting to rescue one of his crew. He stumbles upon Bantoom, realm of the Kaldanes, and manages to rescue Tara, and together with Ghek they flee in Tara's crippled flier.

Tara doesn't recognize Gahan as the prince she met earlier, as he is worn from his ordeals and no longer dressed in his fancy clothes. In light of her earlier reaction to him, Gahan decides to keep his identity secret, and identifies himself instead as a Panthan (warrior) called Turan.

The three of them manage to reach the isolated city of Manator. Gahan ventures into the city seeking food and water, but is tricked and taken prisoner by the inhabitants. Tara and Ghek are also captured. In Manator, captives are forced to a fight to the death in the arena, in a modified version of Jetan, a popular Barsoomian board game resembling Chess; the living version uses people as the game pieces on a life-sized board, with each taking of a piece being a duel to the death.

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About the Author


Edgar Rice Burroughs was an American author, best known for his creation of the jungle hero Tarzan and the heroic John Carter, although he produced works in many genres. Burroughs was born on September 1, 1875, in Chicago, Illinois (he later lived for many years in the suburb of Oak Park), the fourth son of Major George Tyler Burroughs (1833-1913), a businessman and Civil War veteran, and his wife, Mary Evaline (Zieger) Burroughs (1840-1920). Burroughs was educated at a number of local schools, and during the Chicago influenza epidemic in 1891, he spent half a year at his brother's ranch on the Raft River in Idaho. He then attended Phillips Academy, in Andover, Massachusetts, and then the Michigan Military Academy. Graduating in 1895, and failing the entrance exam for the United States Military Academy at West Point, he became an enlisted soldier with the 7th U.S. Cavalry in Fort Grant, Arizona Territory. After being diagnosed with a heart problem and thus ineligible to serve, he was discharged in 1897. By 1911, after seven years of low wages, he was working as a pencil-sharpener wholesaler and began to write fiction. By this time, he and Emma had two children, Joan (1908-1972), who later married the Tarzan film actor James Pierce, and Hulbert (1909-1991). Burroughs was in his late 60s and was in Honolulu at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Despite his age, he applied for and received permission to become a war correspondent, becoming one of the oldest U.S. war correspondents during World War II. This period of his life is mentioned in William Brinkley's bestselling novel Don't Go Near the Water. American actor Reid Markel is Burroughs' great-great-grandson.


Product Details
ISBN: 9781542822183
ISBN-10: 1542822181
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: January 28th, 2017
Pages: 146
Language: English
Series: Golden Classics