A Fighting Man Of Mars
A Fighting Man of Mars is the seventh in the ‘John Carter of Mars’ series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Burroughs began writing it on February 28, 1929, and the finished story was first published in Blue Book Magazine as a six-part serial in the issues for April to September, 1930. It was later published as a complete novel by Metropolitan in May, 1931.
The story is purportedly relayed back to earth via the Gridley Wave, a sort of super radio frequency previously introduced in Tanar of Pellucidar, the third of Burrough’s Pellucidar novels, which thus provides a link between the two series. The story-teller is Ulysses Paxton, protagonist of the previous novel, The Master Mind of Mars, but this story is not about him; rather, it is the tale of Tan Hadron of Hastor, a lowly, poor padwar (a low-ranking officer) who is in love with the beautiful, haughty Sanoma Tora, daughter of Tor Hatan, a minor but rich noble. As he is only a padwar, Sanoma spurns him. Then Sanoma Tora is kidnapped, and the novel moves into high gear.
As Tan Hadron crosses Mars (”Barsoom”, as Burroughs calls it) searching for Sanoma Tora, he encounters some of Burroughs’s most ferocious beasts—huge, many-armed, flesh-eating white apes, gigantic spiders, and the insane cannibals of U-Gor. He also meets the mad scientist Phor Tak, who cackles “Heigh-oo!” and is crazed with the desire for revenge.
The initial simplicity of Burroughs’ well-worn pursuit plot is elaborated by Hadron’s rescue of an escaped slave, Tavia, from a band of six-limbed green Tharks, en route to the city of Jahar where Hadron believes Sanoma Tora has been taken. Tavia is an atypical Burroughs heroine; depicted as self-reliant and competent with weapons, witty and intelligent, she compares favorably for both reader and Hadron with beautiful but shallow Sanoma Tora, who ultimately shows herself unworthy of the virtuous hero. With the addition of Nur An, a disaffected Jaharian warrior, and another escaped woman slave, Phao, Hadron’s quest becomes more collaborative than Burroughs’ usual, although Tavia, in an unsurprising plot development, is revealed to be a princess at the end.
Once again, I have pulled the text from Project Gutneberg, and converted to a BBeB eBook (.LRF format) for the Sony eBook Reader. The artwork I have used for the cover, is by Frank Frazetta.
Download here: A Fighting Man of Mars