The third installment of Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Barsoom" series, The Warlord of Mars (click here to reserve a copy) picks up where the previous book The Gods of Mars left off. There, John Carter, already having returned to Mars ("Barsoom" to the natives) after a decade, had to deal with religious zealots, meeting his son Carthoris for the first time, and many other situations and adventures before making his way back to his wife Dejah Thoris.
But Carter, in the climax of Gods, was forced to watch helplessly as Dejah was set upon by the dagger-wielding female Thern, Phaidor (who has an obsession about Carter), while his brave ally, Thuvia the former slave girl (and, like Dejah, also a princess, by way of the city of Ptarth), tried to intercede, as all three had been imprisoned in the Temple of the Sun. As the women struggle, the entrance to the temple is closed and locked automatically for one Martian year, leaving a heartbroken Carter vowing to rescue Dejah and Thuvia before that year is up.
Warlord continues with Carter managing to get back inside the Temple before the deadline, only to see his lady friends taken prisoner by the antagonists of the previous book, Matai Shang the Thern holy priest (and father of the increasiningly deranged Phaidor) and Thurid the disgraced First Born warrior. The book basically becomes one long, but thrilling, chase sequence, as Carter travels from one Barsoomian city to another, getting in swordfights with warriors of Kaol and Okar, and having to disguise himself three times as, respectfully, a Thern (white skinned blonds), a Kaolian (red skinned) and an Okarian (yellow skinned with black beards). Eventually, Carter finds he has to battle yet another adversary, Okarian ruler/"Jeddak" Salensus Oll, who, like Matai Shang and Thurid, also desires Dejah for himself as his wife!
First published as a serial in 1913-1914 in the pulp magazine All-Story, before being published in book form in 1919, The Warlord of Mars is an exciting action adventure that never lets up in it frantic pacing. Lots of swashbuckling, sword fights (including some nifty ones on airborne ships), cliffhanger situations, and court intrigue ensue before Carter and Dejah are reunited. Carter, despite having been branded a religious heretic in the previous book, manages to escape the wrath of several various angry nobles, even making friends with Thuvia's father, the Jeddak of Ptarth. In the process, Carter also manages to unite the various cities and tribes (including the Tharks, whose Jeddak, Tars Tarkas, also Carter's best buddy, puts in a brief cameo at the end) to work together, as well as settling scores with the villians once and for all. There's so much happening that your pulse will be racing by the end. This would've been a great movie, but seeing as the recent John Carter film (which I loved!) hasn't turned a profit yet....
All ends well in The Warlord of Mars. But more adventure waits in the next installment of the series, Thuvia, Maid of Mars.