The Gods of Mars

by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Series: Barsoom 2
Reviewed date: 2004 Dec 23
Rating: 3
192 pages
cover art

The Gods of Mars is the first sequel to A Princess of Mars. John Carter returns to Barsoom (Mars) where he discovers the terrible secret of Barsoomian heaven: it is not heaven at all, but a land of death inhabited by a bloodthirsty race of Therns. Carter must fight for his life, defeat the Therns and the First Born, as well as Plant-men and great white apes; he must win his way back to Helium; he must survive political intrigue, assassination attempts. Worst, he must convey to all the men of Barsoom the news that their religion is based upon a cruel falsehood.

Like all Burroughs tales, The Gods of Mars is an action story. Fighting is the solution to every problem. It is not great literature, but it is entertaining. Do not expect great science either--Burroughs's one attempt at a scientific solution to a problem falls flat, mostly because of the colossal stupidity John Carter betrays by not realizing immediately his original miscalculation. SPOILER: A Barsoomian year is nearly twice as long as an Earth year. How John Carter lived ten years on Barsoom without learning this critical fact is mindboggling.

I have one complaint: the book ends on a cliffhanger. You must read the next book in the series, The Warlord of Mars.

The Gods of Mars is out of copyright. It is freely and legally available online: The Gods of Mars.

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