by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Series: Pellucidar 2
Reviewed date: 2019 Nov 27
Rating: 3
192 pages
cover art

David Innes and the Mahar return to Pellucidar with a load of books, guns, scientific instruments, and more, and of course he's lost. He allows the Mahar to escape. Then he wanders about Pellucidar for months, encountering no humans. At last he stumbles across Abner Perry being pursued by a dozen Sagoths. David turns his rifle and revolver on them, killing six and saving Perry's life.

Perry relates how David's disappearance had precipitated the collapse of the tribal federation and the end of the First Empire of Pellucidar. Inter-tribal warfare weakened the tribes, and the Mahars and Sagoths took advantage, re-asserting their dominance over the human tribes of Pellucidar. Furthermore, Dian the Beautiful had disappeared soon after David's departure, and has not been seen since.

Innes and Perry search Pellucidar for Dian, making maps as they go. After much fruitless searching they spy the Mountains of the Clouds, a familiar landmark. Innes recalls that Ja the Mezop had used the Mountains of the Clouds as a reference point when giving directions to the homeland of his tribe, the Anoroc. Certain that Ja will help them, the two decide to make for Anoroc. However, that requires crossing the Mountains of the Gods--a treacherous journey through snow-covered peaks shrouded in dense fog. Great white bears and enormous wolves prowl the mountain range. Innes and Perry get separated in the fog as they cross over the range, and Innes is sure that Perry must have perished.

Innes and Perry both survive and meet up on the other side of the mountain range. They spy the island of Anoroc in the distance, far out in the Lural Az sea. The only trouble is how to get there. Innes suggests building a dugout, but Perry will settle for nothing less than a magnificent sailing ship. Anything less would not be fitting for David I, Emperor of the Federated Kingdoms of Pellucidar. The ship, christened Sari, promptly capsizes. But hauled back ashore and weighed down with rocks for ballast, the ship becomes seaworthy, and the two set sail for Anoroc.

Near Anoroc, they are attacked by dugout canoes of warriors from neighboring tribes. Innes drives them off with his revolver while Perry hides, then Perry insists they document the occasion of the first great naval victory of the Empire of Pellucidar.

At Anoroc, Ja is delighted to be reunited with David. Ja sends warriors with Perry to fetch supplies from the mole, while David travels with a detachment of warriors to Sari, to rebuild the federation of kingdoms. Sagoths attack and kill David's companions and take David captive to Phutra, the Mahar city. The Mahars demand that David return the Great Secret of their artificial reproduction, which he stole in the previous book, and without which the all-female Mahar race will quickly become extinct. David refuses.

The Mahars throw David and an unknown girl into the arena to do battle with a fierce tarag--a saber-toothed tiger. He leaps to the girl's defense, and of course she happens to be Dian. At the last moment they are spared by the order of Tu-al-sa, the Mahar whose life David had spared on their trip back to Earth. Again the Mahars demand that David return the Great Secret of artificial fertilization, promising to free him and Dian if he agrees. Dian convinces David that with his leadership, the Empire of Pellucidar will have nothing to fear from the savage Mahars; but without him, even if the Mahars perish, the people of Pellucidar will be leaderless and will never rise above barbarism. So David agrees. He goes with a detachment of Sagoths to retrieve the books containing the Mahar fertilization formula, but the books are missing from the cave where he hid them. Back at Phutra, he learns that Hooja the Sly One has retrieved the books ahead of him, and the Mahars have released Dian into Hooja's custody. With their secret back in their possession, the Mahars are true to their word and release David.

David journeys to Sari, where he and Ghak the Hairy One set about rebuilding the federation of kingdoms and locating the traitor Hooja. At Sari, Ghak and David receive an emissary from a faraway tribe from the Land of Awful Shadow: Kolk, son of Goork, chief of the Thurians. Kolk explains that the Thurians wish to join the federation to fight the Mahars, and he warns of a burgeoning new threat: Hooja the Sly One, supported by a contingent of Sagoths, has gathered an army of thousands of outcast men. With this army he is raiding and making war against other tribes of men. It appears the Mahars, sensing their own vulnerability in the face of the federation of kingdoms, are helping Hooja assemble this army with which they intend to crush the federation.

David departs immediately for Thuria, leaving instructions that when Perry returns with weapons from the mole, he should raise and army and march to Thuria to combat Hooja's army. On the way, he observes with interest the small moon that casts the Awful Shadow:

It was not until I had passed the high peak and found the river that my eyes first discovered the pendent world, the tiny satellite which hangs low over the surface of Pellucidar casting its perpetual shadow always upon the same spot—the area that is known here as the Land of Awful Shadow, in which dwells the tribe of Thuria.

From the distance and the elevation of the highlands where I stood the Pellucidarian noonday moon showed half in sunshine and half in shadow, while directly beneath it was plainly visible the round dark spot upon the surface of Pellucidar where the sun has never shone. From where I stood the moon appeared to hang so low above the ground as almost to touch it; but later I was to learn that it floats a mile above the surface—which seems indeed quite close for a moon.

Following the river downward I soon lost sight of the tiny planet as I entered the mazes of a lofty forest. Nor did I catch another glimpse of it for some time—several marches at least. However, when the river led me to the sea, or rather just before it reached the sea, of a sudden the sky became overcast and the size and luxuriance of the vegetation diminished as by magic...

Above me hung another world. I could see its mountains and valleys, oceans, lakes, and rivers, its broad, grassy plains and dense forests. But too great was the distance and too deep the shadow of its under side for me to distinguish any movement as of animal life.

Instantly a great curiosity was awakened within me. The questions which the sight of this planet, so tantalizingly close, raised in my mind were numerous and unanswerable.

Was it inhabited?

If so, by what manner and form of creature?

Were its people as relatively diminutive as their little world, or were they as disproportionately huge as the lesser attraction of gravity upon the surface of their globe would permit of their being?

As I watched it, I saw that it was revolving upon an axis that lay parallel to the surface of Pellucidar, so that during each revolution its entire surface was once exposed to the world below and once bathed in the heat of the great sun above. The little world had that which Pellucidar could not have—a day and night, and—greatest of boons to one outer-earthly born—time.

Now that's a world I'd like to visit. I wonder if Burroughs set any stories on Pellucidar's moon?

A hyaenodon attacks David and they both tumble off a cliff into the waters of the Sojar Az. David swims to shore, then sees the wolf-dog is drowning. Moved to compassion, he rescues the creature, who repays him with canine loyalty. I love this book.

David names the dog Raja. Together they fight off a group of four savage warriors who attack them unprovoked. David takes the warriors' dugout canoe and paddles until he finds evidence of a Thurian village. Man and dog approach the village, which is a jungle palisade enclosing nearly a hundred thatched huts. The Thurians use lidi--that is, diplodocus--as beasts of burden, and many such are within the village. These Thurians may be primitive Pellucidarian villagers, but they've got agriculture and domesticated sauropod dinosaurs. These people are impressive.

The Thurians mistrust David, thinking he's a spy from Hooja. They're a peaceful tribe so they don't kill him. David leaves and heads for the island where Hooja's army is encamped, thinking to rescue Dian singlehandedly. However, he's taken captive by a primitive race of hairy white apemen. They also mistrust David and think he's a spy from Hooja. They're peaceful hairy apemen, so they don't kill him. Their king, Gr-gr-gr, orders David to be held captive and forces him to work at tending a melon patch until they can decide what to do with him. His Royal Highness David I, Emperor of the Federated Kingdoms of Pellucidar, Melon Farmer. I love this book.

Hooja's army attacks the village of the apemen. Rather than escape during the commotion, David joins the fight and helps repel the invaders. Finally convinced that he is an enemy of Hooja, the ape-king Gr-gr-gr sets David free. David travels to Hooja's stronghold and tries to figure out how to get inside and rescue Dian.

The stronghold is atop a hill, accessible only through a tunnel that opens onto the valley below, or via climbing a sheer rock wall on the rear side. David climbs the wall and sneaks into Hooja's domain. There he meets Juag, another enemy of Hooja. Juag tells David where to find Dian; he rescues her, and the three escape from the hilltop.

They're recaptured by Hooja's warriors, then Gr-gr-gr and his gorilla-men rescue them. David, Juag, and Dian decide to construct a sailboat and return to Sari. Together they kill a thag for its hide to use as sailcloth. As David and Juag kill thag, a Thurian mounted on a lidi (diplodocus) kidnaps Dian. Fortuitously David is reunited with Raja, who now has a female hyaenodon companion. They name her Ranee. The two dogs help track down the Thurian and lidi, and rescue Dian.

Humans and canines pile aboard their newly-completed sailing dugout, and a storm promptly blows them out to sea. They are lost. On the high seas they encounter Hooja's flotilla of dugouts, who pursue them. They sight land, but the shore is teeming with fierce warriors. Trapped between Hooja's armada on one side and an unknown army on the shore, all seems lost for our heroes.

Perry arrives with a brand-new fleet of the Empire of Pellucidar! They defeat Hooja's forces and win the first great naval battle of Pellucidar. David sails around Pellucidar consolidating the Empire. The first order of business is to deal with the Mahars: the Imperial army destroys Phutra. Other Mahar cities are destroyed one by one, and more tribes added to the federation. The people of Pellucidar are intelligent and industrious, and David and Perry have already introduced industry, commerce, even a railway and a telephone system. David predicts that very shortly Pellucidar will be a utopia.

The end.

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