Cover by Michael Whelan
This is my least fave version of Woola. That 'guard dog' that has been with John Carter since book one. In fact, I'm showing you the full painting/drawing before it was cropped down to what was used as the cover because I find what they left out to be more interesting.
This lovely setting shows up in the middle of the book, so let's start at the beginning, shall we? We left off the last book with John Carter toppling the religion of Mars and conquering two races that lived in myth or was unknown altogether.
We found the lost sea of Mars and killed someone who was passing herself off as a Goddess and ate the other races. And as her last vengeful act, she had Dejah Thoris, and two other women thrown into a prison that only had one way in or out and that avenue of escape was only viable for part of one day, once a year.
When this book starts, we see what has become of the two races, and we find John Carter keeping a vigil outside of Dejah's cell about 6 months into her one year sentence. Now before you think he's just waiting to take out her remains, they were able to toss in enough supplies to hopefully last the year if rationed very well. If you have gotten this far in the books, you may remember that they have these pills that could keep you going when there is no food around for a while. Some of those were tossed in then too if they were to have a chance of coming out of this alive.
Now I don't remember if the food was tossed in while they were waiting for the person with the key or the food was tossed in once they couldn't find said person or key. I don't remember and you mostly remember better than me at this point if you just finished the book. :) So, moving on.
Now, this is where some people may see this as being racist, but I don't. And I'm not talking about this book, but the whole saga. In this and the last book, we have found and now interact with the Black Pirates. A race of black people that lived on the lost sea of Mars. Well, there was one of them that got into a tussle with John in the last book and he still has a bone to pick with him. So much so, that John follows him up the River Iss to witness a meeting between him and the head of the other race that they were raiding and killing the day they caught John Carter.
Well, he actually managed to stay out of sight but heard how the guy knew of a way to get into the cell before the time was up. How his partner in crime wanted the woman for himself, but mostly to save his daughter that was locked up in there too. She was one of the other two in there. The third girl is a bonus at this point.
Now, this is the start of miles and miles of tunnels and passageways and hidden paths. This book almost has more than it's fair share and following them to the secret entrance to the cell is where they start. I won't say what happened between the start of John tailing these people and then his flight after them to where we found out where the Therns lived in the last book.
Of all the races on Mars, this is the one that John most closely resembles. They are nicknamed the White Men of Mars because their skin wasn't red, green or black. But pale, white like John's. The only difference was their hair color or hair at all for that matter. In the last book, we found out that they, the men of this race, when really it should be the females as well, have lost their hair and are now bald. And like how anyone on Mars wouldn't think of going out without a weapon, they wouldn't think of being seen without their blond wig.
So he is in this disguise to get around the city, but he's caught, of course and we are once again treated to the lady that commands beasts. I leave that to you to read up on. :) She was the third person locked into the cell. She earns her keep, again, at this moment. But when she shaved John, she kicks off the next leg of their journey across Mars.
After another death-defying attempt to get his love back, we are chasing them across the skies. There is a small crash which causes John and Woola to enter the green world that you see in the cover art. I was surprised to see this. For all this talk about how Mars was dying and had very little water and very few trees, we find this rain forest and all manner of creatures.
It's like he's resending the established landscape of Mars and saying what we were first shown as Mars, is just this one area of the planet. Now a lot happens in this forest, to get into the city that he was following them too, and what happened once he was in there. This is where a lot happens and close to the end of his stay here, we gain another ally.
I knew it was a misdirect, kinda, but I still hoped for the best since I don't know what this man is going to write almost from page to page. And John almost had her, but no, he, the author, wanted to tie up some loose ends from book two. So we go north. To the north pole and once there, what do we find? Another race that had hidden itself from the rest of Mars.
This dying planet has ton loads of life on it. We went from the two races in the first book to adding two more in book two, and now these people that we find are more like lost cities or tribes than races. And this last set has men that grow facial hair in all of Mars. The only ones, but unlike the Black Men of Mars that seemed to have found the only islands and a warm oasis under the ice of the south pole, the north pole people are out there in the elements. They even have this thing that is rigged to crash all flying ships that cross over into the north pole area. That is how they get things and slaves. This is also a very slave driven world just because of all the wars they have had.
We, as in John and the new ally, get to play dress up again after they make it through a cave of horrors. Before he, John, gets within arm's reach of his princess, there is this 'battle' scene that guys may like and some girls won't appreciate. I'm not all that sure how I personally feel about it. I think it was meant to be exciting, and I can see how it could have been, and I do think it's a good bit of writing also. It did a few things really. So I guess I'm saying I liked it more than disliked. :)
After that, we quite quickly end up here.
Cover by Gino D’Achille
Now, this is a cover for Gods of Mars, but this is played out again in Warlord of Mars. I didn't really realize it until I went to get this thinking it was from Warlord of Mars. :) Now, a plot twist happens here that helps John get Dejah back safe and sound.
After a few things are broken and a Jaddak was overthrown, we, as in Dejah, her father and her grandfather along with John Carter, our new ally and his daughter, head home. Now back in Helium, we got one good night's sleep and woke up to a trial. You remember back in book two about "Anyone returning from going down the River Iss shall be put to death" thing? Well, now John's trial is back on. It only got postponed it seems. I was mad, along with John, when we saw this going down. And the verdict is where the story ends. :)
Here is a link that lets you download any version that you want of the book. One must work for you.
Here is the audio of the book for you do with as you wish. Normally I download them so I don't have to work about internet access. :)
I believe that if the franchise had taken off, they may have only done these three books. Because it's these three where John Carter is the main player and hero of the story.
Sorry to burst some of your bubbles, but Dejah is just a maiden is distress. That lady you saw in the movie is actually closer to their daughter. Who you will read about in Chessmen of Mars if you keep going. :) Dejah is there to be saved. She is the reason John goes through all this. Why he fights almost all who he does fight. Why for the rest of the books he is known as the Warlord of Barsoom.
I don't think that my 'reviews' are that great if they are reviews at all, so I'll spear you anymore. But feel free to ask me questions about the others that I've read and will read. Speaking of will read. I came across a book that kinda goes with these, but it was written by someone other than Edgar Rice Burroughs.
It's called Return to Barsoom and her is what I have on it.
Return to Barsoom
by Scott Dutton
And that is all we have to go on. It's a free book in epub format. I think I will read it just to see how a fan and someone who knows of Mars as we do, could make a continuation to this saga.
I also noticed, when looking for book covers, that they have comics of John Carter of Mars. I think this may all have happened back when the movie came out. Just know they follow the books exactly and I only read one page to know that. But if you have read them you can tell me, us, how they do retell the story.
Now I'm writing this a day after everything above and I want to take back a little bit of what I said about how they may have stopped at this book if they were making the movies. If they were well received, they mostly likely would have changed the how they named the movies after this one to show that John is no longer the main person.
And that's it. See ya. :)