Exploring the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs

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ERB Summary Project
Gods of Mars

CHARACTERS

John Carter

Tars Tarkas

Thuvia

Holy Therns

Black Pirates

Phaidor

Matai Shang (Holy Hekkador)

Xodar (Dator)

Issus

Thurid

Carthoris

Hor Vastus

Kantos Kan

Mors Kajak

Tardos Mors

Zat Arrras

Dejah Thoris

Sola

Phartak

Yersted

PLACES

Hudson River

Valley Dor

Temple of Issus

Lost Sea of Korus

Otz foothills

Helium

Iss

village of lost souls

Isle of Shador

Omean Sea

Temple of Reward

Zodanga

Hastor

Thark

Temple of the Sun

THINGS

plant men

gold

rubies

emeralds

diamonds

banth

white apes

two man flier

ten man cruiser

pumping stations

battleship

submarine

revolver

thoats

tal

xat

zode

wireless

utan

EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS'
GODS OF MARS

Summarized by David Bruce Bozarth and a few friends at ERBList: Robert Zeuschner, Steve Wadding, David A. Adams, Dennis Wilcutt, Fredrik Ekman, J. G. Huckenpöhler.

Illustrated by Tangor with a minor nod and wink to Frank Frazetta

Introduction

Of all the ERBList Chapter Summaries so far I had more volunteers for GODS OF MARS than any other ERB story summarized to date. This should have been an indication GODS was the most highly regarded Barsoom tale ever written--which is a true statement if one reads the ERB lists (ERBList and ERBCOF-L) with any eye for reader personal preferences of the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Should have been.

Unexpectedly, the 19 who signed on failed to follow through. The Therns and Black Pirates obviously had taken their toll among the respondents since only a stalwart few actually answered the call.

GODS OF MARS is generally considered to be the best of the tales of Barsoom. Personally, since I read the Martian series in order as a young lad I find it difficult to separate the various tales of the original trilogy as "good", "bad" or "indifferent." A Princess of Mars, Gods of Mars, and Warlord of Mars are, to my reading, a single story. This introductory trilogy of Barsoom is one of the most fantastic tales which can be found in all the worlds of speculative fiction. Prepare yourself for the ERBList Summary of the most exciting mid-third of one of the best three-part stories ever told:

CHAPTER 1 - THE PLANT MEN

Robert Zeuschner

It is March 1888. Ten years has passed since John Carter found himself returned to the planet Earth from Barsoom, ten years during which Carter constantly attempted to return to his beloved princess. As he has done so often, John Carter stands on the bluff overlooking the Hudson river, arms outstretched toward the red planet Mars. But this time the strange power draws him through the immensity of space, and he awakes on a sward of close-cropped red grass-like vegetation, with a forest and an open sea. Beginning to walk toward the sea, he realizes that a mighty river was emptying into this ocean. Then he sees figures moving near the river bank; odd, grotesque, standing ten or twelve feet in height, but with arms weirdly flexible. Carter soon realizes that what he thought were hands are actually mouths and these plant men are eating the vegetation. A strange scream is heard, and the plant men turn toward the river, springing in great leaps, and attack a group of green men and women. Carter is inspired by the fighting style of the remaining male, and rushes to help. The two fight back to back, and the male says "We may at least die fighting and as great warriors should, John Carter." Surprised that the male knows his name, Carter turns and recognizes the greatest of all the green men of Barsoom, his good friend, Tars Tarkas, Jeddak of Thark.

CHAPTER 2 - A FOREST BATTLE

Robert Zeuschner

Hordes of plant men begin rushing towards the two men, and Tars Tarkas says that the two must make for the cliffs if they hope to survive. The sunlight reveals the cliffs made of gold, red, greens, whites, rubies, emeralds, and diamonds. Among the horde of plant men many great white apes are also coming to attack. Carter makes it to the trees, and helps the Thark to climb a tree as a way to get to a cave higher up the cliff. Making their way up five hundred feet, they manage to reach a balcony leading to a cave opening. Exploring the cave, Tars Tarkas and Carter find a door. Opening it, they enter a chamber which they start to explore. The door behind them locks, and then from unseen lips, a cruel and mocking peal of laughter echoes through the desolate place.

CHAPTER 3 - THE CHAMBER OF MYSTERY

Steve Wadding

John Carter asks Tars Tarkas where they are, since he only knows that he is on Barsoom. Tars Tarkas tells him that they are by the Lost Sea of Korus in the Valley Dor. Tars Tarkas bitterly compared the horrible place they were now in to the Heaven he had expected to find. John Carter examined the chamber they were in. As he did so, a mocking laugh rang out, and a voice told them that there was no hope. As he sought the source of the voice, another voice called from the opposite end of the room, telling them to go back the way they came. John Carter heard a noise behind him, and turning saw a banth creeping upon him. He slew it, but banth after banth appeared, always when their backs were turned. Finally, John Carter saw in a mirror how the banths came through a rotating portion of the wall. They approach the wall, and he contrived to jump through the next time it opened. John Carter fought the white man with flowing yellow hair who was on the other side, slaying him. Then one of the prisoners chained against the wall cried out in warning. Turning, he saw another man sneaking up on him. John Carter, worn out from all of the recent fighting, came near to losing his life. Down on the ground, he made a desperate thrust, killed his opponent, and was knocked unconscious.

CHAPTER 4 - THUVIA

Steve Wadding

Thuvia, Tangor 2000

John Carter awoke to the sounds of conflict from the other side of the wall. Realizing that the sounds were those of Tars Tarkas fighting for his life, he released the woman, Thuvia, so that she could open the secret door and aid his friend. He found Tars Tarkas surrounded by banths. The woman stopped him from attacking, spoke to the banths, and led them through the panel on the other side of the room. Thuvia returned and said that she had been a slave of the Holy Therns for fifteen years. The men John Carter had killed were lesser therns. The therns view the Temple of Issus, from which none have returned, as their Heaven. Thuvia feared to escape and face disgrace and death upon returning to her own people, but John Carter convinced her that if they could tell others of the fate awaiting them at the Valley Dor they would save others from that fate. The three of them agreed to attempt to escape. They released the other prisoners, and started through the maze of passages. Entering a chamber, they encountered a Holy Thern, who Thuvia instantly shot dead, in revenge. She then revealed that therns are bald, and they used his wig and harness as a disguise for John Carter. They reached the armory and armed themselves. John Carter was too tired to go further, so he and Tars Tarkas slept, asking the released prisoners to keep watch.

CHAPTER 5 - CORRIDORS OF PERIL

David A. Adams

A dozen lesser therns enter the storeroom and shoot everyone except Carter, Thuvia, and Tars. Thuvia talks their way out of the sticky situation, but one of the therns seems to have noticed something wrong. Thuvia helps them plan their escape, but it seems hopeless. They come to an opening overlooking the Valley Dor. It is sundown. They are just in time to watch the plant men suck the blood from a canoe-load of red men. The white apes feed on the flesh of the drained bodies, then night falls like a stone. Thuvia calls 50 banths. Heroes and banths walk together through the underground corridors in such a beautiful scene that even Carter remarks, "I shall not soon forget it." They pass through Dantean chambers filled with deformed, maimed, blind prisoners from many raves, all asleep in heaps upon the floors. The therns do not come here at night, fearing the banths or assassination. Just as they reach the surface and a garden, a great cry arises.

CHAPTER 6 - THE BLACK PIRATES OF BARSOOM

David A. Adams

The black pirates of Barsoom attack from the air, strafing and bombing. Then they battle the therns in hand-to-hand combat in the garden amidst the pimalias and jeweled statues. The human-like six-foot tall black pirates are handsome creatures with black iris eyes, bodies like polished ebony. Even the Southerner Carter thinks these blacks are beautiful, but they are bloodthirsty fighters. The black pirates are killing the therns but capturing women. The banths begin to kill both pirates and therns. Carter sends Thuvia and Tars away on a two-man flier. He fights the black men to their amazement at his skill with a sword, then escapes by grasping an anchor hanging from a ten-man cruiser passing by. Carter climbs the chain, only to be faced by a fierce black man at the rail.

WHAT THE SUMMARIZERS BYPASSED

"This sea," he continued, "is larger than Korus. It receives the waters of the lesser sea above it. To keep it from filling above a certain level we have four great pumping stations that force the oversupply back into the reservoirs far north from which the red men draw the water which irrigates their farm lands."

Burroughs reveals that the First Born are inadvertant saviors of a dying planet in the sole interest of keeping their identity secret. One of the many asides found in the novel which enriches the reading, yet is not a active plot element.

CHAPTER 7 - A FAIR GODDESS

David Bruce Bozarth

Carter struggles with the pirate, eventually hurling his deceased foe into the waters below. Gaining the deck illuminated by the nearer moon, Carter encounters a white female prisoner who, once freed, offers to cover the American with a pistol. Carter efficiently kills two of sleepers on the vessel and battles the remaining five with the girl's aid. Soon only one foe remains, felled unconscious by Carter's fist. At the girl's query he identifies himself, who is concerned he is an enemy of the therns. She is Phaidor, the daughter of Holy Hekkador Matai Shang. Carter, meanwhile, secures the reviving black warrior and takes the helm of the drifting vessel, turning north, traveling away from the battle below–though incautiously rising into thin atmosphere. The girl swoons, Carter adjusts height and heading. Later, crossing low above the Otz foothills, the black and girl revive, at which point Carter educates the girl that the black pirate is both human and Barsoomian, and not a creature from the moon named Thuria. The black refuses to answer Phaidor's inquiries as to his origin. Imperiously, Xodar, Dator of the First Born, asks Carter's intentions and is told he is to be taken to Helium. A conversation ensues wherein Xodar, at great length, describes the evolutionary history of Barsoom and the First Born's prominence. Carter belatedly notices an unlighted battleship in pursuit.

CHAPTER 8 - THE DEPTHS OF OMEAN

David Bruce Bozarth

Carter maneuvers, eluding the battleship. He damages the battleship's propellers but to little avail. Carter and Phaidor are overwhelmed. Xodar prevents their murder. Carter finds much to like about the black pirates. He and Phaidor are brought aboard and taken below. Carter and Phaidor philosophically debate thern slavery and the fabled slavery of the First Born. John Carter challenges the girl's beliefs, denouncing the thern deception as regards Valley Dor. Phaidor admits thern cannibalism of red Martians. Carter offers negatives, startling Phaidor. Xodar enters; confident of his control the captives are released, primarily to "educate" a thern daughter. The ship's course (described in detail) is to the Lost Sea of Korus and temple of Issus. Passing an ice barrier a canyon-like rift contains a "village of lost souls" populated by escaped slaves and Martians who lacked the heart to complete the Iss pilgrimage. Phaidor, to her horror, now understands the therns were duped by the First Born. The vessel arrives above a pit and descends to a subterranean sea. Xodar explains the harbor, heavy with warships. The water level is maintained by pumping overflows to reservoirs used by the red Martians. The vessel lands at an island. Xodar leads the captives to a building, announcing they would soon see Issus. Phaidor clings to Carter, bemused and shaken. Carter and Phaidor are taken to a submarine. Phaidor is terrified as the ship descends.

CHAPTER 9 - ISSUS, GODDESS OF LIFE ETERNAL

Dennis Wilcutt

Frazetta, colorized.

John Carter and Phaidor are taken by submarine through Mar's last sea to the Temple of Issus. On the trip, Phaidor professors her love for Carter but he rebuffs her entreaties, proclaiming his undying love and loyalty for Dejah Thoris. Xodar, their captor, takes them before Issus, the Goddess of Life Eternal, Supreme Deity of Mars. Carter is sentenced to a life of slavery on the Isle of Shador. Phaidor is allowed to live one year in the service of Issus. Xodar, having been bested physically by Carter during his capture, is sentenced to be Carter's slave for the indignity of his personal defeat. When Carter at last looks upon Issus he is shocked to discover that the deity is nothing more than an old, female black woman who feasts upon the flesh of the dead.

CHAPTER 10 - THE PRISON ISLE OF SHADOR

Dennis Wilcutt

John Carter easily dispatches Thurid, another great warrior serving Issus, to show the Goddess' race of guardians that his earlier defeat of Xodar was no fluke. Then he and Xodar are taken to the Isle of Shador where they are imprisioned with another younger unnamed Martian who was captured when his flyer suffered a mechanical failure. Carter suspects something familiar about the boy, but cannot tag what it is that bothers him. John Carter tells Xodar that Issus is but a fraud and is nothing more than an old black and vile, mortal woman. Xodar cannot accept this pronouncement and sulks until he concludes Carter is right. Together, they plan their escape from prison.

CHAPTER 11 - WHEN HELL BROKE LOOSE

David Bruce Bozarth

Xodar assists Carter in planning their escape by drawing maps of the local regions. Carter displays his enhanced physical powers by leaping to a window to observe the mooring area. Moments later Carter is taken to an arena for the monthly battles between captives and First Born who must prove themselves by surviving. Before an audience of First Born attended by their retinues of slaves, Issus selects her dinner (one of ten maidens who had seen her face) and the rest are to be killed by white apes. Carter knocks out the guard of his cage, takes up the fallen long sword, and battles the apes. The red youth breaks out of his imprisonment and takes up weapon and a cry to the others in the cages. Carter and the youth battle guards, protecting the women. A half-hour later Carter began to direct the battle between the armed prisoners and the guards of Issus. Seizing opportunity, Carter leads a charge against Issus' throne, now more lightly guarded as many of her men had been killed in the arena. Nearing the throne, the female slaves of the First Born rise up, killing their masters. Phaidor saves Carter's life during the battle. Issus escapes through a trap door. The red youth is knocked unconscious, the slaves and armed prisoners are all but gone, killed by the First Born rushing in from elsewhere.

CHAPTER 12 - DOOMED TO DIE

David Bruce Bozarth

Carter and the youth fall into the chute by which Issus escaped, ending in a cell. Issus leaves Carter to die. The youth, revived, reveals his knowledge of the secret chambers and corridors below the city and surrounding area by leading them out of the cell. Carter, during that excursion, silently remarks upon the races of Barsoom. Later, at the submarine pool, they steal a craft and return to Shador. There, displaying a fake message ordering their return to the prison island, Carter and the youth are again behind bars.

CHAPTER 13 - A BREAK FOR LIBERTY

David Bruce Bozarth

Carter relates recent events. Xodar acknowledges Issus is no divinity and joins the planned escape. Meanwhile, Xodar explains the First Born deception as regards the therns, revealing the predatory nature of the First Born. Xodar confirms Carter's statement red Barsoomians might live longer than 1,000 years if not for the thern religious teachings suggesting the voyage to Dor. A guard enters to inspect the confinement, then departs. Carter leaps to the window and reconnoiters, observing the naval traffic. Xodar states he has flier on one of the ships. Carter leaps to the top of the partitioning walls and sees the red youth. He brings him to the cell with Xodar. They make plans. Forthwith they escape. The youth and Xodar hide in the water beside the quay. Carter enters the guardhouse to obtain weapons. Gathering three swords and a revolver, Carter is discovered by a guard. Both fire their weapons, Carter leaps through a window into the Omean Sea; the three fugitives swim for Xodar's flier. Discovered, the trio flee on the flier. Small ships rise in pursuit. Carter's maneuvering upsets the nearest vessel. Xodar's comments suggest an ascent to the outer world. Revving the propellers, the small ship streaks upwards. Outdistancing the conservative pursuit, the ship is turned horizontal and heads due north. When Xodar compliments the adventure, naming John Carter, the red youth cries: "...John Carter, Prince of Helium, has been dead for years. I am his son."

CHAPTER 14 - THE EYES IN THE DARK

David Bruce Bozarth

John Carter is shocked by the declaration, then inquires of the boy's mother. He learns that Dejah Thoris and his desire to eschew Barsoomian convention has named their get "Carthoris." Xodar indicates the ship is failing. Carter takes the helm as Xodar and Carthoris attempt repairs. Eventually the vessel fails, they descend to the surface. They hide in the foliage of Barsoom, sleeping. Carter awakes to Thuvia's kisses, whose voice awakes Xodar and Carthoris. Thuvia relates her adventures, fearing Tars Tarkas is dead in a battle with green Warhoon warriors in a dead city, his overwhelmed body carried away. Carter declines offers from Xodar and Carthoris to investigate the Thark's capture. At nightfall Carter enters the dead city. Carter locates the prison and descends into the dungeons. He sees Tars Tarkas being released from chains and follows through the dark passages. He becomes separated, then confused by the underground corridors. Carter sees an apparition with fiery eyes and retreats, pursued. Soon other eyes converge, he challenges them, they retreat, but always staying close. As he raised his sword to face an attack, a heavy body hits his back.

CHAPTER 15 - FLIGHT AND PURSUIT

David Bruce Bozarth

Carter recovers, unharmed. Joining Tars Tarkas, the pair cannot enter the courtyard, ascending the building. Tan Gama's woman reveals an inconsistency. Carter and Tars Tarkas escape, stealing thoats and return to the camp in the desert. Xodar and Tars Tarkas are introduced. The group mounts thoats riding north. Napping at noon the following day, Thuvia wakes Carter, "a great body of pursuers." Racing north, night and day, the horde closes. Thuvia, riding double with Carter, sacrifices herself by dismounting. Carter's band turns with him to defend Thuvia. The four, Carter, Carthoris, Tars Tarkas and Xodar, battle the Warhoons. During the battle a Heliumetic battleship arrives.

CHAPTER 16 - UNDER ARREST

Fredrik Ekman

The Heliumetic ship is followed by two more and a landing crew is sent down to the party. The leader of the crew, Hor Vastus, starts to ask John Carter where he has been. Changing his mind in mid-sentence, he casts his sword before John Carter's feet. Fliers are sent out to search for the missing Thuvia (and later return without having found her) while John Carter and the others are brought aboard the first ship where they are greeted by Kantos Kan. Kantos Kan explains what has transpired in Helium. Mors Kajak and Tardos Mors have disappeared while searching for Carthoris. Dejah Thoris has also disappeared after Zat Arrras, who is ruling Helium in the absence of Mors Kajak and Tardos Mors, has asked for her hand. She is believed to be headed for the valley Dor and these ships, under Zat Arrras' command, are searching for her. The party is then brought over to Zat Arrras aboard the flagship. Zat Arrras questions John Carter and calls him a "cowardly carcass." This makes John Carter lose his patience and he attacks Zat Arrras. In the face of possible bloodshed, however, Kantos Kan convinces John Carter to desist and they return to Kantos Kan's ship. Returning to Helium, factions for and against John Carter start to emerge among the crew. Back in Helium, the party is immediately brought to the Temple of Reward, there to await their trial. (The chapter ends with a footnote explaining measurement of time on Barsoom.)

TABLE
200 tals . . . . . . . 1 xat
 50 xats . . . . . . . 1 zode
 10 zodes  . . . . . . 1 revolution of Mars upon its axis.

CHAPTER 17 - THE DEATH SENTENCE

Fredrik Ekman

As the trial begins, John Carter notices that almost all the thirty-one judges are from Zodanga, as are all the guards. Charged by Zat Arrras with crimes of heresy he and the others are immediately sentenced to death, but Kantos Kan steps forth and demands that the prisoners be at least allowed to be heard. As the audience is apparently on his side, Zat Arrras cannot deny this and so John Carter, turning away from the judges to the audience, pleads his case, appealing to both the sentiments and the reasoning minds of his listeners. Again, however, the death sentence is pronounced, and again Kantos Kan interferes, calling the audience to silence and throwing his sword before John Carter's feet. Many others follow his example. Kantos Kan urges the party to leave the room, but Zat Arrras orders them arrested. An armed conflict seems almost inevitable when John Carter steps forth to suggest that the case should rest for one year. If Tardos Mors has not by then returned a second trial may be held. Zat Arrras, realising that he has little alternative, agrees and allows everyone to leave the temple in peace. Moving through crowds of people, the party goes to John Carter's home where he is met by his slaves. A dinner is arranged but the mood is sombre due to the absence of Dejah Thoris. In the middle of the dinner Sola unexpectedly arrives outside bearing news that Dejah Thoris has been kidnapped by the black pirates.

CHAPTER 18 - SOLA'S STORY

J. G. Huckenpöhler

Sola tells John Carter and his friends how Dejah Thoris decided to escape from Zat Arrras by taking the pilgrimage down the River Iss and of her own decision, and that of several of the princess' guards, to accompany her. On the way their caravan was seized by the Black Pirates and she (Sola) was thrown overboard just as the pirate fleet crossed over a mountain range, so that she fell only twenty feet or so. John Carter plans with Tars Tarkas, Carthoris, Xodar, Hor Vastus, and Kantos Kan to raise an army and a fleet and rescue the princess, but they are overheard by a spy and after he goes to bed John Carter is captured and taken through a series of secret passages to face Zat Arrras.

CHAPTER 19 - BLACK DESPAIR

David Bruce Bozarth

Zat Arrras makes demands of Carter as condition of release: Tardos Mors, Mors Kajak and Dejah Thoris may not return to Helium and he becomes Jeddak of Helium. Carter refuses. Imprisoned, months pass. He eventually seeks information from the friendly prison guard delivering his meals. Carter suggests (Phartak) go the palace and obtain a harness as an expression of his gratitude. "All I ask is that you wear it..." Wary, the youth declines until Carter authors a note on his 300th day of imprisonment. Parthak does not serve the next meal and no inquiry learns what happened to the friendly jailer. Thirty days pass, leaving thirty days remaining before Dejah Thoris is ordered to the deadly rites of Issus. Carter deals with anxiety and depression. He feigns death to overcome the jailer-–and recognizes Carthoris just as he strikes. Overwrought to have killed his son, Carter faints. Later, aroused by Carthoris, bruised but not badly injured, Carter learns Parthak's note and receiving the gifts (ceasing Carthoris' obligation) led to Parthak's imprisonment. Trickery, by Xodar's suggestion, placed Hor Vastus as a Zodangan prisoner in Parthak's cell to learn of Carter's location. The guard Carthoris killed is hidden and both escape through underground corridors. Kantos Kan, Tars Tarkas, Hor Vastus, and Xodar report to Carter. One thousand ships of the line are at Hastor–-116,000 ships and auxiliary vessels in total-–and 900 transports await at Thark. Tars Tarkas reveals the 50 chieftains of Thark concur, he remains Jeddak of Thark, leading 250,000 green men (from 1,000 communities and 100 hordes). Hor Vastus states a million veteran warriors of Helium are ready. Shots ring outside the council. A spy of Zat Arrras is killed. Examination of the body discloses the spy is a white Holy Thern, whose companion has escaped by treachery at the city gate. It is discovered half the gate guards are therns in disguise. Carter orders an immediate mobilization of forces.

CHAPTER 20 - THE AIR BATTLE

David Bruce Bozarth

The fleet sails from Hastor. Carter learns the date–too late, by Carter's reckoning–to save Dejah Thoris. Ciphered wireless communications are subject decryption, therefore rarely used. The ships cross the ice cap. A scout flier gives warning of a fleet SSE bearing upon them. Carter dispatches 10 battleships to bottle the Omean entrance then engages the hostile fleet with devastating results. 100,000 Tharks land amongst the Therns as 150,000 others fire from circling transports. Kantos Kan directs the aerial assault, nullifying the hostile fleet. The Thern resistance fails. The fleet moves toward the Omean, encountering another war fleet. A message arrives: "Surrender, in the name of the Jeddak of Helium..." signed, "Zat Arrras." The therns resume hostilities. Carter orders Thark landings. The ten battleships holding the Omean retreat, pursued by another fleet–the First Born. Carter fights with abandon, inspiring his men. Kantos Kan shows the colors of the Prince of Helium. The tide turns. Zodangan ships succumb. Zat Arrras' flagship leading 5,000 vessels remains unconquered. Carter's ship closes. Zat Arrras suicides. Carter extricates the Heliumetic fleet. Battles between thern and First Born continue. Carter recovers the green men from ground fighting. Xodar commands the transports and 5,000 battleships (Summarizer's note: presumably the captured ships in addition to the original attacking force) attacking the Temple of Issus. Carter, Kantos Kan, and Carthoris head for the Omean. At night the ships enter the subterranean entrance delivering 400 of 500 ships before first conflict. The entrance is sealed with captured vessels. The submarine is captured. Yersted recalls Dejah Thoris was transported. Carter learns she is not dead (he has miscalculated the length of a Martian year). Carter is told of the Temple of the Sun and the revolving shaft.

CHAPTER 21 - "THROUGH FLOOD AND FLAME"

Robert Zeuschner

Yersted's revelation that Dejah Thoris is alive and was to be placed in the revolving Temple of the Sun causes John Carter to gather his forces to reach the temple before Tars Tarkas's forces attack at dawn. Carter, Carthoris, and the others make their way through underground passages. The water levels rise, the First Born are attempting to drown them. Carthoris leads an attempt to escape the waters. John Carter realizes that many will drown before reaching the upper pits. Carter signals thirty utans to follow him. The group (3,000 strong) make it to a higher level and are met by flame and smoke. Turning aside, John Carter checks to make sure that all are safe. But then he finds himself trapped by a steel grate which had been lowered; his men have been watched at each step. Carter retreats to a passage filled with water and swims underwater to safety after nearly drowning. He rushes up a passageway intent upon killing Issus if he cannot save his beloved Dejah Thoris. He finds a portal leading to an inner temple room. He rushes in to find a figure asleep. Assuming it is Issus he is ready to attack when the figure stands up, it is Dejah Thoris herself. The two embrace tenderly.

CHAPTER 22 - "VICTORY AND DEFEAT"

Robert Zeuschner

Dejah Thoris reveals her lost hope over the years. Carter explains their son leads the fighting in the halls. Carter dares not leave Dejah Thoris or take her into battle. Hiding her in a pit chamber, Carter joins the battle, demoralizing the First Born. The Heliumetic forces enter Issus' inner chambers. Tars Tarkas' horde crosses the gardens, supported by utans of red warriors. Victory assured, Carter and son return to retrieve Dejah Thoris. She is gone. Carthoris leads Carter to the chamber of Issus, breaking past her guards. Holding a dagger to her throat, he demands the location of Dejah Thoris. Issus, overwhelmed by the First Born defeat, goes mad. Carter learns Issus placed Dejah Thoris, Thuvia, and Phaidor in the Temple of the Sun with insufficient food for all three to last a year. Xodar, Carter, Carthoris, Hor Vastus and Kantos Kan rush to the temple's interior, a revolving shaft with chambers. The doorway is obstructed by massive bars. Carter touches Dejah Thoris' hand. Phaidor approaches. "Tell me you love me..." Carter replies "I love only the Princess of Helium." The black armies set fire to the pits, the temple fills with smoke. Xodar pushes extra food through the closing doorway. The opening is a thin crack when Phaidor attacks Dejah Thoris with a dagger. Thuvia rushes to protect Dejah Thoris. The doorway closes and a single shriek rings out. Carter refuses to leave, and is physically carried out of the burning temple. Did the assassin's dagger stab Dejah Thoris, or another? Only time will divulge.