ERB Summary Project



Cogdon Nestor

Frank Downes

David Innes

Abner Perry

Hooja the Sly One

Ghak, King of Sari

Dacor the Strong One

Canda the Graceful One

Dian the Beautiful

Ja, the Mozop

Tu-al-sa (a Mahar)

Kolk, son of Goork


Raja (a jalok)

Ranee (a jalok)



(Sagoths, Mahars, Luanians, bears, wolves, lidi)

Pellucidar first appeared in All-Story Cavalier Weekly May 1 and 8 and All-Story Weekly May 15, 22, 29 in 1915. A. C. McClurg's first edition was published September 1923 and Grosset & Dunlap's initial reprint followed a year later.


Summarized by
Members of ERBList

David A. Adams, Editor
David Bruce Bozarth, Managing Editor


The rich imagination of Edgar Rice Burroughs drew upon everything going around him, including the best science of his day, the early 1900s. One popular view that had been floating around for decades was the idea that the earth might be hollow. ERB loved to create new civilizations, and the inside of the earth provided a wonderful foil for his imaginings. One hundred and twenty-four million square miles of land surface. A world within a world, a universe set on the inside of a sphere!

ERB first explored the land inside the earth, which he called Pellucidar, in the novel "At the Earth's Core" (begun in January of 1913). In that book, the hero, David Innes, his inventor friend Abner Perry, and the heroine, Dian the Beautiful, went through many amazing adventures. David and Dian become a mated pair at the end of the book. However, perfidy was afoot; at the very end of the tale when David finally returns to the earth's surface he finds that instead of Dian the Beautiful, he has returned with a Mahar, a lizard-like intelligent life form. He is in the Sahara desert, and a group of Arabs attack. The book ends at that point. This exciting tale is continued in the second novel (begun in November 1914) which was entitled simply "Pellucidar." Now it is time to document David Innes' return to Pellucidar in search of his one true love!

Bob Zeuschner


Bob Zeuschner

The novel begins with Edgar Rice Burroughs preparing to return to northern Africa on another of his many hunting expeditions. However, before he can depart he receives a letter from someone named Cogdon Nestor from Algiers, who had read "At the Earth's Core." In the Sahara Nestor had found a box buried in the sand clicking Morse code signals, whose wires disappeared deep into the sand. The initials "D.I." are on a piece of paper. Nestor recalled that "At the Earth's Core" told of Innes and a box buried in the sand for communication. Nestor cannot believe that this clicking sound could be from David Innes, and so he writes to ERB asking him to confirm that the tale of the inner world was not pure fiction. ERB cables back to Nestor, "Story true. Await me Algiers." Hastening to Algiers, Burroughs, Nestor, and a Morse code operator Frank Downes return to the buried box. After four days of fruitless attempts to make contact, they finally do, with David Innes replying on the other end. For two months ERB transcribed the further adventures of David Innes at the earth's core, practically in his own words.


Bob Zeuschner

Innes recounts that Arabs helped him turn the great iron mole around so he could once again descend into Pellucidar. Taking the Mahar with him, Innes pilots the prospector for seventy-two hours until the vehicle finally emerges a few hundred yards from an ocean lit by the perpetual midday sun. David takes a deep breath; he is home. The Mahar emerges, soaks in the Pellucidarian sea and then flies away. Innes makes no attempt to stop her. Using his compass, which points into the sea, David draws a map (pictured in the novel). Loading ammunition, pedometers and other necessities, he heads south, blindly hoping Dian's land of Sari lay in that direction. Through dense primeval forests and over mighty mountains he searches--days, perhaps months--never encountering a sign of humans. Innes is startled by the cries of a human and sees an old man pursued by a dozen Sagoths, a species of gorilla-men who guard Mahar cities. Innes is staggered when he realizes the old man is Abner Perry! Innes shoots the first Sagoth with his express rifle then uses his revolver to shoot the second. Four shots are fired and four Sagoths fall. The remaining six hesitate, then turn and run. Perry throws his arms around Innes' neck, and weeps like a child.


David Oxford

At a river camp Perry relates how he came to be pursued by the Sagoths. Hooja had told Ghak and Dacor that David had no intention of returning to Pellucidar and had purposefully left Dian behind. When war broke out between Sari and Amoz, the Mahars regrouped and attacked each tribe in succession, subjugating all except Sari and Amoz. Dian the Beautiful--and Hooja--disappeared; Perry traveled to Amoz in search of her and fled when Hooja's henchman turned the Amozites against him. Returning to Sari, Perry was pursued by Sagoths. The men retrace their steps to the Prospector using David's map. Perry is outfitted in modern clothes and weapons. Their journey take them to The Mountains of the Clouds, which landmark directs their path to the island of Anoroc and Ja the Mezop, tribal chief and David's friend. Unfortunately, they are on the wrong side of the mountain range. They decide to cross the mountain range and establish a base camp and kill a shaggy mountain bear to provide the warm clothing needed. Recurring battles with bears and wolves occur as they seek a pass through the mountains. Crossing the divide they enter a dense fog and are trailed by two bears. Perry falls to his knees to pray. A bear's roar brings Perry to his feet and sends him running blindly into the fog. Despite David's calls and warnings, he receives no answer. He finds himself alone in the frigid impenetrable fog, certain that Perry lies at the icy bottom of a crevasse.


David Oxford

David is sad and lonely as he attempts to make his way over the divide by using his compass. The fog becomes even denser as he advances up a slope to level ground. Stepping forward he falls through space and encounters an icy smooth surface. He is carried at break-neck speed down the slope several thousand feet. He is overjoyed to find Perry alive and unharmed at the bottom. They journey downward toward the now visible Lural Az. After resting and sleeping for a long time, they follow a river for three long marches to the sea. With short axes and hunting knives, a forty by ten foot flat-bottomed boat is constructed with ten foot sides. As an afterthought, four masts are added to produce a sailing vessel named the "Sari." Upon launching by means of rollers made from small trees, the boat promptly capsizes. Drawing it up into shallow water, it is loaded one-quarter full with rock ballast and refloated with the incoming tide. A single mast is constructed with light sail. Planking is fastened over the ballast to produce the first deck and a second deck is added four feet above the first. Loopholes are placed in the upper three foot sides to allow firing on the enemy. At last they are safely launched, and they start on a peaceful journey that means so much to everyone.


David Adams

The Sari is attacked by unfriendly Mezops (red-skinned warriors) in canoes, but David's revolver turns them away. Perry declares that this is a glorious victory in the annals of Pellucidar. David says that Perry is the only male coward he could ever respect and love. They continue mapping Pellucidar by means of a compass and guesswork. When they meet Mezops of the hidden tree-village of the chieftain, Ja, on Anaroc, Ja is glad to see them again, and helps them fill in the map. All Pellucidarians have a homing instinct, so they never get lost. David decides to proceed to Sari to continue his search for Dian while Perry heads back to the prospector with a party of Mezops to start building a navy. David with a few Mezop companions are accosted by Sagoths who do not attack since there is peace between the Mahars and the Mezops. Later, the Sagoths come back capture David, killing his Mezop friends. David is taken to Phutra and the Mahars tell him they will spare his life if he returns the "great secret" to them -- the manuscript that explains their method of artificial propagation. David refuses, so he is taken to the pits for vivisection.


David Adams

David is moved to the great arena. He fights a tarag, the huge cave tiger of the Stone Age, beside a girl, who turns out to be Dian. With the aid of his revolvers, David holds the tiger off, then the Mahars send three thipdars (pterodactyls)down to carry the tarag away. They are saved because Tu-al-sa wanted to repay David for bringing her back to Pellucidar. (Tu-al-sa was the Mahar David unknowingly transported to the outer world at the end of "At The Earth's Core"). The Mahars still want their "great secret" back. Dian tells David to give it to them because he has the knowledge of superior weapons that will eventually destroy them anyway. David agrees to the conditions. He goes with a 100 Sagoths to find the cave in the little valley where he has left the manuscript, but Dian is held hostage until their return. On the way, he manages to retrieve his express rifle where it was left on the ground at his capture. They meet some human beings and explain their mission to them, and when they arrive at the cave, they find that the manuscript is gone! When they get back to Phutra they discover that the humans they had met included Hooja the Sly One. He has already returned the secret to the Mahars in exchange for Dian.


Bruce Salen (Hadron)

The Mahars release David. The Mahars do not tell David which direction Hooja took with Dian. David must find allies. The federation of tribes has been sabotaged Hooja's treachery. After a perilous journey David comes to Sari. There is great rage toward Hooja for all his evil--mainly his kidnapping of Dian the Beautiful. Ghak, king of Sari, sends 400 warriors to get Abner Perry and retrieve the contents of the "iron mole." A messenger from Thuria arrives, Kolk, son of Goork, chief of the Thurians. Thuria wants to offer its services to the "emperor" as the Mahars have attacked Thuria, taking captives to serve as slaves and as meals. It is revealed that Hooja has raised an army of outcasts of various tribes and wages war against Thuria. Kolk is also searching for his sister, Canda, the Graceful One, who was stolen by Dacor, the Strong One. David agrees to go to Thuria. Kolk gives him a special sign to present to Goork as safe passage. David departs on a perilous journey of 240 miles. He observes a pendant world, a planet about one mile above the surface of Pellucidar, which revolves around Pellucidar's sun in synchronous orbit, casting its shadow over the area known as the Land of the Awful Shadow. Upon awakening from one of his sleeps, Innes finds his weapons have been taken, unarmed, he faces an attack by a pack of wolf-dogs.


Bruce Salen (Hadron)

One of the hyaenodons attacks David. He and David fall over a cliff, 200 feet into the raging surf below. David comes to the surface and swims to shore. The beast tries to do the same, but with considerable difficulty. David rescues the animal and sets the creature's broken leg. He names the jalok RAJA. Soon he befriends the savage beast. When Raja's leg is healed, they go on, arriving at the village of the Thurians, whose chief is Goork. Goork believes that David is an enemy -- Kolk's token has been lost, and David cannot prove who he is, nor why he has come to Thuria.


Erich von Harben

David Innes is rejected by the Thurians as his token has been stolen. He is driven away as one of Hooja's minions. Following a sleep Raja disappears into the jungle. Feeling alone Innes builds a boat to visit Hooja's island. David lands at the opposite section of the island from Hooja's stronghold clambering the high cliffs. He is captured by a race of the sheep-faced gorilla men of Gr-gr-gr. (Burroughs comments that they were freaks of nature, as was the first man on the surface of earth.)


Erich von Harben

Working as a slave tending the gardens of Gr-gr-gr David learns much about his captors as he protests his innocence. During an attack of Hooja's horde David shows them how to roll rocks down upon the attackers assisting them to win a victory. Gr-gr-gr is finally convinced David is an enemy of Hooja and his ally. Following his participation in a victory orgy David heads for Hooja's lair. Finding a way to scale the cliff unseen David ascends and reaches a Mesa. Walking about a mile towards Hooja's city David runs into a fleeing man!


von Horst (Critchfield)

The man David happens upon is Juag, the chief's son of the subjugated people of Hooja's Island. Juag tells David of his escape from Hooja's men and that Dian is being held captive in their village. David leaves Juag and comes to the village of caves. He stealthily enters the cave holding Dian only to find another man there intending to take her to be Hooja's mate. David kills the man in a fight with stone knives. David and Dian spend a moment in each other's arms. They quietly leave the cave and return to Juag only to find two of Hooja's men stalking him. David stuns one with his javelin and recovers his stolen six-shooter then saves Juag by shooting the other. Juag is startled by the report of the pistol and dives off a cliff into a cove far below. The noise from the gun brings a group of natives from the village. David and Dian have but one hope for escape. They must also dive over the precipice!


von Horst (Critchfield)

Their situation seems hopeless as Dian comes from a tribe of hill-people, unaccustomed to swimming. David decides to try to delay the "Hoosiers", Perry's term for Hooja's men, while Dian carefully climbs down the rocks. He uses his pistol to keep the natives at bay as long as he can and then turns and makes the long dive. David survives the plunge and is rejoined with Dian and Juag. Their dugout damaged by the Hoosier's javelins, they decide to hike to the opposite end of the island where David's dugout is stashed. However, en route they captured by the Sly One's men. The captives are dejected by this turn of events and David and Dian briefly contemplate suicide. They are suddenly rescued by their old friends, Gr-gr-gr and his gorilla-men. These fierce males give the friends an escort to the hidden dugout and the three depart for the mainland. They land several miles north of Thuria and search for game. The search takes them far inland, entirely across the Land of Awful Shadow, into the Lidi Plains, and to the edge of a forest, where David and Juag kill a thag, the Pellucidarian elk. Then David realizes that Dian is missing!


David Adams

The tracks of a lidi’s feet tell David that Dian has been abducted by a Thurian. Raja, the jalok whose life David has saved, returns with his mate. Juag too becomes acquainted with the pair. David tells Juag to wait by the canoe on the beach for four days (M.Editor note: judged by the rotation of the Pendant World), then return to Sari for Ghak and his army. Innes goes in search of Dian with the jaloks acting like bloodhounds. When they spot a lidi with two riders, the jaloks attack and turn the beast around. After a long circle they come near David again, and the jaloks kill the Thurian. David’s male jalok prevents his mate from killing Dian, and after awhile they all become friends. They return to Juag and set out in the canoe together; even the jaloks are aboard -- Raja and Ranee, as the female is christened. Juag is much impressed with the sail that David constructed and learns to navigate by compass upon the open sea. They find the river that Hooja has taken to his stronghold, but a terrific wind-storm drives them out to sea again. Juag discovers he has lost the compass. Dian tells him that Pellucidarians do not have a homing instinct at sea. Suddenly, Dian spots many boats ahead.


David Adams

The many boats turn out to be 200 dugouts led by Hooja, paddled by 20 men each. Several of the crew are Sagoths. David and Dian duck down in the canoe while Hooja tells them he has lost 100 boats in the storm and that he is lost. They decide it best to sail away as fast as possible. Hooja shouts for Juag to come back, shoots arrows at him, and when he spots David and Dian join the furious paddling, he whoops with triumph. He does not know what sails can do for a boat. Hooja follows a long time and when his men tire of paddling, he shoots at them again -- to no avail. David's craft loses the pursuers in a freshening wind. Dian spots land. The wind shifts, blowing them back to Hooja. The mast breaks. As Hooja closes in on them, they paddle furiously toward shore, but are met by a horde of painted savages. They parallel the coast, followed by Hooja at sea and the savages on land. Suddenly they see a sight that fills David’s heart with wonder.


David Adams

David sees a two-masted felucca with lateen sails! Then 50 more just like it, each manned by more than 50 men -- 20 or 30 at oars. It is his own Pellucidarian Navy constructed by Perry. Hooja’s canoe is sunk by a cannon ball. In the ensuing battle Hooja's dugout fleet is crippled. Perry stops the killing to take survivors aboard the Amoz. David’s party is rescued by bronze Mezop sailors led by Ja. The battle with Hooja’s fleet resumes as David orders the ships into a large circle. (Ship construction is discussed at length, Perry’s knowledge and Ja’s practical advice.) With only 10 canoes remaining, David persuades the remnants to surrender. Ja wants to kill them, but David wants them to return to Hooja’s Island and the Mahar Cities with news of a new power in the land. The irony of Perry’s invention of gunpowder, firearms and cannon is Innes does not like to see killing. The Mezops pay homage to David, the emperor of Pellucidar. David makes Ja the King of Anoroc and elevates the 49 captains to dukes. Perry's map of Pellucidar is described in detail. David learns how thousands of Mezops built the fleet and weapons were fashioned so quickly. The Mezops were anxious to help and hungry for knowledge. Perry created an industrial system of mines and factories guarded by forts. David remarks “it is nothing short of a miracle to transplant all the wondrous possibilities of the twentieth century back to the Stone Age.” Perry wants to make more and better weapons, but David argues for inventions of peace -- sewing machines, harvesters, plows, telephones, schools, printing presses.


David Adams

The fleet reduces Hooja’s island stronghold and Juag and his tribe return to their hilltop home. Juag is made King. Peaceful coexistence with Gr-gr-gr and the beast-men is established. Meanwhile, Ghak’s army besieges Goork's walled village. The fleet sails to the Thurian's coastal village, which quickly surrenders. Goork swears allegiance before David's fleet sails up river to Sari, followed by Ghak's army. Innes' plans war against the Mahars, his army attacking one Mahar city after another. At Phutra the Sagoths are absolutely exterminated. The Mahars flee underground, releasing poison gas when pursued. Perry seals cave entrances with explosives, the Mahars flee to avoid being buried alive. Flying to an inland sea, the army follows, attacking Mahars from a ridge. The Mahars swim away, but are met by Ja’s fleet, killing more before they dive and swim southward. Following Phutra, David discovers Perry teaching a Mezop youth how to read. Ja and David sail to South Island, the southernmost of the Anorocs to make peace, then to distant Luana, adding adding by battle to the empire of allies. Mahar battles continue as far north as Amoz. David, always victorious, follows the Mahar retreat northward. The Sagoths defect and join David’s army. David frees seven countries from Mahar domination, each joins his federation. The Mahars are driven beyond the empire. David guesses there must be hundreds or thousands of Mahar cities in far-distant lands. Sari becomes the seat of David’s empire. Mills, factories, and schools are built. The people are happy working at something they enjoy. There is no money, only a system of simple exchange. Private wealth cannot be held and all excess reverts to the government. David and Dian live in a great palace overlooking the gulf. An observatory develops a way of telling 24 hour time. They have wireless and telephonic communications. Innes thinks he has created a Utopia. Perry is laying out a railway-line from Sari to Amoz. David and Dian are content.