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Mass Market Paperback The Chessmen Of Mars (Ballantine 23582, Mars #5) Book

ISBN: 0345235827

ISBN13: 9780345235824

The Chessmen Of Mars (Ballantine 23582, Mars #5)

(Book #5 in the Barsoom Series)

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Format: Mass Market Paperback

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

Held captive by grotesque bodiless heads, Princess Tara of Helium was rescued by a warrior who dared not reveal his name. But escape led the daughter of the Warlord of Mars into even more loathesome peril -- as the prize in a bloody game of living chess.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

WORTH NOT FORGETTING

Burroughs' Martian Series is worth remembering and rereading from time to time. I first read these books well over 50 years ago and they, and this book, have lost none of their charm. For the student of SiFi and S & S, these are a must read. Granted, the style is certainly different than todays books, but this is a plus. We need to read and remember it. That being said, these books are just simply fun to read. Recommend them highly.

If I could give this book six stars, I would do it!

More stories followed after this one in the Barsoom series but with one exception none of them really came close to achieving the incredible feat of tale-weaving that Chessmen of Mars pulls off. Thuvia was the first fully capable of Burroughs' Barsoomian heroines, but Tara of Helium despite her petulant and child-like attitude comes across as one of the strongest and most winning heroines of early 20th century fiction.She is equally matched by the courageous and totally dedicated Gahan of Gathol, a jed (prince) from a remote land who falls madly in love with Tara and throws all away to win her love. Tara and Gahan traverse half of Barsoom as they seek to win their way back to Helium, and all the while he poses as a lowly panthan (mercenary) because the haughty Tara has so many forgotten suitors she cannot even recognize him.The most imaginitive parts of the story take place in the land of the Kaldanes, bodiless heads which worship only intellect, and in the barbaric land of Manator. The Manatorians prey upon their neighbors, including Gahan's own land of Gathol. Tara's cold facade of indifference slowly melts away as Gahan braves peril after peril to save her from the clutches on powerful warlords, and all the while he believes she wants nothing to do with him.The best scene in the book comes when Gahan takes on one of the greatest swordsmen in Manator by playing a deadly game of Martian chess for possession of the princess of Helium. And once the action begins in the arena, it doesn't stop until the last page. By the time Tara confesses her true feelings, the reader is assured that Gahan is really getting a prize and not a pouty spoiled princess. Both characters show a lot of growth and resourcefulness in this story. It's well worth the money in any format.

Burroughs' Best Martian Tale

Conventional wisdom has it that the first three books of Burroughs' Martian series, "A Princess of Mars," "The Gods of Mars," and "The Warlord of Mars" form an excellent trilogy and all the rest of the Martian tales are quite poorly done in comparison. I disagree.I will cite two examples as to why "Chessmen" is Burroughs' best work in this series. [1] You can hardly conceive of a more ghastly creature than a spider-being who lives as a parasite on headless human bodies, but that is a perfect description of Ghek the Kaldane, one of the central figures of the book. Burroughs takes this repulsive monstrosity and makes him such a loveable character that you cannot help but like him.[2] Burroughs not only wrote a good yarn, he wrapped his tale around a striking boardgame that he had invented--jetan, or Martian chess. It's no real trick to invent a chess variant. There are thousands of them, and most of them are rubbish. What is so singular about jetan is that it is a good chess variant. I read "Chessmen" as a child, and after reading it, the first thing I had to do was make a jetan set and play the game. I whiled away several enjoyable hours with the game. John Gollon, a noted authority on chess variants, had a similar experience when he was writing "Chess Variations." He thought he'd include a chapter on jetan for some comic relief, so he made a jetan set and played a few games. He found jetan "quite good--very playable and interesting." He then pronounced jetan "not a mere novelty, but ... a respectable game."These two singular achievments (Ghek & jetan) are not the only details that make "Chessmen" so enjoyable. Gahan of Gathol (aka Turan the Panthan) makes for a satisfying hero, and Tara of Helium fills the bill quite nicely for a damsel in distress.The heroes are noble, the villians are wicked, the cause is just, and the action is nonstop. Great escapist reading.

Burroughs' Best Martian Tale

Conventional wisdom has it that the first three books of Burroughs' Martian series, "A Princess of Mars," "The Gods of Mars," and "The Warlord of Mars" form an excellent trilogy and all the rest of the Martian tales are quite poorly done in comparison. I disagree.I will cite two examples as to why "Chessmen" is Burroughs' best work in this series. [1] You can hardly conceive of a more ghastly creature than a spider-being who lives as a parasite on headless human bodies, but that is a perfect description of Ghek the Kaldane, one of the central figures of the book. Burroughs takes this repulsive monstrosity and makes him such a loveable character that you cannot help but like him.[2] Burroughs not only wrote a good yarn, he wrapped his tale around a striking boardgame that he had invented--jetan, or Martian chess. It's no real trick to invent a chess variant. There are thousands of them, and most of them are rubbish. What is so singular about jetan is that it is a good chess variant. I read "Chessmen" as a child, and after reading it, the first thing I had to do was make a jetan set and play the game. I whiled away several enjoyable hours with the game. John Gollon, a noted authority on chess variants, had a similar experience when he was writing "Chess Variations." He thought he'd include a chapter on jetan for some comic relief, so he made a jetan set and played a few games. He found jetan "quite good--very playable and interesting." He then pronounced jetan "not a mere novelty, but ... a respectable game."These two singular achievments (Ghek & jetan) are not the only details that make "Chessmen" so enjoyable. Gahan of Gathol (aka Turan the Panthan) makes for a satisfying hero, and Tara of Helium fills the bill quite nicely for a damsel in distress.The heros are noble, the villians are wicked, the cause is just, and the action is nonstop. Great escapist reading.

The Original and Authentic Magical Adventure

The Chessmen of Mars is, I think, the pinnacle of Burroughs career, and certainly the best of the Barsoom series. It's also one of the great science fiction romances of the Twentieth Century. As a boy, reading the typical John Campbell-influenced SF of the 1950s, nothing prepared me for finding this book (and about 30 other moldy Burroughs hardcovers) in my grandmother's attic. There's not an alienated child in the world who could read this book and not be struck deeply by the pathos and courage of Ghek the Kaldane, whose the real hero of the tale, rather than Gahan of Gathol, the golden boy who gets the girl.
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