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A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

(Barsoom, 1)

A Princess of Mars is the first volume in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic Barsoom series.

Book Details

Book Details

A Princess of Mars is the first volume in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic Barsoom series.

John Carter, a Virginia gentleman, a former captain of cavalry in the American Civil War, is prospecting for gold in Arizona. When he and his partner find a vein of quartz bearing gold, his partner sets off to get machinery and men to mine it. Carter sees his partner is trailed by Apaches and sets off in pursuit to render aid. The Apaches in turn, begin to pursue him. Hiding in a cave, somehow Carter is transported to the planet Mars, known to the peoples and beings there as Barsoom. And there on Barsoom, Carter meets a Princess of Mars.

Chapter I – On The Arizona Hills
Chapter II – The Escape Of The Dead
Chapter III – My Advent On Mars
Chapter IV – A Prisoner
Chapter V – I Elude My Watch Dog
Chapter VI – A Fight That Won Friends
Chapter VII – Child-Raising On Mars
Chapter VIII – A Fair Captive From The Sky
Chapter IX – I Learn The Language
Chapter X – Champion And Chief
Chapter XI – With Dejah Thoris
Chapter XII – A Prisoner With Power
Chapter XIII – Love-Making On Mars
Chapter XIV – A Duel To The Death
Chapter XV – Sola Tells Me Her Story
Chapter XVI – We Plan Escape
Chapter XVII – A Costly Recapture
Chapter XVIII – Chained In Warhoon
Chapter XIX – Battling In The Arena
Chapter XX – In The Atmosphere Factory
Chapter XXI – An Air Scout For Zodanga
Chapter XXII – I Find Dejah
Chapter XXIII – Lost In The Sky
Chapter XXIV – Tars Tarkas Finds A Friend
Chapter XXV – The Looting Of Zodanga
Chapter XXVI – Through Carnage To Joy
Chapter XXVII – From Joy To Death
Chapter XXVIII – At The Arizona Cave

Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875–1950) was one of the giants of American adventure and science-fiction writing. He will forever be known for his creations; Tarzan, John Carter of Mars, and the Pellucidar stories which took place inside a hollow earth.

There were numerous efforts to adapt A Princess of Mars into a film but the only successful effort was John Carter released by Disney in 2012.

JohnCarterPoster A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Movie poster for John Carter

A Princess of Mars contains 5 illustrations by Frank E. Schoonover.


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Excerpt: A Princess of Mars

Chapter I

On The Arizona Hills

I  AM a very old man; how old I do not know. Possibly I am a hundred, possibly more; but I cannot tell because I have never aged as other men, nor do I remember any childhood. So far as I can recollect I have always been a man, a man of about thirty. I appear today as I did forty years and more ago, and yet I feel that I cannot go on living forever; that some day I shall die the real death from which there is no resurrection. I do not know why I should fear death, I who have died twice and am still alive; but yet I have the same horror of it as you who have never died, and it is because of this terror of death, I believe, that I am so convinced of my mortality.

And because of this conviction I have determined to write down the story of the interesting periods of my life and of my death. I cannot explain the phenomena; I can only set down here in the words of an ordinary soldier of fortune a chronicle of the strange events that befell me during the ten years that my dead body lay undiscovered in an Arizona cave.

I have never told this story, nor shall mortal man see this manuscript until after I have passed over for eternity. I know that the average human mind will not believe what it cannot grasp, and so I do not purpose being pilloried by the public, the pulpit, and the press, and held up as a colossal liar when I am but telling the simple truths which some day science will substantiate. Possibly the suggestions which I gained upon Mars, and the knowledge which I can set down in this chronicle, will aid in an earlier understanding of the mysteries of our sister planet; mysteries to you, but no longer mysteries to me.

My name is John Carter; I am better known as Captain Jack Carter of Virginia. At the close of the Civil War I found myself possessed of several hundred thousand dollars (Confederate) and a captain’s commission in the cavalry arm of an army which no longer existed; the servant of a state which had vanished with the hopes of the South. Masterless, penniless, and with my only means of livelihood, fighting, gone, I determined to work my way to the southwest and attempt to retrieve my fallen fortunes in a search for gold.

I spent nearly a year prospecting in company with another Confederate officer, Captain James K. Powell of Richmond. We were extremely fortunate, for late in the winter of 1865, after many hardships and privations, we located the most remarkable gold-bearing quartz vein that our wildest dreams had ever pictured. Powell, who was a mining engineer by education, stated that we had uncovered over a million dollars worth of ore in a trifle over three months.

As our equipment was crude in the extreme we decided that one of us must return to civilization, purchase the necessary machinery and return with a sufficient force of men properly to work the mine.

As Powell was familiar with the country, as well as with the mechanical requirements of mining we determined that it would be best for him to make the trip. It was agreed that I was to hold down our claim against the remote possibility of its being jumped by some wandering prospector.

On March 3, 1866, Powell and I packed his provisions on two of our burros, and bidding me good-bye he mounted his horse, and started down the mountainside toward the valley, across which led the first stage of his journey.

The morning of Powell’s departure was, like nearly all Arizona mornings, clear and beautiful; I could see him and his little pack animals picking their way down the mountainside toward the valley, and all during the morning I would catch occasional glimpses of them as they topped a hog back or came out upon a level plateau. My last sight of Powell was about three in the afternoon as he entered the shadows of the range on the opposite side of the valley.

Some half hour later I happened to glance casually across the valley and was much surprised to note three little dots in about the same place I had last seen my friend and his two pack animals. I am not given to needless worrying, but the more I tried to convince myself that all was well with Powell, and that the dots I had seen on his trail were antelope or wild horses, the less I was able to assure myself.

Since we had entered the territory we had not seen a hostile Indian, and we had, therefore, become careless in the extreme, and were wont to ridicule the stories we had heard of the great numbers of these vicious marauders that were supposed to haunt the trails, taking their toll in lives and torture of every white party which fell into their merciless clutches.

Powell, I knew, was well armed and, further, an experienced Indian fighter; but I too had lived and fought for years among the Sioux in the North, and I knew that his chances were small against a party of cunning trailing Apaches. Finally I could endure the suspense no longer, and, arming myself with my two Colt revolvers and a carbine, I strapped two belts of cartridges about me and catching my saddle horse, started down the trail taken by Powell in the morning.

As soon as I reached comparatively level ground I urged my mount into a canter and continued this, where the going permitted, until, close upon dusk, I discovered the point where other tracks joined those of Powell. They were the tracks of unshod ponies, three of them, and the ponies had been galloping.

I followed rapidly until, darkness shutting down, I was forced to await the rising of the moon, and given an opportunity to speculate on the question of the wisdom of my chase. Possibly I had conjured up impossible dangers, like some nervous old housewife, and when I should catch up with Powell would get a good laugh for my pains. However, I am not prone to sensitiveness, and the following of a sense of duty, wherever it may lead, has always been a kind of fetich with me throughout my life; which may account for the honors bestowed upon me by three republics and the decorations and friendships of an old and powerful emperor and several lesser kings, in whose service my sword has been red many a time.

About nine o’clock the moon was sufficiently bright for me to proceed on my way and I had no difficulty in following the trail at a fast walk, and in some places at a brisk trot until, about midnight, I reached the water hole where Powell had expected to camp. I came upon the spot unexpectedly, finding it entirely deserted, with no signs of having been recently occupied as a camp.

I was interested to note that the tracks of the pursuing horsemen, for such I was now convinced they must be, continued after Powell with only a brief stop at the hole for water; and always at the same rate of speed as his.

I was positive now that the trailers were Apaches and that they wished to capture Powell alive for the fiendish pleasure of the torture, so I urged my horse onward at a most dangerous pace, hoping against hope that I would catch up with the red rascals before they attacked him.

Excerpt From: Edgar Rice Burroughs. “A Princess of Mars.”

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