12 years ago, Edgar Rice Burroughs laid the body of his uncle, John Carter, in his mausoleum. He left Burroughs the manuscript of his journey (a princess of mars). His body was found twelve years ago, and Burroughs often wondered if he was dead or if he had actually gotten back to Mars and if was alive,
He gets a telegram from John Carter and he sees him. He is just as young as ever.
“Apparently, he had not aged a minute, but was still the straight, clean-limbed fighting-man of thirty. His keen grey eyes were undimmed, and the only lines upon his face were the lines of iron character and determination that always had been there since first I remembered him, nearly thirty-five years before.”
He has returned to earth, he wanted to see his nephew and says this is the last time he will come to earth.
He gives Burroughs a packet of his adventures and he tells him to publish them if he wants.
John then goes into his mausoleum and he hasn’t seen him since. Burroughs then gives us the story.
“There is much which I have left out; much which I have not dared to tell; but you will find the story of his second search for Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, even more remarkable than was his first manuscript which I gave to an unbelieving world a short time since and through which we followed the fighting Virginian across dead sea bottoms under the moons of Mars.”
John is projected back to Mars. He is transported to some strange forest. It is strange because it looks so very un-Martian. There are strange trees and he sees an open sea. He travels through the forest and then sees a meadowland. He marvels at the beauty, but his attention is caught by something strange, odd creatures:
“Its hairless body was a strange and ghoulish blue, except for a broad band of white which encircled its protruding, single eye: an eye that was all dead white—pupil, iris, and ball. Its nose was a ragged, inflamed, circular hole in the center of its blank face; a hole that resembled more closely nothing that I could think of other than a fresh bullet wound which has not yet commenced to bleed. Below this repulsive orifice the face was quite blank to the chin, for the thing had no mouth that I could discover. The head, with the exception of the face, was covered by a tangled mass of jet-black hair some eight or ten inches in length. Each hair was about the bigness of a large angleworm, and as the thing moved the muscles of its scalp this awful head-covering seemed to writhe and wriggle and crawl about the fearsome face as though indeed each separate hair was endowed with independent life. The body and the legs were as symmetrically human as Nature could have fashioned them, and the feet, too, were human in shape, but of monstrous proportions. From heel to toe they were fully three feet long, and very flat and very broad.”
“f each hand, through its arm-like throats. In addition to the features which I have already described, the beast was equipped with a massive tail about six feet in length, quite round where it joined the body, but tapering to a flat, thin blade toward the end, which trailed at right angles to the ground. By far the most remarkable feature of this most remarkable creature, however, were the two tiny replicas of it, each about six inches in length, which dangled, one on either side, from its armpits. They were suspended by a small stem which seemed to grow from the exact tops of their heads to where it connected them with the body of the adult.”
These strange creatures were grazing in the meadow. A wail sounds and the plant men bound away like kangaroos towards the mouth of the river that flows into the sea. John follows them and the plant men are surrounding a small group of Green Men. The plant men attack the green men. A few falls quickly before they can begin to fight back, but the green warriors then start to fiercely battle the plant men. John sees he must help the last remaining warrior and so he jumps into the fray. Soon he and the warrior are fighting back to back with the lone green warrior. They make a dent in the one herd but then John sees hundreds more of the plant men coming toward them.
““It will be a great death,” I said to my companion. “Look!” As he shot a quick glance in the direction, I indicated he smiled. “We may at least die fighting and as great warriors should, John Carter,” he replied. “
It is John’s great old friend. Tars Tarkas, Jeddack of Thark
The friends make a break for the cliffs. The caves are made of gold and silver quartz with massive boulders of emeralds and rubies. John spies some cave but knows Tars Tarkas can’t make it up them, so they run to the trees. One of them lays John to the ground and then he sees the great white apes of mars with charging with the throng.
“They stand fifteen feet in height and walk erect upon their hind feet. Like the green Martians, they have an intermediary set of arms midway between their upper and lower limbs. Their eyes are very close set, but do not protrude as do those of the green men of Mars; their ears are high set, but more laterally located than are the green men’s, while their snouts and teeth are much like those of our African gorilla. Upon their heads grows an enormous shock of bristly hair.”
Tars Tarkas joins John and they fight like the two greatest Martian swordsmen they are. They are pushed up against a tree but find an opening at its base. They argue over who goes first, Tars eventually goes first
“And thus, I fought as I never had fought before, against such frightful odds that I cannot realize even now that human muscles could have withstood that awful onslaught, that terrific weight of hurtling tons of ferocious, battling flesh.”
John gets into the tree’s opening and they can defend it. Eventually the attacks stop, and they are left alone. The tree is hollow, fifty feet in diameter and they travel up a ladder in the hollowed tree. As they go up, they dismantle the ladder. The go out onto the branches and can reach the cave cliffs from the branches. They find a tunnel in the cave. At the end of the cave they find a button and it opens a door.
John senses something wrong, the door closes on them and he hears a strange laugh.
John asks where they are and Tars Tarkas explains that everyone thought he had gone to make the last journey any Martian makes down the River Iss to the Lost Sea of Korus in the Valley Dor. Even Dejah Thoris thought that. Tars Tarkas finding that his one true friend was gone hoped to find his lost love in the Valley Dor (heaven for Martians really) but he found this strange hell. Everyone on mars believes that this is a valley of peace and happiness. He now knows why none return, and even those who do return are killed upon sight. Tars says that they are screwed. Either they’ll die if they return or be killed by the plant men and white apes. John says they’ll figure something out. He then tells Tars that he’s been on earth.
They then examine the chamber, john presses the button and a voice rings out that there is no hope for them and that they will die. The voice tells them to go back and face their death. John sees through this plan to scare them. But after a time, a banth a barsoomian lion is in the cave with them.
“The banth is a fierce beast of prey that roams the low hills surrounding the dead seas of ancient Mars. Like nearly all Martian animals it is almost hairless, having only a great bristly mane about its thick neck. Its long, lithe body is supported by ten powerful legs, its enormous jaws are equipped, like those of the calot, or Martian hound, with several rows of long needle-like fangs; its mouth reaches to a point far back of its tiny ears, while its enormous, protruding eyes of green add the last touch of terror to its awful aspect.”
Banths keeping coming at them and for an hour tars and john slay them. John notices that the banths only appear when their backs are turned. He uses Tars Tarkas trappings as a mirror and see that there are doors in the golden cavern that the banths come up from. He sees in the mirror that he banths are loaded by chained red men. They beat the trick room. In the chamber behind the trick room he finds a white man and they start dueling. The stranger demands to know who John is. The therns are the only white men and john is not one of them. John kills the man and a chained woman alerts him to another. John is tired and wonders where tars Tarkas is. But he engages the man, wondering if he can beat him because he has fought so much today and hasn’t slept in a long time. John kills him, but he loses consciousness as the dead man falls on top of him.
John regains consciousness in the same chamber and hears Tars Tarkas fighting on the other side of the chamber. The woman whose cry tells him she’ll show him the secret of the chamber if he lets her free. He lets her free and they go to Tars Tarkas who is just a battered bleeding and bloody as John is. He is about to jump back into the fray, but the woman tells him to wait. She begins speaking to the banths and they become as docile as puppies at her feet. She leads them out of the cave and comes back after leading them away.
They introduce themselves to one another. Her name is Thuvia, for fifteen years she has been a slave of the Therns. She has learned a great deal about the therns over the years and because of that she is condemned to die. The Holy Therns eat human flesh and that was to be her fate. The Therns keep red men and women as food, as slaves, and for any other needs they have. The ones who escape the plant men are captured and become slaves.
Thuvia then explains that the Therns are an ancient race but just another Barsoomian race. After a thousand years they go to their heaven, the Temple of Issus, but if the die they are turned to a plant man, and if they die then, they turn into a white ape, and if that dies then their soul is lost. But like the Martians believe the valley Dor is heaven the therns believe the temple of Issus is sacred.
She tells them it is useless to escape, and John says he will find a way. John says not only should they escape for self-preservation, they should escape to destroy the myth that sends countless Martians to their deaths. They both agree to help.
They explain the plan to the others who Thuvia was chained with and give them the dead men’s weapons and they set off.
They go through the tunnels until they find a Thern. Thuvia shoots him point blank with a pistol and tells him that she has her revenge. She then tells John to wear his golden circlet crown and wig that all therns wear and gives him his harness. John now looks as much a thern as any. They find some place to rest and sleep and they fall asleep.
John awakens to gunshots. The only ones alive are Thuvia and Tars Tarkas who were sleeping like John.
John flies into a rage at what their attackers have done. He is a Holy Thern after all. He says that he has done their work. He killed the white man and captured the green man that were at large in the palace.
They go away but one man is suspicious. Thuvia and John realize that their ruse is up and that they need to escape. Thuvia explains that the therns have incredible fortresses, armies, and everything preventing escape. It would be useless.
They make it to a tower and can survey the landscape above the cliffs. They see a sentry and then a group of pilgrims, red men. But then the sentry gives a wail and sics the plant men on them. Thuvia urges them on. Banths stopped them twice, but Thuvia commands them away. Thuvia was originally thrown into the Banth pit after refusing the advances of a thern but because she found she could command them she was made into a banth trainer.
John suggests using the Banths she has trained to their advantage because the therns are afraid of them. They come upon a strange chamber. It is filled with freaks, freaks that come from the breeding of red and green Martians with the white men.
They continue and come to the gardens of the therns palaces. John wonders why there are so many guards when the therns are like gods on mars. Thuvia says that they fear the black pirates.
And like something out of a book the black pirates descend from the sky and start attacking.
“Such fighting! Never had I witnessed it’s like before. I had thought the green Martians the most ferocious warriors in the universe, but the awful abandon with which the black pirates threw themselves upon their foes transcended everything I ever before had seen.”
John had heard legends of the black pirates but nothing more. They were supposed to inhabit the moons of mars and carry away guns and young women where the women are sacrificed and eaten.
“They were large men, possibly six feet and over in height. Their features were clear cut and handsome in the extreme; their eyes were well set and large, though a slight narrowness lent them a crafty appearance; the iris, as well as I could determine by moonlight, was of extreme blackness, while the eyeball itself was quite white and clear. The physical structure of their bodies seemed identical with those of the therns, the red men, and my own. Only in the colour of their skin did they differ materially from us; that is of the appearance of polished ebony, and odd as it may seem for a Southerner to say it, adds to rather than detracts from their marvellous beauty”
But as beautiful as they are, they are horridly blood lusting. They are brutal. And amongst the fighting the black pirates are stealing women from the temples.
John asks why the therns don’t attack their craft. One day they did and the next a huge fleet of pirate warships just annihilated the therns. The pirates suffer the therns their existence and use them as a resource only.
While the fray is going on John Tars and Thuvia sneak to a two-man flier. But it can’t get off the ground with the three of them. John leaps off into the warriors charging after them and sends Tars and Thuvia flying off.
My seething blade wove a net of death about me. For an instant the blacks pressed close to reach me with their shorter swords, but presently they gave back, and the esteem in which they suddenly had learned to hold my sword arm was writ large upon each countenance.
John knows he can’t keep fighting like this but then the spirit of the true John Carter arises in him and he knows he must fight for Dejah Thoris. And he fights like no man. With his fighting smile and his arcing sword, he fights.
One pirate says that he fights like no Thern and John says he is no thern. Then he grabs an ancor of one of the ships as it floats away taking john from the fight. He climbs the ancor and sees a black face looking down at him.
The pirate and john look at one another for a moment and then the pirate pulls a revolver. John grabs his throat and chokes him, the he tosses him into the blackness below. He finishes climbing the ancor and gains the deck of the ship. A white girl is bound with pirates sleeping around her. She wants to help him kill the pirates and so they go about doing that. A few they kill in their sleep, but the others are awakened, and John must fight them. John beats them with the help of the girl.
The girl says john can be no thern and john tells her that she is correct. John introduces himself. And the girl asks if he is friend or foe. He says neither. But the girl is Phiador, daughter of Matai Shang, Father of Therns.
One man that John had knocked out is regaining consciousness, so john binds him. Phiador says to thrown him overboard.
““I am no murderer,” I said. “I kill in self-defense only.” She looked at me narrowly. Then she puckered those divine brows of hers and shook her head. She could not comprehend. Well, neither had my own Dejah Thoris been able to understand what to her had seemed a foolish and dangerous policy toward enemies. Upon Barsoom, quarter is neither asked nor given, and each dead man means so much more of the waning resources of this dying planet to be divided amongst those who survive. But there seemed a subtle difference here between the manner in which this girl contemplated the dispatching of an enemy and the tender-hearted regret of my own princess for the stern necessity which demanded it. I think that Phiador regretted the thrill that the spectacle would have afforded her rather than the fact that my decision left another enemy alive to threaten us.”
They travel upwards but there is no air and so John pilots them lower in the sky. The black and the girl both lost consciousness which proves to John that he is not from one of the moons.
The pirate demands to know who john is and john explains that he is no barsoomian though he fights for helium. Xodar, is the man’s name and he is one of the First Born the race of Black men? He is a prince of that race. They trace their lineage directly from the tree of life. Because of that the First Born are the highest order of men according to him. He is giving this long speech and John wonders at this. Out of the corner of his eye John sees a warship bearing down on them. The pirate had been distracting, stalling for time.
John using his amazing piloting skill he acquired from years in Helium evades the boarding party and tries to disable their propeller but, in the end, they are captured.
“The harness of the commanding officer was a solid mass of diamonds. Against the ebony background of his skin they blazed out with a peculiarly accentuated effulgence. The whole scene was enchanting. The handsome men; the barbaric splendor of the accoutrements; the polished skeel wood of the deck; the gloriously grained sorapus of the cabins, inlaid with priceless jewels and precious metals in intricate and beautiful design; the burnished gold of hand rails; the shining metal of the guns. “
They are taken below deck and imprisoned.
John sees Phiador looking at him longingly. She then blushes when he sees her doing it. She calls him handsome. But he sees sorrow in her eyes.
“They never take men, only women. I can imagine why. “
John tells her that that is exactly
what the Therns do.
But she says that all life on Barsoom is created for the Therns and that they are allowed to do what they want. They are the Gods of Barsoom and can do what they want. She says that if they escape, she will show him thern lifestyle and he will be convinced and perhaps stay with them if she can give him a reason.
John doesn’t understand her advance. And so, ignores it.
John says if they escape, he is going to destroy the myth that sends people to the therns and then kill every plant man he can.
She tells him not to blaspheme and that if he does that not even, she could save him.
Xodar comes in. He tells John that he will show him the real Holy Land of Barsoom.
John goes above deck and sees nothing but ice. He realizes he is on the southern pole of mars. He realizes that the therns live in a valley in the ice fields and that he first born live even farther south. The ice stops and a forest and lush world can be seen from the air.
All this has shaken Phiador’ s beliefs.
The ship lands in a lake and the they are swallowed up into the Valley of Dor. They are on a large sea, but they are heading to land.
Xodar says that they will soon meet Issus the goddess. Phiador clings to John out of fear. Xodar says that Issus sometimes keeps prisoners but only for a year.
As they travel below the waters Phiador begs John to save her. She will give him anything he wants, including herself, but he already has that. Then she kisses him.
John has never thought himself as a lady’s man, he’s a fighter not a lover. That being said he doesn’t know what to do about Phiador. He tells her about his strong love for Dejah Thoris. And Phiador starts raging saying that once they are free, he will be tortured for spurning her love.
“She had it all fixed up. The whole lovely programme from start to finish. It amazed me to think that one so divinely beautiful could at the same time be so fiendishly vindictive. It occurred to me, however, that she had overlooked one little factor in her revenge, and so, without any intent to add to her discomfiture, but rather to permit her to rearrange her plans along more practical lines, I pointed to the nearest port-hole.
Still terrified by the water she just crumples into a terrified heap. “
Eventually they surface in a cavern and Xodar tells them to follow him. They follow them to one of the most beautiful chambers John has ever seen. It is the temple of Issus. They are forced onto their hands and knees while the Goddess Issus enters the room. John is humiliated but he bears the humiliation for the love of Dejah Thoris.
Issus chooses Phiador to serve her and says remove the man. John is not impressed with his first meeting with a deity (he wasn’t permitted to look on her,)
Xodar joins john as they walk toward the gardens. He says that he is grateful john saved his life, and that though he can’t let john return to the world he knows, he will do what he can to make his life more bearable here.
Xodar says unless Issus lets him see her face he can live for years. But most likely he will be used in the monthly rites of temple where he will fight die and be eaten. John isn’t fazed by this.
As they walk someone sends for John. Phiador says that john is incredible and slew seven first born alone, also that he bound Xodar in his own harness.
But they go to Issus even though Xodar is uncomfortable thinking about his defeat.
Nonetheless they go to Issus and john sees her. He expects great beauty, but she is an ancient black woman, bald, and wrinkled. She has two teeth and horrible sunken eyes. She is repulsive.
Issus calls for Xodar and strips him of his rank and everything that he has.
She then says that later she will see John fight then leaves the chamber. Phiador then runs to John and says take her away. They’re only going to live for a year, let it be one filled with love.
John says the only person he loves is Dejah Thoris. And he hopes she can understand.
She can’t understand.
In the courtyard John sees Xodar being ridiculed. They mock Xodar then see John and demand he fight another Dator (Prince). They demand John fight Thurid a huge black warrior. He looks at Xodar and aims a kick at him, but then john matches his kick and hits Thurid in the shin.
Thurid Springs at John, but John sidesteps him and socks him in the jaw, and he falls to his feet. He then binds Thurid in his own harness as they had demanded of him.
They ask him who he is.
“I am a citizen of two worlds; Captain John Carter of Virginia, Prince of the House of Tardos Mors, Jeddak of Helium. Take this man to your goddess, as I have said, and tell her, too, that as I have done to Xodar and Thurid, so also can I do to the mightiest of her Dators. With naked hands, with long-sword or with short-sword, I challenge the flower of her fighting-men to combat”
John’s guard takes him to a prison. He searches the prison and finds a Martian boy there. He is lighter red than most, but he was beautiful. He’s sleeping so John leaves him alone.
He returns to find Xodar still moping and he tells him to stop moping. He wishes john had just killed him earlier.
He says Issus is omniscient and omnipotent and that she hears all thoughts and they john will be struck down. John says no one can read his thoughts. Then he says that Issus is hideous. Xodar calls him a blasphemer springs at him but john easily puts him down.
He tells Xodar Issus is no god, and that two such men as them may be able to fight their way out of here.
Later the young man awakens, and he says that he was searching for his father. John asks him whose father is, but a guard says that they will be imprisoned together and that Xodar will be his slave. John tells Xodar he won’t persecute him.
Xodar says Issus is a fraud and admits that the first born are no more special than any thern or red man. The whole fabric of their religion is based on Issus being almighty and that without that belief there is nothing. He wants to defy Issus with John. John says to sleep, and they’ll come up with a plan soon.
They are taken to the arena of Issus. The young man explains that he has fought often and that he is a mighty warrior that would make his father and mother proud. He asks him who his father is, and he is about to reply when a guard calls them out to the slaughter.
They are caged separately in an arena.
“The First Born do no work. The men fight—that is a sacred privilege and duty; to fight and die for Issus. The women do nothing, absolutely nothing. Slaves wash them, slaves dress them, slaves feed them. There are some, even, who have slaves that talk for them, and I saw one who sat during the rites with closed eyes while a slave narrated to her the events that were transpiring within the arena”
John is angered by the horrors he sees in the arena. John knocks out one of his guards, grabs his sword and kills the great apes that are attacking a group of women.
John fights the apes while a group of armed first-born charge. The young man entreated the other red men to fight with him and they all rush out to fight. AS John fights he watches the boy. He feels a kindred spirit in the boy and sees a fighting smile on his lips. For half an hour they fight side by side against warriors of the first born. After the guards are killed off warriors and nobles jump into the arena to fight too. John organized the prisoners to protect the girls while he leads a detachment to the throne of Issus. With the young man he gets to Issus throne.
He hears the cries of the slaves rising up and murdering their masters. It is only John and the boy against only a few warriors. John almost goes down but Phiador saves him. Phiador says they need to make a break for it, and they can get back to therns land.
John and the boy rally and then they are face to face with the goddess. The floor opens up and she springs into the hole.
The boy and john fall into the pit and are carried down a shoot.
At the bottom of the pit Issus says they will die in the pit then she disappears.
He and the boy talk in the pit and are glad they have each other. The boy is glad they are below the arena because he used to labor to remodel these very chambers and knows them exactly. He has the boy lead him back to their prison. They enact a rouse where they act as prisoners and get back to their prison cells.
Xodar is astounded by John’s tale. It is the final proof he needs to drop the idea of Issus’ divinity.
John explains his plan and Xodar says that there is a long tunnel directly to the land of the therns that he knows about. The first-born bear messages to continue the superstition of their religion using the tunnel.
Xodar talks about the futility of his life and the corruptness of the races of the Therns and first born.
John gets the red boy and they make an oath to get to helium. The boy gives him a strange look when john says he is a prince of helium but says nothing.
They get out of the prison due to John’s jumping, and they steal some swords, an alarm is tripped, but they get to a small ship and take off.
They ram one boat and escape onto the surface of mars, they’ve escaped the land of the first born.
“I said as much to Xodar, over my shoulder. “It is very wonderful, nevertheless,” he replied. “No one else could have accomplished it but John Carter.” At the sound of that name the boy jumped to his feet. “John Carter!” he cried. “John Carter! Why, man, John Carter, Prince of Helium, has been dead for years. I am his son.”
John is overjoyed and wants to be told everything that happened in his absence. They hug and John cries like a fool.
“A long life has taught me that a man may seem weak where women and children are concerned and yet be anything but a weakling in the sterner avenues of life.”
His son says that his mother has grown more beautiful but when she is alone, she is sad, thinking of John. But upon Barsoom’ s surface there is no greater name than John Carter. His name is carthoris.
The happy reunion is stopped short because their ship is leaking from the buoyancy tanks. They travel as far as they can and then go to the ground in a grove of the Martian water plants. John finally gets some sleep. John is awakened by Thuvia. Thuvia throws herself at John saying she loves her but knows it is unrequited love, but she loves him for saving her.
Tars Tarkas was captured by other green men but he made it so Thuvia could escape. Thuvia now says he is dead. It is the warhoon that captured him.
John says that they can’t leave tars Tarkas with the possibility that he is alive. John goes alone to the city of the warhoon. He follows a group to Tars Tarkas’ prison and trails them but gets lost in the dungeons of the warhoon. A strange beast finds him and pursues him, others come, and he is driven crazy by these creatures in the dark. Eventually he bumps his head and goes unconscious.
John awakens very shortly after and sees a torchlight. He hides from them and trials the party of green men, it is tars Tarkas and his guards. John kills the one guard left and has tars wear the metal of him.
They steal five thoats from the green men and get to the three others. They ride for a day sleep for an hour and then head out again because Thuvia sees a great body of pursuers. The ride the rest of the day and night pursued. Eventually their beasts fail. Thuvia tries to sacrifice herself for them but this is John carter.
“Poor child! She should have known John Carter better than that.”
Before John can get her, Carthoris leaps and grabs the girl and puts her on the back of his thoat with him. This fills john with pride.
John knows he is probably doomed and is sad that he didn’t see Dejah Thoris again but will make a mighty end of his life. But as the warhoon are so near them gunshots ring out and explosions fall on the attackers.
They are warships of helium.
Hor Vastus a heliumite soldier greets them. He offers John his sword which he accepts.
Kantos Kahn greets John, he is commander of all of Helium’s Navy.
Then John learns that after Carthoris left Dejah Thoris she mourned. But then the jeddack of helium fit out two great expeditions and left and now Dejah Thoris has disappeared.
Zat Arras Jed of Zodanga who hates john summons them and they go.
John states where he was and is called a blasphemer by Zat Arras.
“One does not call John Carter “coward” and “liar” thus lightly, and Zat Arras should have known it. Before a hand could be raised to stop me, I was at his side and one hand grasped his throat. “Come I from heaven or hell, Zat Arras, you will find me still the same John Carter that I have always been; nor did ever man call me such names and live—without apologizing.” And with that I commenced to bend him back across my knee and tighten my grip upon his throat. “
Kantos Kan begs john not to start trouble again. And John doesn’t kill him. He then returns to Kantos Kahn’s ship
Zat arras swears his loyalty to John before john leaves.
John can feel a division in the men. He knows that the law says that they should die because they were in the valley dor.
John knows many will support him, but many will demand the obedience to the law.
They are taken to the Temple of Reward the court room of helium.
In the courtroom john sees nothing but zodongans and he knows this will not be a fair trial.
Without being allowed to speak john carter is condemned to death. Kantos Kahn speaks up for John. And demands John be heard.
John speaks, he speaks about the horrors he’s seen hen asks the men of helium to believe him. And the heliumite nobles want to hear him. He talks for two hours.
Then Kantos Kahn speaks.
“You have heard the fate that the men of Zodanga would meet to Helium’s noblest hero. It may be the duty of the men of Helium to accept the verdict as final. Let each man act according to his own heart. Here is the answer of Kantos Kan, head of the navy of Helium, to Zat Arras and his judges,” and with that he unbuckled his scabbard and threw his sword at my feet.”
Zat Arras tells the guards to stop him.
And every single heliumite sword is raised for john proclaiming him the jeddack of Helium. He calls out telling them to not fight. He says let this matter rest until Tardos Mors returns.
Zat arras grants john one year to table the hearing.
There is a somber feast
But then a messenger says Dejah Thoris has been found.
Sola has been found and she tells John the black pirates have stolen her.
Dejah Thoris had left for her pilgrimage to the end of the world. For a week they traveled and were captured by black pirates. Thuvia was also captured. She told them John Carter is back and that they have Carthoris with him. They called off the search for john, kicked sola off the ship, and headed south again.
John has a meeting with his council of warriors, and they decide to go get Dejah Thoris.
Various men have individual tasks, but the plan is to storm the valley Dor and omean and keep helium’s throne away from Zat arras.
John awakens to men binding and gagging him. And then John sees Zat Arras.
Zat arras says that he wants to be Jed and that john will die unless he supports his claim as jeddack. That is the price of john’s freedom.
John refuses and is chained in the pits. For months he is kept there. One day he appeals to his guard that brings out food. He offers the guard finer trappings and after haggling and throwing a jeweled sword into the bargain he agrees.
The boy carries a note for John to Carthoris
At John’s count he had been in the pits for three hundred days. He knows something needs to be done quickly
But then a new jailer appears. For thirty days nothing happens. But then in a last ditch attempt he tries to kill his new jailer. But he almost winds up killing carthoris.
Carthoris made a plan to get johns location out of the former jailer and so they found him in the pits.
They escape the pit and john finds that their plan has been retarded by the secrecy required of it.
But there are a thousand battleships capable of storming omean. And there are 900 troopships that will allow the Thark to storm the valley door. They have 250,000 men ready to loot the lands of the therns and first born.
Also, Hor Vastus has a million fighting men ready to fight for john.
They have a scrape with some palace guards and Xodar finds a hiding holy thern. Unfortunately, therns had infiltrated and likely heard their plans. But they head to hastor where the fleets are an enact the plan to storm the lands of the gods of mars.
John realizes that he 365 days have passed since Dejah Thoris was captured. Likely she had been thrown to the apes of Issus, but he says nothing and knows that this is now a revenge mission. At least he will dispel the myths of the gods of mars.
And John finds that a fleet of pirates and therns will match his.
And john’s plans work fantastically his navy rushes the thern navy and the green men storm the thern’ s land.
Then the therns rally, Zat arras attacks with a fleet of his own, and the black pirate fleet attacks John’s fleet.
But then Kantos Kahn springs a trap. Immediately many of Zat arras ships show johns colors and the fleet descend into chaos now john goes and finds Zat arras demands he surrenders, and he promptly jumps off of his ship’s deck and dies.
John then notices that the blacks and therns care more about fighting each other and so john takes the bulk of his thousand water ships and they go to omean.
They make a safe landing. John finds his former jailer, and questions him about Dejah Thoris. John was thinking about earthy years not Martian years.
“A great light burst upon me. How stupid I had been! I could scarcely retain an outward exhibition of my great joy. Why had I forgotten the great difference in the length of Martian and Earthly years! The ten Earth years I had spent upon Barsoom had encompassed but five years and ninety-six days of Martian time, whose days are forty-one minutes longer than ours, and whose years number six hundred and eighty-seven days. I am in time! I am in time! The words surged through my brain again and again, until at last I must have voiced them audibly, for Yersted shook his head.
But Yersted says that Issus will have put her in the temple of the sun. it only opens once a year. Issus puts those who she dislikes but doesn’t want to kill. john is happy she isn’t dead and knows he won’t be thwarted after all of this.
No time can be lost. John must get to the temple before the attack in the morning. John takes his son and 5000 men to Issus’ temple using the corridors. But then the pumps of omean stop and they are very nearly drowned. John saves them however temporarily, there are fires on the other side of the chamber they are in and they are pinned between a flood and a flame. John again saves the men but then john is caught in a trap alone. He is pinned between the fire and water.
“Finally, I felt the lapping waters about my feet. The smoke was thick behind me. My suffering was intense. There seemed but one thing to do, and that to choose the easier death which confronted me, and so I moved on down the corridor until the cold waters of Omean closed about me, and I swam on through utter blackness toward—what? “
John swims for his life; he narrowly escapes the flood and finds an exit. He goes out into one room with one person in it. He hopes it is Issus so that he can kill her. But it is Dejah Thoris.
“John Carter, John Carter,” she sobbed, with her dear head upon my shoulder; “even now I can scarce believe the witness of my own eyes. When the girl, Thuvia, told me that you had returned to Barsoom, I listened, but I could not understand, for it seemed that such happiness would be impossible for one who had suffered so in silent loneliness for all these long years. At last, when I realized that it was truth, and then came to know the awful place in which I was held prisoner, I learned to doubt that even you could reach me here.
John says that Carthoris is safe and asks where Issus is. She doesn’t know. But Issus is terrified of what is to come. He wants to hide Dejah Thoris away, but she wants to be by her side.
“I shall not leave you, then, my Princess,” I
replied. She was silent for a moment, then she drew my face to hers and kissed me. “Go, John Carter,” she said. “Our son is there, and the soldiers of Helium, fighting for the Princess of Helium. Where they are you should be. I must not think of myself now, but of them and of my husband’s duty. I may not stand in the way of that. Hide me in the pits and go.”
He hides her in the chamber he came out from. Then John finds and joins the fighting.
“The fight within that room, had it had but a competent chronicler, would go down in the annals of Barsoom as a historic memorial to the grim ferocity of her warlike people. Five hundred men fought there that day, the black men against the red. No man asked quarter or gave it. As though by common assent they fought, as though to determine once and for all their right to live, in accordance with the law of the survival of the fittest. I think we all knew that upon the outcome of this battle would hinge forever the relative positions of these two races upon Barsoom. It was a battle between the old and the new, but not for once did I question the outcome of it. With Carthoris at my side I fought for the red men of Barsoom and for their total emancipation from the throttling bondage of a hideous superstition. “
The fighting stops when the green men break through the defenses of the first born.
With the fighting over pretty much, John takes carthoris to go find his mother.
And she isn’t there.
They go to Issus’ throne room and start fighting. John leaps over Issus’s soldiers, grabs her, draws his danger and holds it to her heart. He demands they stop fighting and then
r Kantos Kan, Hor Vastus, and Xodar. Break in.
Issus’s warriors demand she use her godly powers and strike the men down. She starts spouting gibberish. John forces words out of her.
Phiador, Thuvia, and Dejah Thoris are all in the temple of the sun.
He wants to kill her but thinks better. To the first born in the chamber in the temple he states she is no god. The people she duped tear her to pieces. Xodar leads john and friends to the temple of the sun.
Then they hear that the temple is on fire.
They make it to the temple of the sun but iron bars separate john from Dejah. Soon the temple would be sealed for the year.
“After he had left, I stood and talked with Dejah Thoris, and she stretched her dear hand through those cruel bars that I might hold it until the last moment. Thuvia and Phiador came close also, but when Thuvia saw that we would be alone she withdrew to the further side of the chamber. Not so the daughter of Matai Shang. “John Carter,” she said, “this be the last time that you shall see any of us. Tell me that you love me, that I may die happy.” “I love only the Princess of Helium,” I replied quietly. “I am sorry, Phiador, but it is as I have told you from the beginning.” She bit her lip and turned away, but not before I saw the black and ugly scowl, she turned upon Dejah Thoris.”
Xodar throws food and supplies into the remaining hole and then Phiador says she will kill Dejah Thoris. She raises a dagger and then Thuvia lunges for Phiador and then smoke and the temple are sealed.
John says he will die rather than leave the temple, but johns men force him away.
“Ah! If I could but know one thing, what a burden of suspense would be lifted from my shoulders! But whether the assassin’s dagger reached one fair bosom or another, only time will divulge”