Thuvia, Maid of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

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Thuvia, Maid of Mars is the fourth novel in the Barsoom series, authored by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Unlike the previous three novels, the focus shifts away from John Carter and Dejah Thoris and onto their son, Carthoris, Prince of Helium; and Thuvia, Princess of Ptarth and titular character. Some things never change, though; like with the previous novels, a princess is kidnapped and the traditional male hero needs to rescue her.

Unlike the other novels, Carthoris is implicated in Thuvia’s kidnapping, which precipitates a war between nations. Carthoris has to rescue her and make it back in order to stop the war.

As with the other books, Thuvia, Maid of Mars was first serialized before being released as a novel. It introduces some interesting concepts, such as a new alien race, the Lotharians. With them, Burroughs explores a race of martians that have intellectually developed to a greater degree than their contemporaries, but have been nearly wiped out. Bodily weak, they instead focused on developing their mental faculties – which have progressed to the point where they can create deadly illusions. In general, the Lotharians seem to be weak and ignoble (this might simplpy be a result of having almost been rendered extinct through their wars with the Green Martians). One notable exception is Kar Komak, a noble and chivalrous Lothorian archer that undergoes some interesting changes.

Burroughs’s vision of mars was adapted from speculation put forth by Percival Lowell, who put forth the theory that there were canals on Mars. Lowell thought that Mars used to be like Earth but time had ravaged it to its current state. The canal theory came to be thanks to a mistranslation of the Italian canali, which meant channels

If you want a hard copy, you can get one here. If you want the entire Barsoomian series, that’s available here.