The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 0

[Frontispiece: The cold hollow eye of a revolver sought the center
of my forehead.]




THE GODS OF MARS

Edgar Rice Burroughs





FOREWORD


Twelve years had passed since I had laid the body of my great-uncle,
Captain John Carter, of Virginia, away from the sight of men in that
strange mausoleum in the old cemetery at Richmond.

Often had I pondered on the odd instructions he had left me governing
the construction of his mighty tomb, and especially those parts which
directed that he be laid in an OPEN casket and that the ponderous
mechanism which controlled the bolts of the vault's huge door be
accessible ONLY FROM THE INSIDE.

Twelve years had passed since I had read the remarkable manuscript of
this remarkable man; this man who remembered no childhood and who could
not even offer a vague guess as to his age; who was always young and
yet who had dandled my grandfather's great-grandfather upon his knee;
this man who had spent ten years upon the planet Mars; who had fought
for the green men of Barsoom and fought against them; who had fought
for and against the red men and who had won the ever beautiful Dejah
Thoris, Princess of Helium, for his wife, and for nearly ten years had
been a prince of the house of Tardos Mors, Jeddak of Helium.

Twelve years had passed since his body had been found upon the bluff
before his cottage overlooking the Hudson, and oft-times during these
long years I had wondered if John Carter were really dead, or if he
again roamed the dead sea bottoms of that dying planet; if he had
returned to Barsoom to find that he had opened the frowning portals of
the mighty atmosphere plant in time to save the countless millions who
were dying of asphyxiation on that far-gone day that had seen him
hurtled ruthlessly through forty-eight million miles of space back to
Earth once more. I had wondered if he had found his black-haired
Princess and the slender son he had dreamed was with her in the royal
gardens of Tardos Mors, awaiting his return.

Or, had he found that he had been too late, and thus gone back to a
living death upon a dead world? Or was he really dead after all, never
to return either to his mother Earth or his beloved Mars?

Thus was I lost in useless speculation one sultry August evening when
old Ben, my body servant, handed me a telegram. Tearing it open I read:


'Meet me to-morrow hotel Raleigh Richmond.

'JOHN CARTER'


Early the next morning I took the first

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