This book is the third in the series. I haven’t read the first two. Although I have owned a large number of Gor books in my life, I currently have but four. Back near the turn of the century, I was an active eBayer, picking up books and whatnot at garage and estate sales and listing them on eBay. I bought a stack of Gor books at a quarter each and discovered, as they were first printings and second printings, that they were worth far more than a quarter each. I think I sold the 23rd book in the series for almost sixty dollars. So I made my money back on them and kept my eyes open for Gor books in the future. Needless to say, I didn’t sell all of them by the time I was done with the eBay thing. So I have a couple left, later printings.
The Gor books draw a lot of attention because of certain elements within them. Okay, one: women are about chattel in these books. They’re subservient at best and most of the time, they’re slaves. Apparently, some segments of the population like to re-enact this lifestyle according to the books (so much that Gorean sites are banned by some Web hosts). Weird, huh?
The storylines strike me as reminiscient of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Warlord of Mars or maybe John Jakes’ Brak stories. Elements of science fiction coupled with sword and sorcery that was kinda popular for much of the last century. In this book, Tarl Cabot, an Earthman transported to Gor, the planet on the opposite side of the sun from the Earth. Cabot is going to seek the forbidden priest-kings who rule the planet from afar to seek vengeance for their destruction of his city. He goes into Sardor, the mountains encircled by a wooden frontier, armed with only his sword, shield, and wits.
The book is very detailed in the description of Gor, its lifestyles, its species relationships, biology, and so on. Not bad for a third book in the series; Norman gave a lot of thought to what he was doing and what he was going to do.
I liked the book well enough. Enough to read more, but not enough to chain women at the foot of my bed. I’ll read the others I own in the series and maybe pick up a couple more. Because unlike some survivors of collegiate English programs, I can suspend my moral outrage along with my disbelief to enjoy a little hack’n’slashery, although this series probably rises above the most base in the genre in spite of its depictions of women.