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A Princess of Mars is the first of eleven thrilling novels that comprise Edgar Rice Burroughs’ most exciting saga, known as The Martian Series. It’s the beginning of an incredible odyssey in which John Carter, a gentleman from Virginia and a Civil War veteran, unexpectedly finds himself on to the red planet, scene of continuing combat among rival tribes. Captured by a band of six-limbed, green-skinned savage giants called Tharks, Carter soon is accorded all the honor of a chieftain after it’s discovered that his muscles, accustomed to Earth’s greater gravity, now give him a decided advantage in strength. And when his captors take as prisoner Dejah Thoris, the lovely human-looking princess of the city of Helium, Carter must call upon every ounce of strength, courage, and ingenuity to rescue her-before Dejah becomes the slave of the depraved Thark leader, Tal Hajus!
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.