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The Chessmen of Mars  By  cover art

The Chessmen of Mars

By: Edgar Rice Burroughs
Narrated by: John Bolen
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Editorial reviews

In this fifth installment of Burroughs's Mars series, Tara, Princess of Helium, battles strange creatures in her effort to return to Kansas, or rather, Helium, after a vicious storm blows her into a strange new country. John Bolen gives each character in the intricate extraterrestrial thriller an accent from some country on Earth. But so strongly does he perform these that dialogue is often lost to human ears. His shrill, simpering female characters, admittedly few, all sound the same. These problems, combined with mispronounced words and oddly accented phrases, detract from the great story.

Publisher's summary

Impetuous and headstrong, Tara, Princess of Helium and daughter of John Carter, defies the elements by flying into a rare, fierce Martian storm. Hurtled half a planet from her home, she is threatened by grotesque, flesh eating monsters and barbarous warriors. Is the mysterious Panthan warrior friend or foe? As hero battles for maiden in the chess-like games of Jetan, the pieces are fighting men and the stakes are life and death!

The fifth in Burroughs' 11-volume Mars series, a blend of sci-fi and romantic adventure.

©2000 Tantor Media Incorporated

What listeners say about The Chessmen of Mars

Average customer ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

The series moves on....

John Carter minimally appears in this 5th Mars novel by ERB. #4 featured his son. This one features his daughter. The story is what it is, typical ERB. Fun stuff. Pulp drama. The narrator is...well...what can I say? He's okay? His pacing is bland. His female voices are all faltsetto. He mispronounces a number of words. And his Southern accent for John Carter...well, I'll leave that for others to judge, as I'm not from Virginia. The story carries it through, though. As Burroughs always does, if you love this sort of stuff.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story... bad reader!

John Bolen might be a good reader for other books but when he drops into sotto voce for the women, it's unlistenable. I couldn't get past the first chapter.

This was a book I'd read as a child and loved. I picked it up here because it was inexpensive and went along with the whispersync program. Even at .99¢ it's not worth the audio price. I guess I'll just have to re-read this one the old fashioned way.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Another gem from an ancient master

All of Burroughs Barsoum books are a pleasure to encounter even if you have read them in past ages. My sister read this book when I was too young to read. I’m now 78 and still enjoyed it.

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Skip this one.

The story is action-packed as usual in the entertaining Mars series from ERB, but the narration is ridiculous as far as the character voices, especially Tara of Helium. Her voice is high and cartoonish with an exaggerated and culturally insulting Japanese accent. Most of the other characters also have some kind of Asian accent like a badly-dubbed martial arts movie, except John Carter who talks like Andy Griffith. Look for another version FAST!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Chessmen of Mars

This book was something of a return to form in my opinion. Where the previous book, Thuvia, seemed somewhat rushed and less imaginative, this book brought it all back to the higher quality level. Again we are dealing with wildly imaginative characters and story elements. Added bonus: We learn about, and how to play, Jetan, or martian chess.

Another bonus is the sense of humor in the story. There are several points at which you cannot help but laugh out loud.

Now to the narration... it's much better than in Thuvia, where everyone sounded like they were speaking broken Chinese English. This time the accent is, I think somewhat like a Spanish inflection. The best comparison I can manage is Ingo Montoya from The Princess Bride. This accent at least seems to be a good fit and doesn't pull you out of the story like the previous book did to me.

I greatly appreciated and enjoyed this book. I recommend it highly.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Chessmen of Mars

This is, for me, tied with the “Original Trilogy, (Princess, Gods, and Warlord) for my favourite Barsoom tale. I was going over my Kindle and found a FREE version that came with this. For 99 cents. So even if you never “read it” get the kindle book first. It has a fairly plain cover. No artwork. For 99 cents I can’t recommend this enough. I hope this helps.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

good story, terrible narrator

I love the whole series by Edgar Rice Burroughs of John Carter of Mars. I'm disappointed that this is the last episode on audible.

This story is good but the narrator is terrible. Most annoying of all are his female voices; absolutely no one sounds or talks like that. The other voices most often remind me of old movies where the actors spoke in English but trying to speak with a Chinese accent. It was often hard to concentrate on the story because of the voices the narrator used.

I listened to the samples of the various versions of the story on audible, and chose this one thinking it would be the best; now I'm not sure.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Narrator sucks

The story is so good I put up with Bolen’s narration. I will avoid this guy in the future. I recommend you do the same.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Burroughs at his best.

The book and narration were perfection. I struggle to listen to a audible book when the narrator doesn't fit my minds eye. This was a perfect match.

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