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The Chessmen of Mars

Narrated by: John Bolen
Series: Barsoom, Book 5
Length: 8 hrs and 36 mins
4 out of 5 stars (123 ratings)

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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 members say

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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.

3 of 3 people found this review 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.