Reviews

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Harlan Ellison

An unreserved recommendation from Harlan Ellison: Get yourself a copy of THE MARTIAN LEGION!!!, a brand-new novel by Jake Saunders based on, and continuing, the ever-popular Edgar Rice Burroughs chronicles of John Carter of Mars or Barsoom, Tarzan, and other memorable pulp fiction stellars, all set in a story by Saunders -- you may have knowledge of his wildly original Texas-Israeli War novel (co-written with Howard Waldrop) some years ago from Ballantine -- or know him as a pulp/comics enthusiast/author who writes a good page, many of which are in this magnificent homage to many of the most lasting popular fictional icons in our collective memory. Bringing me to a wholly-insufficient description of this AWESOME -- even UNPARALLELLED -- coffee-table artifact and BREATHTAKING novel.

The Martian Legion measures twelve-and-a-half inches high by eleven-and-a-half inches wide and is more than an inch-and-a-half thick. The cover art alone is a treat: John Carter shaking hands with Lord Greystoke--Tarzan--as Burroughs himself, and others, look on. Red satin fifteen-inch bookmark ribbon. The title of this heavy, HEAVY treasure is The Martian Legion: In Quest of Xonthron, and if I were to urge you to buy anything -- if you are even remotely ensorceled by all the icons of popular fiction that lame imitators like DC and Marvel have hijacked to feed their insatiable greed and to hide your heritage from you ... then THIS would be the treasure to latch onto.

The front and back endpapers are four-color maps, the geographical Survey of Barsoom (Mars to those of you who came in 50+ years late). THE MARTIAN LEGION comes in a number of spectacular -- each one gorgeous -- editions, some accompanied by full-color stock-shares certification from "Napier Industrial & Mercantile Co." (I'll let those of you, with a wink, figure THAT ONE out, Burroughswise.) Other versions also come with a Martian coin, in Barsoomian Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Pewter with Bronze finish, sculpted by Joe DeVito. The various versions are all leather bound extravagantly in "banth," or “thoat.” (O! For those days in the Red Desert dunes of Childhood!)

 

I could go on expostulating what a joy, what a pleasure holding and reading this book would be for all of you, but I’ll end this review by again expressing my breathless admiration for Jake Saunders's masterful accomplishment.

Go thee, with my stoutest urging, and possess a copy for a lifetime.

Harlan Ellison is the author of countless well-regarded works of speculative fiction. He is the editor of Dangerous Visions, and Again Dangerous Visions, a writer of screenplays, and of literary criticism.  In the worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Harlan is the 1996 winner of the Golden Lion Award from the Burroughs Bibliophiles.


Dr. Charles R. Fikar

I received your magnificent book and can only say that everything your reviewers said was totally correct. In fact, the book is even better than they described. Everything about this book is amazing. I never saw or can ever imagine anything better, including the Book of Kells or the original Martian first edition books themselves.

Dr. Charles R. Fikar, owner of The Martian Legion book #155


 
 

Richard A. Lupoff

Look here, I intended to be cool and objective about this book. I mean, I’m supposed to be the Great Authority on Edgar Rice Burroughs. I never claimed that title, but others seem determined to stick me with it.

So okay, I thought I’d say a few mildly complimentary words about The Martian Legion: In Quest of Xonthron and go downstairs for lunch.

Wow, was I ever wrong! I’ve never seen or read anything like this astonishing book. 

First of all, it’s huge. You could wallop a burglar over the head with it and then call the cops to haul his unconscious body away. 

More to the point, it’s gorgeous. Everything about it, starting with the photo-like cover of the Old Man himself smiling benevolently upon an assemblage of his famous creations. Then the end papers, a splendid updating of the late Larry Ivie’s classic 1962 map of Barsoom.

Third, the copious breathtaking illustrations that make this book come alive in your hands. Time after time I found myself riveted by a marvelous character sketch or action scene.

And after coming to terms with the magnificent production, there’s Jake Saunders’ prodigious novel. Like everything else in this book, it’s larger than life. Vast stretches of glorious adventure and dazzling imagery. Saunders not only brings Ed Burroughs himself back to life, he fills the chapters with the cast of Burroughs’ Martian saga, tying in Burroughs’ other creations as introduced in the Tarzan and Pellucidar and Venus cycles. 

Plus an array of dynamic figures from the pulps and comic strips: Doc Savage, the Shadow, even V. T. Hamlin’s Neanderthal Alley Oop and his girlfriend Oola.

And did I mention the appendixes, filled with Burroughsiana? Page after page of amazing research.

Here’s my plan: Whatever it takes, snag a copy of this book right away. Before the edition sells out, which I expect it will do, pronto! Don’t wait, because once the copies are gone this thing is going to start escalating in price until it makes your head spin.

Take a leave of absence from your job, hole up in your study with a hamper full of sandwiches and a case of brandy, and be prepared to live this book for the next month. Once you’ve experienced it, you’ll never be the same, and you’ll never regret it, either!

Richard A. Lupoff is the author of two dozen novels and more than 40 short stories, and has edited many science-fantasy anthologies. He is indeed considered the “Great Authority” on the writing of Edgar Rice Burroughs, having edited many ERB novels while at Canaveral Press, and written Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure, published in 1965.


Robert Brown

Something totally new in a Tarzan and John Carter adventure but comfortably familiar in tone and style.  That’s the first thing I’d say about The Martian Legion, but certainly not the last.  This is a book that staggers you with the lavishness, the pure beauty of its binding and printing; complete with its stunning box, it is an incredible work of art.  But more than a remarkably beautiful book with incredible art, it is a wonderful story.  As amazing as it sounds, the Shadow, Doc Savage, Carson Napier, Alley Oop, and their associates all blend perfectly into the action-packed story of Tarzan and John Carter on Mars. I cannot remember having more fun with a novel. It kept me completely enthralled.  To put it mildly, this is a “ripping good yarn.” 

Robert Brown, longtime ERB fan and collector


Bill Hillman

The Martian Legion: In Quest of Xonthron by Jake "Buddy" Saunders from Russ Cochran Publishing is the most incredible ERB-related book and collectible I have seen in the 65 years I've been collecting and reading Burroughs. There was an amazing amount of research put into this labour of love. This gargantuan over-sized, quarter-of-a-million-word volume is beautifully designed by Zavier Leslie Cabarga and is lavishly decorated with over 130 illustrations by Tom Grindberg, Mike Hoffman, and Craig Mullins -- many of them in full colour and spread across two pages. Accompanying the thoat leather-bound book is a package of related collectibles including a rare Martian coin by Joe DeVito, ownership certificate, and personalized registry.

The opening contact of Edgar Rice Burroughs and John Carter with the author (indirectly) and the means of relaying this tale to us is worthy of the various contacts that John Carter made with his nephew ERB in the original Mars series. The author does an excellent job of bringing the reader up to date on Martian customs, societies, cultures, history, and races. We share these learning experiences with the Legion members as they are clued in along the way. The action and plotting are very much in the style ERB with parallel action and many cliffhangers. Adding to the appeal of the book is the inclusion of sections such as Introductions, Quotations, Prologue from "Edgar Rice Burroughs", Postscripts and Afterwords, extensive Notes, Bios, and a Reference Index. Traditional pulp-type chapter titles and the multitude of relevant illustrations throughout hold the reader's interest and fire the imagination even further.

It is no small task to bring together the main characters from ERB's many fictional worlds, but Nebula award nominee and author Buddy Saunders is more than up to the task. Thrown into the Martian mix is a team of pulp characters of ERB's day. Introduction of the skills of these famous pulp characters adds another dimension and power to the Legion that John Carter has enlisted to save Barsoom: The Shadow clouds minds, Carson Napier provides access to advanced technology, Doc Savage and his crew provide manpower and good ole '30/'40s weaponry and smarts, Abner Perry and David Innes bring their knowledge of Pellucidar, H.P Lovecraft and Fu Manchu add a touch of the macabre, Tarzan's son Korak provides savage jungle savy, and Tarzan's newly introduced son Conan provides a great sounding board and a chance for the reader to learn things via his POV. Burroughs goes along on the mission to document everything and to provide military experience. Nearly all of the most popular Barsoom characters are brought into the story, including John Carter and Dejah Thoris and their offspring, Tars Tarkas and his clan, Woola's calot offspring, Ras Thavas, Tardos Mors, Phaidor, and the rejuvenated therns. Much of the action is driven by the advanced mind of Ghek the Kaldane and the crazed son of Matai Shang, the new Holy Hekkador, Klee Tun.

A great deal of the technology that ERB "predicted" has come to fruition, but Saunders adds even more to the mix. He even does a fine job of reflecting our contemporary Earth problems into the plot:

  • demolition and collapse of part of a high Helium tower by terrorist aircraft
  • worldwide attacks from fanatical religious extremists
  • worldwide belief in ancient superstitions, gods and idols
  • prejudice and racism
  • environmental problems
  • climate change
  • suicide attacks
  • atom bomb threats
  • assassinations
  • hijackings
  • banding together of different races and cultures to defeat a common barbaric enemy
  • and our reliance on scientific and technological advances to save the planet.

The choice of cartoon caveman Alley Oop and his mate is perhaps a bit unusual, but much more so is the addition of American evangelist Billy Sunday, Jr.  Sunday spends his time converting the Legion and the Martians to his ancient Earth religion. This results in the insertion of continual Jasoomian God, Bible and Satan references. His efforts, as well as many of the others -- surprisingly including Tarzan and Jane -- to place yet another religion on Barsoomian society which has already suffered so much from false gods worship is a bit bewildering. Probably not a choice that atheist ERB would agree with.

ERB is part of the action throughout--never without pen and paper—and recounts the incidents "through the nib of my pen." The narration features many such amusing quotes, by ERB and others. Colourful vocabulary and the many references to events, axioms, and items from ERB's day are also fascinating: Rube Goldberg, Packard headlights, Tommy guns, Conan's Red Ryder watch, ERB's actual office staff, Colt revolvers, old Imperial measurements, pulp fiction, Tarzan films, plugged nickels, Houdini, Whiskey Jack (ERB's Idaho bronc), Gene Tunney, scalping, Bible quotes, Nazis, Gibson Girl, Foulds Tarzan miniatures, etc.

The problem that many unimaginative followers of the original tales . . . that Mars is now known to be a dead planet . . . is solved through interdimensional transmigration and time travel. Both devices play major roles in the novel's very complex plotting. The story is long, but never lags. Confusion enters at times, but eventually all is explained. The book is extremely well written and researched. The writing style, descriptions, and vocabulary are worthy of the master. Fans of ERB—and indeed, those new to the genre—should feel very comfortable with the writing style. In fact, Saunders even expands upon the ERB style with in-depth descriptions of Barsoom flora and fauna, many parallel and converging plots, and a multitude of twists, turns, surprises, foreshadowing, and cliff hangers. Apparent discrepancies in the plotting are explained by revelations further along in the story or in a few cases, by the author's reminder that this is an Edgar Rice Burroughs world from an alternate time and dimension.

There has been a many-decades wait for a worthy sequel to the ERB Mars series. The launch of The Martian Legion has made the wait worthwhile.

Bill Hillman, editor and webmaster for the Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute Websites and Webzines

www.ERBzine.com


John Wooley

Just finished reading The Martian Legion: In Quest of Xonthron and wanted to write you about it while it was still fresh on my mind.

First, during one of our Oaf Con visits, you mentioned that a lot of people were talking about the packaging of the book, its sumptuousness, the beautiful illustrations, etc. in lieu of commenting on the story itself. Well, truth to tell, it looks like a very high-end coffee-table book, and coffee-table books are meant to be looked at and not read.

I don’t mean this as any sort of criticism. It’s a wonderful-looking tome. The point is that it’s so wonderful looking that it can be a little intimidating to crack open and read — and I have the least-expensive edition. I guess maybe I’m saying it seems to me to be as much object as book, something for someone to acquire and keep in at least near-mint condition — like a slabbed comic or a pulp bought only for its cover by people who see the contents as secondary to the look and collectability, if you will.

Again, this is no criticism, but it’s maybe so easy to be so dazzled by the binding and art that actually reading the book becomes an afterthought for many.

I, however, did read the book, and let me say up front that while I have never been overly drawn to heroic fiction, preferring instead the good old hardboiled detectives fighting through their neon wildernesses, I was completely taken by this one. Going in, I was most interested in writer’s questions, like how you were going to juggle all the famous characters and still get some sort of compelling narrative thrust. And while knowing from our conversations many years ago (and thanks for the acknowledgement in the afterword) that it initially started as a story for your son, Conan, which helped explain why he was the major viewpoint character, that also turned out to be a great choice. In giving Conan the lion’s share of viewpoint, you have us see the whole thing through adolescent eyes. Pretty doggone brilliant, because that’s exactly the way a book like this (or one by Burroughs) should be experienced. Despite my advanced years and tendency toward cynicism, the final chaste goodbye between Conan and his Barsoomian sweetheart choked me up. That’s when I got hip to what you were doing, and how well you were doing it.

It’s also really imaginative, right through the appendices. The fact that it all works and flows is a real testament to your skill and imagination. Not only in the big picture, but in the little details. I especially loved the idea of “Teddy books,” but there were lots of other little filigrees that made me smile, including the use of “eldritch” just about every time Lovecraft is mentioned. Having something happen in the 87th Precinct of a city was a nice little in-joke as well.

Finally, and maybe most important, there’s a biblical quality to the narrative that I don’t think is unintentional. I had heard going in that there was a strong Christian component to The Martian Legion: The Quest for Xonthron, and I wasn’t sure what to expect — especially, and I’m being frank here, since I know that your politics and mine are rather far apart, and politics and religion seem to be so intertwined nowadays that the message of one too often gets mistaken for the message of the other. However, as a liberal Christian, I’ve got to tell you that I found your allusions to the faith one of the best things in the book.  The character of Billy Sunday and tales of his Martian crusades, as well as the overt faith shown by some of the other characters, didn’t come off as strident nor didactic, and the symbolic (the way I took it, anyway) battle in the sky near the climax of the book put me in mind of the Emperor Constantine and his taking of Jesus Christ into battle as his chosen god. That may be a stretch, but there it is anyway.

(Going off-topic for a minute: Did you know that if it hadn’t been for Billy Sunday, Plan Nine from Outer Space might never have been made? I became friendly with a Baptist preacher named Lynn Lemon toward the end of his life; he was Ed Wood’s minister out in California, and in fact played the preacher at the cemetery in Plan Nine. He told me that a group of L.A.-area Baptists, mostly involved in music ministries, raised some money to finance a biopic about Rev. Sunday and contacted Ed Wood about directing it. He said that’d be fine, but what they ought to do is bankroll a science-fiction/horror film, make a lot of profit, and then do the Sunday picture. And he just happened to have a script about aliens that resurrected bodies.) 

The notion of Lovecraft’s Old Ones as the embodiment of evil—Satan—coming up against God’s power gives the story a solid underpinning that makes the final battle even more satisfying. 

I guess that’s it. I hope, if nothing else, that you now know I took you seriously when you asked me to read the book and let you know what I thought of it. 

It was great to visit in Norman. Hope we can do it again soon. Meanwhile, congratulations on a really good job of storytelling. The book looks great, but I like the words even better.

John Wooley has written, co-written, or edited more than 30 books, including, most recently, the critically acclaimed biography Wes Craven: A Man and His Nightmares (John Wiley & Sons) and the pulp-related Hard-Boiled Christmas Stories (Reverse Karma Press) and Homicide Highball: The Lost Dan Turner Movie Script (Bold Venture Press). He can be found online at www.johnwooley.com


Bob Hibbard

 I just this minute (well, five minutes ago) finished reading the last word of the last Appendix in your magnificent book. I stretched out the enjoyment as long as I could. I am so impressed with The Martian Legion: In Quest of Xonthron. What a work! Congratulations on your herculean effort---you are now an Immortal in ERB fandom, plus you have established a bar that many might strive toward, but none, I suspect, will ever reach. 

Bob Hibbard, aka Waldo of the ERB clan


Laurence G. Dunn

I have to say that I had trouble putting The Martian Legion down each evening as I knew I had to go to bed at some point. I could hardly wait until I got home from work each evening to continue reading, not because I had a deadline, but because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. It kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through.

In The Martian Legion, Barsoom is facing its greatest threat and not even the Warlord of Mars can save it on his own. With the help of his nephew and a few extraordinary men that may not be everyone’s first choice of a ‘dream team’ of heroes, together they meet this new challenge.

Beautifully illustrated and bound in leather, this huge volume is filled with adventure, danger, escapism and excitement in non-stop action from beginning to end. Though the book tells the story through many of its characters, what is interesting and may even have taken the author by surprise, is that the reader finds he is eager to follow the exploits of a completely new character and how his ‘education’ develops in comparison to his famous sire. And for those that love Woola, they will fall head over heels for a calot named Blot.
It was a real pleasure turning each page as I progressed and finding yet another work of art by the way, I liked the way the thern princess Phaidor developed. It was nice to see her make a comeback.

If this book has a downside is its pure size that works for and against it. The full page illustrations are gorgeous, but it needs to be read at a table rather than an easy chair as it is cumbersome to hold. (A pillow in your lap solves the problem. Buddy) That aside, the book is well written, fast paced and come the end, the reader will want to reach for the next volume.

Laurence G. Dunn, Chairman for the Burroughs Bibliophiles 2005-2012


Ron Marz

The Martian Legion: In Quest of Xonthron is an obvious labor of love, written by Jake "Buddy" Saunders and is lavishly illustrated by Mike Hoffman, Craig Mullins, and Tom Grindberg, who collectively contribute 130 pieces. Tom and I worked together on issues of "Thor" and "Green Lantern," among others.

The leather-bound book is huge (almost a foot square) and heavy, not to mention ornately and beautifully designed. The Martian Legion is the definition of a collector's item, available in several editions, each limited, and none cheap. But in my humble estimation, worth every penny.

The story is quintessential pulp adventure, bringing together John Carter and Tarzan as they attempt to preserve a threatened Mars. A host of other Burroughs heroes appear, as do pulp stalwarts Doc Savage and The Shadow. Even Edgar Rice Burroughs himself appears as a character. The story is epic in every sense of the word, covering varied locales and including a vast array of characters (there are exhaustive reference appendices), with cliffhangers worthy of the best of Burroughs.

In the books, John Carter reaches Mars by essentially wishing himself there. The Martian Legion had a similar effect on me. But instead of flinging me across the gulf of space to Barsoom, it served as a time machine, and transported me back to the summers of my youth. That's a rare feat.

Ron Marz, a life-long Burroughs fan, currently writes the monthly John Carter: Warlord of Mars for Dynamite Comics.


Mike Conran

Barsoom’s atmosphere plant is again failing and the surviving Holy Therns are attempting to use this disaster to re-establish their religion and gain control. Only Xonthron, a book lost for thousands of years, contains the necessary information for repairing the failing plant. John Carter assembles the Martian Legion—a diverse cast of heroes and adventurers—to find the book before the therns do. Each member of the Legion provides a unique talent, all contributing toward the search for the fabled book that will save Barsoom.

Be prepared to explore a vast new world as the Martian Legion travels to places heretofore unexplored on Burroughs’ Barsoom.

When reading the appendixes, take note of the familiar names from the early years of Burroughs fandom.

Upon receiving this incredible leather bound book, among the first things I noticed was how heavy it is. It is a large book (11¼” X 12¼” X 1½”) with 130 beautiful illustrations by Tom Grindberg, Michael Hoffman and Craig Mullins. There are three double-page spreads, 21 full page illustrations, and 106 spot illustrations.

The story is an exciting adventure that will return you to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom.

Mike Conran has edited ERB fanzines over the years and has attended the annual Dum-Dums regularly for decades.


Michelle Nolan

More than one hundred years ago when Edgar Rice Burroughs began to write novels, a significant percentage of hardbound books could still be described as objects of artistic excellence. One of the great thrills for any bibliophile is to find such a book.

You’ll experience that thrill when you see The Martian Legion: In Quest of Xonthron. Even though the book has just been released, it feels, reads, and looks like nothing published in the modern era, so great is the attention to quality and artistic detail.

But then, such a packaging is singularly appropriate for The Martian Legion.

When Buddy tells this story involving the classic pulp icons John Carter of Mars, Tarzan, The Shadow, and Doc Savage, and their considerable retinues, he makes you believe it’s all real.

Oh, it isn’t? Don’t be too sure!

And it’s hard not to believe that when you delve into The Martian Legion. Somehow, it all does seem real, or at least like the most realistic dream you ever had. They say dreams don’t last long, but to have a dream even as long as a fraction of this novel, you would need a long sleep indeed!

That’s why I recommend that before getting into the novel, you first delve into the appendix pages, the essay about the creators, and the absolutely stunning and invaluable “Reference Index to People, Places, and Things.” Even if you are familiar with the characters—or think you are—you need to read those back pages.

As epic as Buddy’s epic is (try honestly using “epic” as both adjective and noun with most other novels!), what is equally amazing are the full-page color images, and the remarkable black-and-white art by Tom Grindberg, Michael C. Hoffman, and Craig Mullins.

If Raymond, Frazetta, and Williamson send you, oh, what a treat you have in store! 

Perhaps I am overstating the case, but I don’t think so: Quite possibly never has a novel been better or more accurately illustrated! If you feel you lost your sense of wonder somewhere around the age of twelve, you will find it quickly recovered when you leaf through this gorgeous tome, regardless of which version you obtain.

So, don’t be shy. Dig in and see if the story and the illustrations don’t make you look upward toward that mysterious red object of the night seen from any version of Earth. Barsoom …!

Michelle Nolan has been a pop cultural historian for 50 years. She received the Inkpot Award from Comic-Con International San Diego in 2014.


Jack and Carole Bender

We’ve immersed ourselves in this magnificent volume. It’s just like reading Burroughs!  Jake (Buddy) Saunders has done a fine job of recreating the Burroughs mood and style for his beautiful and fascinating coffee-table-sized book, The Martian Legion.  We are pleased that he chose our Alley Oop characters to play key roles along with the likes of Tarzan and The Shadow.  He perfectly has captured the personalities of each.  We’re sure V. T. Hamlin would have been pleased, too!

Jack and Carole Bender, artists and writer, The Alley Oop comic strip


Martin Powell

This beautiful, coffee table-sized volume is an adventurous joy to experience. From its elegantly rendered thoat and banth leather binding, to the extraordinary quarter-million-word tale within. The reader is not only reacquainted with Tarzan of the Apes and John Carter of Mars, but also other Burroughs creations who never met in the original ERB canon. But, that's not all. Non-ERB personalities such as Doc Savage, The Shadow, and—extraordinarily enough—the comic strip caveman Alley Oop (!) are also featured players. One of my favorite lines, which I never dreamed I'd read in a licensed novel: “The Shadow will go to Mars," gave me chills. If that's not enough, The Martian Legion: In Quest of Xonthron is lavishly illustrated by a virtual who's who of contemporary ERB artists. This is the ideal Edgar Rice Burroughs collectible for the holidays. Highly Recommended.

Martin Powell has the distinction of having written for more of Edgar Rice Burroughs' characters than any other contemporary writer.  His ERB weekly online comic strips can be found at:

http://www.edgarriceburroughs.com/comics/


James F. Thompson

My review copy of The Martian Legion:  In Quest of Xonthron is one of the 3,000 Friends of Barsoom editions, bound in thoat leather.  The book is well constructed with a handsome layout.  The art is uniformly excellent and the full and double page pieces are spectacular.  Hoffman and Grindberg continue the style of art that Burroughs fans connect to the tradition of Frank Frazetta, Roy G. Krenkel, and Thomas Yeates.  Mullins' work reminds me more of the elegant painterly approach of Frank Schoonover, with more static formal compositions and use of light.
 
Within The Martian Legion’s twenty chapters are 131 footnotes, many of them valuable to new readers unfamiliar with the Burroughs canon.  Additional background material is provided in eleven lettered appendices.
 
My assignment requires me “to avoid spoilers,” so I shall say little about the plot or major events of The Martian Legion.  I do want to comment about the many strengths and few minor weaknesses of the novel.
               
Saunders is a fine writer, carrying me along multiple character arcs that drive his epic tale.  He vividly depicts Barsoom as I remember it.  Saunders is certainly not attempting to “ape” Burroughs’ style (pun intended), but he has a strong voice of his own.  His vocabulary and dialog are appropriate to different times and places and to protagonists from other worlds.  The lack of slang and anachronisms is welcome.  His novel does not have as much humor or satire as a Burroughs novel.
 
Saunders delivery of action and adventure scenes is more than competent and kept me engaged throughout the entire novel.  Saunders has taken some liberties with some of Burroughs’s characters and settings.  These liberties have not interfered with my enjoyment.  Saunders has established from the outset that his story is set in an alternate universe, thus using current scientific theory to justify plot elements, something Burroughs also did.
 
I enjoyed Saunders’s development of some of Burroughs’s minor characters, such as Korak, Meriem, Ghek and Kar Komak, giving them more important roles.  Saunders has also created new characters, including additional children for Tarzan and John Carter.  Saunders introduces two new characters, one from Earth and one from Barsoom, who are thrown together and, after some initial misunderstandings, begin to develop a romantic relationship.
 
One of the first things that struck me about The Martian Legion:  In Quest of Xonthron and one of my favorite aspects of Saunders’s novel, is that the plot is driven by the resurgence of the Therns and their attempt to establish a new religion with which to again dominate Barsoomian civilization.  The introduction of an elaborate false religion and the efforts to destroy it are pure Burroughs and I am very pleased that has been the main plot arc provided by Saunders.
 
If you are a fan of art illustrating Burroughs’s characters and locales, you will want The Martian Legion for the art program alone!  If you are a fan of fiction involving some Burroughsian characters and locales, you would want The Martian Legion for the story, even if there were no art program!  This is a book every Burroughs fan and collector will want to read and add to his personal library.
 
James F. Thompson of Clarksville, TN, is a life long and second generation fan of the writings of Edgar Rice Burroughs, a member of The Burroughs Bibliophiles for half a century and currently a member of its Board, an author contributor to a variety of Burroughs fanzines, and founder and list manager of the ERBCOF-List discussion listserv.