Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Book Review: Lord of the Spiders AKA Blades of Mars


Whose ready for another adventure with Michael Moorcock's Kane of Old Mars? (for those who missed my thoughts on the first one here you go http://jcomreader.blogspot.com/2011/04/book-review-city-of-beast-aka-warriors.html).

When we last left off, scientist turned swordsman Michael Kane had been pulled back to Earth through the matter transmitter that he was working on. Let go from his former job, he has struck up a friendship with Edward P. Bradbury, who has agreed to help. As this book opens the two have completed construction of a new transmitter and are ready to test it outside of Stonehenge. When Michael enters the device he disappears...and then quickly reappears, only know sporting the outfit of a warrior of Mars and ready to tell his new adventure. This time instead of landing back in Karnala and the arms of his love Shizala, Michael finds himself instead in the Northern part of the planet where he almost becomes dinner for a vicious creature but is rescued by Hool Haji of the Mendishar race, a race related to the dreaded Blue Giants of Argzoon. Hool Haji is also the last descendant of the original ruling family of Mendishar before they were overthrown by Jewar Baru, a member of the warrior class known as Priosa, who is using false superstitions to rule. And before too long Michael agrees to help Hool Haji regain his throne and save the people, which leads to creepy spider-men and a reunion with both is beloved and an old enemy...

Having enjoyed The City of the Beast, I devoured this entry rather quickly (which is pretty easy considering the short length of barely a 150 pages in the edition I read) and again had a good time. Moorcock keeps the story moving with one cliffhanger after another. I also found those spider-men creatures really creepy. Maybe it's just I hate spiders but they worked as a cool and creepy menace. The book also echoes the second of the Barsoom series, The Gods of Mars in its setup-our hero returns back to Mars and attempts to return to his love-and in the portrayal of Jewar Baru as a false prophet, along the lines of the Therns and Issus. There is also Kane's use of a balloon to escape with his friends-similar to Hadron of Hastor's in A Fighting Man of Mars and I'm sure other references that eagle eyed Burroughs and sword and planet fans will enjoy.

My only complaint-it was too short and left me wanting more. Sure it's pretty lightweight but that was the point. It's pulp and nothing more. And that's what makes it a fun read. Rating: ***1/2 out of 4.

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