Book 1 in the Forges of Mars series. An Adeptus Mechanicus Explorator fleet ventures beyond the borders of the Imperium in pursuit of arcane technology. approval, which was about as close to excitement as a priest of Mars ever got in Roboute's 'The cogitators of the Speranza are first generation Martian logic-. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Hailing from Scotland, Graham McNeill worked for over six Priests of Mars (Mars Trilogy Book 1) by [McNeill, Graham] .
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To ask other readers questions about Priests of Mars, please sign up. Be the first to ask a Shelves: black-library, warhammerk, ebook. A very good story. Priests of Mars. by Graham McNeill Amidst the toxic ash wastes of Mars, the spiker-f More. Want to The Adeptus Mechanicus eBook Collection. by Graham. Priests Of Mars By Graham McNeill - FictionDB. Cover art, synopsis, sequels, reviews, awards, publishing history, genres, and time Formats: Print / eBook.
Here we're talking about tech-priests on mars, so there's even some cyberpunk added to the mix. What's not to like? View all 4 comments. Jul 13, Dave Kirlin rated it it was amazing. More 40k novels should be this good. Graham managed to create actual characters that were more than two dimensional cut-outs with guns and a hatred of xenos. We get to explore more of the Mechanarium and the Magos, both who they are and what the believe in. Both the story and the environment are very intriguing, and I'm looking forward to the next book.
Mar 11, Callum Shephard rated it really liked it. Priests of Mars seems to be one of the exceptions to this.
Magos Lexll Kotov of the Adeptus Mechanicus is a desperate man. Having lost his forge worlds in uprisings or the hordes of the Great Devourer he is close to having his remaining assets seized by rivals. Using his remaining influence, Kotov gathers forces for an explorator fleet to pursue the expedition beyond the Halo Stars. Now, just to be clear this is by no means a novel which outright avoids conflict. Along with having a huge ensemble of figures within the novel, Graham McNeill seems to have taken the time picking out representatives of the most diverse factions of the Imperium.
Outside of Titanicus or Warriors of Ultramar this is probably the most widespread collection of figures you can get, many of who have an increasingly fractious relationship due to their contrasting differences and goals.
While they might be working together the potential for personal agendas to lead to infighting and is always on the cards. Many clash with the Mechanicus over their mission, strategies or the actions of their leader. Others are haunted by their personal demons and past failures. One always in doubt due to the desperate, borderline insane, mission of Kotov and the natural opposition some characters easily have to one another.
This is just with those who meet however and in a few cases some focus characters are the stars of their own side-stories, completely detached from everything else but with signs of much greater importance coming later on. That particular one is brought up a few times with the Mechanicus.
Yet for all this good the it has flaws, some moderate and one very big one. The initial problems come from two things: The number of characters and the need for conflict. This is especially clear with the internal power struggle within the demi-legion of Titans the explorator fleet carries. While the tech-priests and command crew are given enough scenes for the reader to care about them the princeps themselves, those who are trying to usurp control or are potentially being usurped, are mostly talked about.
In fact it might be an improvement as it would remove one head-tilting event which, even after being suggested early on, feels like it comes out of left field.
Taking out not only some major resources but is an act which feels out of character with what we know, even with the aforementioned build-up.
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It feels so contrived, so obviously desperate to trigger conflict, the only thing which stopped me believing Brian Michael Bendis had briefly hijacked the novel was the lack of ignominious character deaths.
Its inclusion is only made worse when an outright heretical decision is made by Kotov which would be far more natural for having characters on edge but is treated with nowhere near the severity it should be. No, the biggest problem is one painfully obvious thing: This is only half a novel. No matter how you look at it, the novel lacks the pacing and basic structure to be a full story. What we get is only the first and second acts up to a potential mid-point reversal and then it ends.
Were this a TV series, this would be every episode up to the first part of a mid-series cliffhanger and then nothing else. Part 1 is what makes it so hard to really judge.
On the one hand while great details on the Imperium were made and plots were given, the novel contains far more questions than it does answers. If you are planning on downloading this, wait until you start seeing a few reviews of the second half of their story first. Until then, stick to some of the older Mechanicus novels. Dec 19, Derek Weese rated it it was amazing. I had decided to take a break from BL books for a while, I was getting a bit burned out and there was lots of history and other fiction works I wanted to catch up on.
For some reason, I saw this hardcover and the rest of the trilogy sitting in my collection and, with a sense of almost a divine call, I decided to give them a go. Priests of Mars, the first in a new Mechanicus trilogy by Graham McNeill he of the holy trinity of BL publishing, the other divine members being the Abnett and the Aar I had decided to take a break from BL books for a while, I was getting a bit burned out and there was lots of history and other fiction works I wanted to catch up on.
Priests of Mars, the first in a new Mechanicus trilogy by Graham McNeill he of the holy trinity of BL publishing, the other divine members being the Abnett and the Aaron may just be the McNeill's yes, his divine name greatest work, his masterpiece. Without giving any spoilers the story is about an Ark Mechanicus that, along with a supporting fleet, travels beyond the Halo Scar, in search of the lost fleet of Magos Telok and all the lost knowledge and possible new knowledge that may be out there.
The expedition is guided by the whims of Magos Kotov, a man machine? He himself is guided by the knowledge contained within a data wafer, gained from the Eldar, by a rouge trader by the name of Roboutte Surcouf and his band of not always merry men, and women.
Providing punch for the expedition is the 71st Cadian Regiment of the Imeprial Guard as well as a Legio of Titans their part in the story is the only bit that goes, largely, unexplained or resolved, so its a mystery as to their role as of yet, then again this is a trilogy and a squad of Black Templar Astarte's who may just be looking for a chance at redemption of their own.
And, stuck in the bowels of the ship, are conscripted laborers who experience all the inhumanity of the Mechanicus and the inherent cruelty of the Imperium. Among them a central character from Storm of Iron makes a surprising return. But what makes the book so great? Well, yeah the McNeill can do battles pretty much as well, if not better, than the masters of the genre from long gone literature past. But it's not the action that makes this a masterpiece.
Is it the characters? Well, yes, they certainly help. So then what is it? This is the first 40K book I've yet read, outside of one of the early Horus heresy volumes or the twisted wonder attached to the works of Ben Counter or Rob Sanders' 'Atlas Infernal'. The McNeill gives you something that few of the other authors provide in a universe filled with so much grimness The McNeill displays, fully and unashamedly, a sense of wonder, excitement, exploration and, dare I say it, hope in this volume.
Hope of a life lived free in the case of one. Hope of redemption for many. Hope for new technological wonders and the, finally , advancement of the Imperium's and humanity's core knowledge. In short, this is a wonderful beginning to what I feel will be an excellent trilogy.
I bought the last volume in hardcover a couple of weeks ago as a Christmas gift to myself and decided, what the hell, I'll read the whole trilogy.
The blessings of The McNeill have been bestowed upon me. If you are a 40K fan, a fan of military themes science fiction, or even action oriented hard science fiction, or just a fantasy fan looking for a little something different that still retains some familiar elements: A very easy 5 out of 5 stars.
Sep 02, Joseph rated it really liked it. This was a really good story in the Warhammer universe. The last book about Warhammer I picked up didn't catch my attention but I had read some good reviews about this one so I decided to get it.
The writing is heavy on technical jargon, but get passed that and the story is solid. It took a half way through that I didn't see coming and it added more depth to the story. I really enjoyed this book. Plus it had some funny one liners. Thor's Balls!! Jul 12, Vernon Burt rated it it was ok. Priests of Mars is really well written but clearly an incomplete work. I don't mean that the book sets up for a sequel, I mean the book stops suddenly like a train off the tracks as the author suddenly tries to stop everything and set up the next book in about 10 pages.
I like Graham McNeill and his description and action for the great Ark Fleet was fantastic, but the sudden stop at the end is confusing. I honestly thought the book had a text error at first until I compared it with a paper copy. The adeptus mechanicus are a fascinating bunch, I have loved the idea of them ever since we where introduced. This is a trilogy entirely about them and its good.
If you are a warhammer fan curious about the mechanicus this is definitely for you. Graham McNeill has an interesting take on the Mechanicus here which I enjoyed. This is a little too blatantly the first book in the trilogy as there's basically no resolution on, well, anything here. But overall I liked it and I've got the rest of the trilogy sitting around somewhere waiting for me to get to it. Jan 20, Michael Knolla rated it liked it. The majority of this book is buildup: Certainly there is action, particularly in the finale but most of the pay off seems to be waiting in the sequels.
Sep 23, Martin rated it liked it. The pacing is a bit weird, but the story itself is solid. One of my favorite parts was the description of the Ark Mechanicus ship entering the Warp. The ambience it set up was chilling.
Definitely a good start to this series. Jul 21, Andrew Coates rated it really liked it. Interesting bunch of characters, lots of variety in the storytelling.
If I didn't have the anthology, I would have been quite annoyed at the abrupt ending though. Jun 22, Ben rated it really liked it.
Excellent, felt a bit slow to start and there's a huge cast of characters, but one of the better BL books I've checked out over the years. Apr 03, Aidan rated it liked it. No better yarn of the old cattle days can be found in current fiction.
Tense dramatic situations; unforgettable characters presented with incomparable s Tarzan finds himself the target of greedy, evil men. But with The transformation of a highly civilized, blue-blooded young Bostonian, into the savage bone-and-muscle chief of a band of shaggy cavemen is a challenge A freak storm on Mars throws Tara, Princess of Helium and beautiful daughter of John Carter, wildly off course after she embarks on an imprudent flight Buck Mason confronts Ole Gunderstrom regarding an 18 year old feud over a fence, setting off a chain of unexpected events in this Western Adventure by E But on e In the foothills of the southern California mountains are the Rancho del Ganado, owned by Colonel Pennington, and a smaller ranch on which Mrs.
Evan liv The madman turned all his attention to the youth, who, standing at the rail of the derelict ship, was unaware of his extreme danger. Like a beast of pre Torpedoed by a German U-boat during World War I, a group of adventurers are marooned on Caprona, a hidden island suspended in time and inhabited by dino The year is Two hundred years ago — in our time, more or less — Eurasia fought a war to end all wars, a war that meant, for all intents and purpos All Ludstadt was in an uproar.
The mad king had escaped. For ten years no man of them all had set eyes upon the face of the boy-king who had been hasten Then, to As he dropped the last grisly fragment of the dismembered and mutilated body into the small vat of nitric acid that was to devour every trace of the hor In the late twentieth century, Admiral Julian 3rd can get no rest, for he knows his future.
He will be reborn as his grandson in the next century to jou The world became the tool of the Lunarians, whose The adventures of Billy Byrne, thug and gunman, in the underworld of Chicago and San Francisco, and on his mysterious cruise to the unexplored islands o A robbery, marriage, and disappearance of a young girl have struck the town of Oakdale, but are things as they really seem? The beautiful young daughter The kidnapped prince is trained to fight, so he will someday kill his own father—the king.
But the plan goes awry as the prince befriends an old monk wh In the midst of hair-raising adventures The American people are now a n An experimental aviator and a cryogenicist is flying over Siberia when forced to land when they find the body of a caveman frozen into a newly uncovered Tarzan, after valiantly giving up the woman he loved to another man, leaves the deceitful world of civilization and returns to his beloved African jungl The remarkable story of Billy Byrne, the vicious, hardened Chicago thug and ruffian who, answering to the magical touch of a great love, gradually chang Paulvitch still lived and sought vengeance against Tarzan.
But the boy escaped, with Arizona Territory…the country of red deserts, rocks, high buttes and mountains—a harsh land but still a land, the Apaches had chosen for their own. The final adventure of Carson Napier among the exotic peoples and beasts of Amtor is the sequel to his fabulous four Venus novels, it is an adventure no Mars has become divided by love. Not one, but two princes and a Jeddak are vying for the love of Thuvia of Ptarth.
When she is mysteriously kidnapped, t Edgar Rice Burroughs — Tweet. A Fighting Man of Mars A flying plane dropped out of the night. Apache Devil Shoz-Dijiji, or Black Bear, kidnapped by the Apaches from his white pioneer family as an infant and raised by Geronimo, is now a brave and accomplished At the Earth's Core David Innes is a young man who has just inherited a large mining company.
Back to the Stone Age Five hundred miles beneath the surface of the Earth lies another world - a world of eternal day and endless horizons, in which dinosaurs still roam and Carson of Venus Carson Napier is the first Earthman to visit Venus, and he has to keep alert every moment of his stay in that world of mist and mystery. Escape on Venus Earthman Carson Napier had found his share of adventure on the cloud-shrouded planet of Venus.
Jungle Girl In far Cambodia, where the Khmer kings built their mighty temples and vanished from the earth with their millions of subjects hundreds of years ago, lea Land Of Terror If you have ever wondered what a civilized man of the twentieth century would do if catapulted into an Old Stone Age where huge cave bears, saber-toothe Lost on Venus Second in the Venus series.
Slowly the man descended to the floor and came towards us, but he still moved with his knuckles to the pavement He looked about at the corpses and a new light entered his eyes. It was then that the attendants came and with their help we subdued and bound the poor creature. Then Ras Thavas had the attendants bring the body of the ape and he told them to remain, as we might need them. The subject was a large specimen of the Barsoomian white ape, one of the most savage and fearsome denizens of the Red Planet, and because of the creature's great strength and ferocity Ras Thavas took the precaution to see that it was securely bound before resurgence.
It was a colossal creature about ten or fifteen feet tall, standing erect, and had an intermediary set of arms or legs midway between its upper and lower limbs.
The eyes were close together and nonprotruding; the ears were high set, while its snout and teeth were strikingly like those of our African gorilla. With returning consciousness the creature eyed us questioningly.
Several times it seemed to essay to speak but only inarticulate sounds issued from its throat.
Then it lay still for a period. The ape was apparently trying very hard to articulate and at last there issued from its lips a sound that could not be misunderstood.
It was the single word no. At a sign from Ras Thavas the attendants removed the bonds and the creature sat up. It stretched its limbs and slid easily to the floor, where it stood erect upon two feet, which was not surprising, since the white ape goes more often upon two feet than six; a fact of which I was not cognizant at the time, but which Ras Thavas explained to me later in commenting upon the fact that the human subject had gone upon all fours, which, to Ras Thavas, indicated a reversion to type in the fractional ape-brain transplanted to the human skull.
Ras Thavas examined the subject at considerable length and then resumed his examination of the human subject which continued to evince more simian characteristics than human, though it spoke more easily than the ape, because, undoubtedly, of its more perfect vocal organs. It was only by exerting the closest attention that the diction of the ape became understandable at all.
You will note that in each subject the transplanted portions of the brains are more active —they, in a considerable measure, control. That is why we have the human subject displaying distinctly simian characteristics, while the ape behaves in a more human manner; though if longer and closer observation were desirable you would doubtless find that each reverted at times to his own nature—that is the ape would be more wholly an ape and the human more manlike—but it is not worth the time, of which I have already given too much to a rather unprofitable forenoon.
I shall leave you now to restore the subjects to anaesthesia while I return to the laboratories above. The attendants will remain here to assist you, if required. The ape, who had been an interested listener, now stepped forward.
I recall the day that I was brought here securely bound, and though I have no recollection of what has transpired since I can but guess from the appearance of my own skin and that of these dusty corpses that I have lain here long. I beg that you will permit me to live and either restore me to my fellows or allow me to serve in some capacity in this establishment, of which I saw something between the time of my capture and the day that I was carried into this laboratory, bound and helpless, to one of your cold, ersite slabs.
Ras Thavas made a gesture of impatience. I could not kill one who would have befriended me —yet I shrink from the thought of another death. How long have I lain here? I referred to the history of his case that had been brought and suspended at the head of the table. Instead you would be really killed, dying a death from which Ras Thavas would probably think it not worth while ever to recall you, while I, who might find the opportunity at some later date and who have the inclination, would be dead at your hands and thus incapable of saving you.
I had been speaking in a low voice, close to his ear, that the attendants might not overhear me. The ape listened intently. DAYS ran into weeks, weeks into months, as day by day I labored at the side of Ras Thavas, and more and more the old surgeon took me into his confidence, more and more he imparted to me the secrets of his skill and his profession. Gradually he permitted me to perform more and more important functions in the actual practice of his vast laboratory.
I started transferring limbs from one subject to another, then internal organs of the digestive tract. Then he entrusted to me a complete operation upon a paying client. I removed the kidneys from a rich old man, replacing them with healthy ones from a young subject. The following day I gave a stunted child new thyroid glands. A week later I transferred two hearts and then, at last, came the great day for me—unassisted, with Ras Thavas standing silently beside me, I took the brain of an old man and transplanted it within the cranium of a youth.
When I had done Ras Thavas laid a hand upon my shoulder. He seemed much elated and I could not but wonder at this unusual demonstration of emotion upon his part, he who so prided himself upon his lack of emotionalism. I had often pondered the purpose which influenced Ras Thavas to devote so much time to my training, but never had I hit upon any more satisfactory explanation than that he had need of assistance in his growing practice. Yet when I consulted the records, that were now open to me, I discovered that his practice was no greater than it had been for many years; and even had it been there was really no reason why he should have trained me in preference to one of his red-Martian assistants, his belief in my loyalty not being sufficient warrant, in my mind, for this preferment when he could, as well as not have kept me for a bodyguard and trained one of his own kind to aid him in his surgical work.
But I was presently to learn that he had an excellent reason for what he was doing—Ras Thavas always had an excellent reason for whatever he did.
One night after we had finished our evening meal he sat looking at me intently as he so often did, as though he would read my mind, which, by the way, he was totally unable to do, much to his surprise and chagrin; for unless a Martian is constantly upon the alert any other Martian can read clearly his every thought; but Ras Thavas was unable to read mine. He said that it was due to the fact that I was not a Barsoomian. Yet I could often read the minds of his assistants, when they were off their guard, though never had I read aught of Ras Thavas' thoughts, nor, I am sure, had any other read them.
He kept his brain sealed like one of his own blood jars, nor was he ever for a moment found with his barriers down. He sat looking at me this evening for a long time, nor did it in the least embarrass me, so accustomed was I to his peculiarities. Them, I know, I cannot trust. Therefore I must accept the risk and place all my dependence upon you, and my reason tells me that my choice is a wise one—I have told you upon what grounds it based my selection of you as my bodyguard.
The same holds true in my selection of you for the thing I have in mind. You cannot harm me without harming yourself and no man will intentionally do that; nor is there any reason why you should feel any deep antagonism towards me. I may have offended you, but I have never wronged you, nor have I wronged any creature for which you might have felt some of your so-called friendship or love. Are my premises incorrect, or my reasoning faulty?
Now let me explain why I have gone to such pains to train you as no other human being, aside from myself, has ever been trained. I am not ready to use you yet, or rather you are not ready; but if you know my purpose you will realize the necessity for bending your energy to the consummation of my purpose, and to that end you will strive even more diligently than you have to perfect yourself in the high, scientific art I am imparting to you. I have lived more than a thousand years. I have passed the allotted natural span of life, but I am not through with my life's work —I have but barely started it.
I must not die. Barsoom must not be robbed of this wondrous brain and skill of mine. I have long had in mind a plan to thwart death, but it required another with skill equal to mine —two such might live for ever. I have selected you to be that other, for reasons that I already have explained—they are undefiled by sentimentalism.
I did not choose you because I love you, or because I feel friendship for you, or because I think that you love me, or feel friendship towards me. I chose you because I knew that of all the inhabitants of a world you were the one least likely to fail me. For a time you will have my life in your hands. You will understand now why I have not been able to choose carelessly. My body is about worn out.
I must have a new one. My laboratory is filled with wonderful bodies, young and complete with potential strength and health. I have but to select one of these and have my skilled assistant transfer my brain from this old carcass to the new one. I may live for ever, provided I always have a skilled assistant, and I may assure myself of such by seeing to it that he never dies; when he wears out one organ, or his whole body, I can replace either from my great storehouse of perfect parts, and for me he can perform the same service.
Thus may we continue to live indefinitely; for the brain, I believe, is almost deathless, unless injured or attacked by disease. You must transfer many more brains and meet with and overcome the various irregularities and idiosyncrasies that constitute the never failing differences that render no two operations identical. When you gain sufficient proficiency I shall be the first to know it and then we shall lose no time in making Barsoom safe for posterity. The old man was far from achieving hatred of himself.
However, his plan was an excellent one, both for himself and for me. It assured us immortality —we might live for ever and always with strong, healthy, young bodies.
The outlook was alluring—and what a wonderful position it placed me in. If the old man could be assured of my loyalty because of self-interest, similarly might I depend upon his loyalty; for he could not afford to antagonize the one creature in the world who could assure him immortality, or withhold it from him. For the first time since I had entered his establishment I felt safe.
As soon as I had left him I went directly to Valla Dia's apartment, for I wanted to tell her this wonderful news. In the weeks that had passed since her resurrection I had seen much of her and in our daily intercourse there had been revealed to me little by little the wondrous beauties of her soul, until at last I no longer saw the hideous, disfigured face of Xaxa when I looked upon her, but the eyes of my heart penetrated deeper to the loveliness that lay within that sweet mind.
She had become my confidante, as I was hers, and this association constituted the one great pleasure of my existence upon Barsoom. Her congratulations, when I told her of what had come to me, were very sincere and lovely. She said that she hoped I would use this great power of mine to do good in the world.
I assured her that I would and that among the first things that I should demand of Ras Thavas was that he should give Valla Dia a beautiful body; but she shook her head.
Without my own body I should not care to return to my native country; while were Ras Thavas to give me the beautiful body of another, I should always be in danger of the covetousness of his clients, any one of whom might see and desire to download it, leaving to me her old husk, conceivably one quite terribly diseased or maimed. No, my friend, I am satisfied with the body of Xaxa, unless I may again possess my own, for Xaxa at least bequeathed me a tough and healthy envelope, however ugly it may be; and for what do looks count here?
You, alone, are my friend - that I have your friendship is enough. You admire me for what I am, not for what I look like, so let us leave well enough alone.
I must not harbor so hopeless a dream that at best may only tantalize me into greater abhorrence of my lot. Returning to Amhor he sent ambassadors to the court of Kor San to sue for the hand of the Princess of Duhor; but Kor San, who had no son, had determined to wed his daughter to one of his own Jeds, that the son of this union, with the blood of Kor San in his veins, might rule over the people of Duhor; and so the offer of Jal Had was declined. Duhor was, at that time, at war with Helium and all her forces were far afield in the south, with the exception of a small army that had been left behind to guard the city.
Jal Had, therefore, could not have selected a more propitious time for an attack. Duhor fell, and while his troops were looting the fair city Jal Had, with a picked force, sacked the palace of the Jeddak and searched for the princess; but the princess had no mind to go back with him as Princess of Amhor.
From the moment that the vanguard of the Amhorian fleet was seen in the sky she had known, with the others of the city, the purpose for which they came, and so she used her head to defeat that purpose. He was a master of his art; he could render the ugly pleasant to look upon, he could make the plain lovely, and he could make the lovely radiant. She called him quickly to her and commanded him to make the radiant ugly, and when he had done with her none might guess that she was the Princess of Duhor, so deftly had he wrought with his pigments and his tiny brushes.
We were, therefore, all seized and placed upon an Amhorian war ship which was sent back to Amhor ahead of the balance of the fleet, which remained to complete the sacking of Duhor. The convoying ships were destroyed or driven off and that which carried us was captured.
We were taken to Phundahl where we were put upon the auction block and I fell to the bid of one of Ras Thavas' agents. The rest you know. The Princess of Duhor will never again see her native country. You, a stranger and alone, could never reach it; for between lie the Toonolian Marshes, wild hordes, savage beasts and warlike cities.
You would but die uselessly within the first dozen haads, even could you escape from the island upon which stands the laboratory of Ras Thavas; and what motive is there to prompt you to such a useless sacrifice? I could not tell her. I could not look upon that withered figure and into that hideous and disfigured face and say: Gradually, as I had come to know her through the slow revealment of the wondrous beauty of her mind and soul, there had crept into my heart a knowledge of my love; and yet, explain it I cannot, I could not speak the words to that frightful old hag.
I had seen the gorgeous mundane tabernacle that had housed the equally gorgeous spirit of the real Valla Dia— that I could love; her heart and soul and mind I could love; but I could not love the body of Xaxa. I was torn, too, by other emotions, induced by a great doubt—could Valla Dia return my love. Habilitated in the corpse of Xaxa, with no other suitor, nay, with no other friend she might, out of gratitude or through sheer loneliness, be attracted to me; but once again were she Valla Dia the beautiful and returned to the palace of her king, surrounded by the great nobles of Duhor, would she have either eyes or heart for a lone and friendless exile from another world?
I doubted it—and yet that doubt did not deter me from my determination to carry out, as far as Fate would permit, the mad scheme that was revolving in my brain. She sighed. I appreciate your generosity and your loyalty, even though I may not understand them; your unselfish desire to serve me at such suicidal risk touches me more deeply than I can reveal, adding still further to the debt I owe you; but you must not attempt it—you must not.
Some day I shall find a way, even though the plan I now have fails me. The days moved on and on, the gorgeous Martian nights, filled with her hurtling moons, followed one upon another.
Ras Thavas spent more and more time in directing my work of brain transference. I had long since become an adept; and I realized that the time was rapidly approaching when Ras Thavas would feel that he could safely entrust to my hands and skill his life and future.
He would be wholly within my power and he knew that I knew it. I could slay him; I could permit him to remain for ever in the preserving grip of his own anaesthetic; or I could play any trick upon him that I chose, even to giving him the body of a calot or a part of the brain of an ape; but he must take the chance and that I knew, for he was failing rapidly.
Already almost stone blind, it was only the wonderful spectacles that he had himself invented that permitted him to see at all; long deaf, he used artificial means for hearing; and now his heart was showing symptoms of fatigue that he could not longer ignore. One morning I was summoned to his sleeping apartment by a slave.
I found the old surgeon lying, a shrunken, pitiful heap of withered skin and bones. It was then that I sent for you. There, in the private laboratory I long ago built for this very purpose, you will perform the greatest surgical operation that the universe has ever known, transferring its most perfect brain to the most beautiful and perfect body that ever has passed beneath these ancient eyes.
You will find the head already prepared to receive my brain; the brain of the subject having been removed and destroyed—totally destroyed by fire. I could not possibly chance the existence of a brain desiring and scheming to regain its wondrous body. No, I destroyed it. Call slaves and have them bear my body to the ersite slab.
Upon the surface of the other, which was vacant, I laid Ras Thavas, then I turned to look at the new envelope he had chosen. Never, I believe, had I beheld so perfect a form, so handsome a face—Ras Thavas had indeed chosen well for himself. Then I turned back to the old surgeon.
Deftly, as he had taught me, I made the two incisions and attached the tubes.
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My finger rested upon the button that would start the motor pumping his blood from his veins and his marvellous preservative-anaesthetic into them. Then I spoke. I have labored assiduously to prepare myself that there might be no slightest cause for apprehension as to the outcome. You have, coincidentally, taught me that one's every act should be prompted by self-interest only. You are satisfied, therefore, that I am not doing this for you because I love you, or because I feel any friendship for you; but you think that you have offered me enough in placing before me a similar opportunity for immortality.
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I crave friendship and love. The price you offer is not enough. Are you willing to pay more that this operation may be successfully concluded? He looked at me steadily for a long minute. I could see that he was trembling with anger, but he did not raise his voice. He glared at me. Xaxa has the body. Even if I cared to do so, I could never recover it.
Proceed with the operation! Ask me something else. I am not unwilling to grant any reasonable request. If I bring Xaxa here will you make the transfer?
Reach a decision. In five tals I shall press this button. If you promise what I ask, you shall be restored with a new and beautiful body; if you refuse you shall lie here in the semblance of death for ever. RAS THAVAS awakened from the anaesthetic a new and gorgeous creature—a youth of such wondrous beauty that he seemed of heavenly rather than worldly origin; but in that beautiful head was the hard, cold, thousand-year-old brain of the master surgeon. As he opened his eyes he looked upon me coldly.
Select another body —there are many beautiful ones—and I will give it the brain of EH. He shrugged and there was a cold smile upon his handsome lips. When do you start? First go to the office and see what cases await us and if there be any that do not require my personal attention, and they fall within your skill and knowledge, attend to them yourself.
As I left him I noticed a crafty smile of satisfaction upon his lips. What had aroused that? I did not like it and as I walked away I tried to conjure what could possibly have passed through that wondrous brain to call forth at that particular instant so unpleasant a smile. As I passed through the doorway and into the corridor beyond I heard him summon his personal slave and body servant, Yamdor, a huge fellow whose loyalty he kept through the bestowal of lavish gifts and countless favors.
So great was the fellow's power that all feared him, as a word to the master from the lips of Yamdor might easily send any of the numerous slaves or attendants to an ersite slab for eternity. It was rumored that he was the result of an unnatural experiment which had combined the brain of a woman with the body of a man, and there was much in his actions and mannerisms to justify this general belief.
His touch, when he worked about his master, was soft and light, his movements graceful, his ways gentle, but his mind was jealous, vindictive and unforgiving. I believe that he did not like me, through jealousy of the authority I had attained in the establishment of Ras Thavas; for there was no questioning the fact that I was a lieutenant, while he was but a slave; yet he always accorded me the utmost respect.
He was, however, merely a minor cog in the machinery of the great institution presided over by the sovereign mind of Ras Thavas, and as such I had given him little consideration; nor did I now as I bent my steps towards the office. I had gone but a short distance when I recalled a matter of importance upon which it was necessary for me to obtain instructions from Ras Thavas immediately; and so I wheeled about and retraced my way towards his apartments, through the open doorway of which, as I approached, I heard the new voice of the master surgeon.
Ras Thavas had always spoken in rather loud tones, whether as a vocal reflection of his naturally domineering and authoritative character, or because of his deafness, I do not know; and now, with the fresh young vocal cords of his new body, his words rang out clearly and distinctly in the corridor leading to his room. Immediately after, you will bring the two slaves to the laboratory FL, permitting them to speak to no one, and I will consign them to silence and forgetfulness for eternity. During my investigation you will confess that you aided EH to escape, but that you have no idea where it intended going.
I will sentence you to death as punishment, but at last explaining how urgently I need your services and upon your solemn promise never to transgress again, I will defer punishment for the term of your continued good behavior.
Do you thoroughly understand the entire plan? Quickly and silently I sped along the corridor until the first intersection permitted me to place myself out of sight of anyone coming from Ras Thavas' apartment; then I went directly to the chamber occupied by Valla Dia.
Unlocking the door I threw it open and beckoned her to come out. Valla Dia! In attempting to save you I have but brought destruction upon you. First we must find a hiding place for you, and that at once—afterwards we can plan for the future. The place that first occurred to me as affording adequate concealment was the half forgotten vaults in the pits beneath the laboratories, and towards these I hastened Valla Dia. As we proceeded I narrated all that had transpired, nor did she once reproach me; but, instead, expressed naught but gratitude for what she was pleased to designate as my unselfish friendship.
That it had miscarried, she assured me, was no reflection upon me and she insisted that she would rather die in the knowledge that she possessed one such friend than to live on indefinitely, friendless. We came at last to the chamber I sought—vault LX, in building 4-J, where reposed the bodies of the ape and the man, each of which possessed half the brain of the other.
Here I was forced to leave Valla Dia for the time, that I might hasten to the office and perform the duties imposed upon me by Ras Thavas, lest his suspicions be aroused when Yamdor reported that he had found her apartment vacant. I reached the office without it being discovered by anyone who might report the fact to Ras Thavas that I had been a long time coming from his apartment.
To my relief, I found there were no cases. Without appearing in any undue haste, I nevertheless soon found an excuse to depart and at once made my way towards my own quarters, moving in a leisurely and unconcerned manner and humming, as was my wont a habit which greatly irritated Ras Thavas , snatches from some song that had been popular at the time that I quit Earth.
In this instance it was "Oh, Frenchy. I was thus engaged when I met Yamdor moving hurriedly along the corridor leading from my apartment, in company with two male slaves. I greeted him pleasantly, as was my custom, and he returned my greeting; but there was an expression of fear and suspicion in his eyes. I went at once to my quarters, opened the door leading to the chamber formerly occupied by Valla Dia and then hastened immediately to the apartment of Ras Thavas, where I found him conversing with Yamdor.
I rushed in apparently breathless and simulating great excitement. She has disappeared; her apartment is empty; and as I was approaching it I met Yamdor and two other slaves coming from that direction.
Both Ras Thavas and Yamdor seemed genuinely puzzled and I congratulated myself that I had thus readily thrown them off the track. The master surgeon declared that he would make an immediate investigation; and he at once ordered a thorough search of the ground and of the island outside the enclosure.
Yamdor denied any knowledge of the woman and I, at least, was aware of the sincerity of his protestations, but not so Ras Thavas. I could see a hint of suspicion in his eyes as he questioned his body servant; but evidently he could conjure no motive for any such treasonable action on the part of Yamdor as would have been represented by the abduction of the woman and the consequent gross disobedience of orders.
Ras Thavas' investigation revealed nothing. I think as it progressed that he became gradually more and more imbued with a growing suspicion that I might know more about the disappearance of Valla Dia than my attitude indicated, for I presently became aware of a delicately concealed espionage.
Up to this time I had been able to smuggle food to Valla Dia every night, after Ras Thavas had retired to his quarters. Then, on one occasion, I suddenly became subconsciously aware that I was being followed, and instead of going to the vaults I went to the office, where I added some observations to my report upon a case I had handled that day.
Returning to my room I hummed a few bars from "Over There," that the suggestion of my unconcern might be accentuated. From the moment that I quit my quarters until I returned to them I was sure that eyes had been watching my every move. What was I to do? Valla Dia must have food, without it she would die; and were I to be followed to her hiding place while taking it to her, she would die; Ras Thavas would see to that.
Half the night I lay awake, racking my brains for some solution to the problem.
There seemed only one way—I must elude the spies. If I could do this but one single time I could carry out the balance of a plan that had occurred to me, and which was, I thought, the only one feasible that might eventually lead to the resurrection of Valla Dia in her own body.
The way was long, the risks great; but I was young, in love and utterly reckless of consequences in so far as they concerned me; it was Valla Dia's happiness alone that I could not risk too greatly, other than under dire stress. Well, the stress existed and I must risk that even as I risked my life.
My plan was formulated and I lay awake upon my sleeping silks and furs in the darkness of my room, awaiting the time when I might put it into execution. My window, which was upon the third floor, overlooked the walled enclosure, upon the scarlet sward of which I had made my first bow to Barsoom. Across the open casement I had watched Cluros, the farther moon, take his slow deliberate way.
He had already set.
Behind him, Thuria, his elusive mistress, fled through the heavens. In five xats about 15 minutes she would set; and then for about three and three quarters Earth hours the heavens would be dark, except for the stars. In the corridor, perhaps, lurked those watchful eyes.
I prayed God that they might not be elsewhere as Thuria sank at last beneath the horizon and I swung to my window ledge, in my hand a long rope fabricated from braided strips tom from my sleeping silks while I had awaited the setting of the moons.
One end I had fastened to a heavy sorapus bench which I had drawn close to the window. I dropped the free end of the rope and started my descent. My Earthly muscles, untried in such endeavors, I had not trusted to the task of carrying me to my window ledge in a single leap, when I should be returning. I felt that they would, but I did not know; and too much depended upon the success of my venture to risk any unnecessary chance of failure.
And so I had prepared the rope. Whether I was being observed I did not know. I must go on as though none were spying upon me. In less then four hours Thuria would return just before the sudden Barsoomian dawn and in the interval I must reach Valla Dia, persuade her of the necessity of my plan and carry out its details, returning to my chamber before Thuria could disclose me to any accidental observer.
I carried my weapons with me and in my heart was unbending determination to slay whoever might cross my path and recognize me during the course of my errand, however innocent of evil intent against me he might be. The night was quiet except for the usual distant sounds that I had heard ever since I had been here—sounds that I had interpreted as the cries of savage beasts.
Once I had asked Ras Thavas about them, but he had been in ill humor and had ignored my question. I reached the ground quickly and without hesitation moved directly to the nearest entrance of the building, having previously searched out and determined upon the route I would follow to the vault. No one was visible and I was confident, when at last I reached the doorway, that I had come through undetected.
Valla Dia was so happy to see me again that it almost brought the tears to my eyes. I told her of my conviction that I was being watched and that it would not be possible for me longer to bring food to her without incurring almost certain detection, which would spell immediate death for her. You must be securely hidden for a long time, until Ras Thavas' suspicions have been allayed; for as long as he has me watched I cannot possibly carry out the plans I have formulated for your eventual release, the restoration of your own body and your return to Duhor.
I pointed, to the ersite topped table. Can you endure it? She smiled. I was surprised that she did not shrink from the idea, but I was very glad since I knew that it was the only way that we had a chance for success. Without my help she disposed herself upon the ersite slab. You cannot succeed. When I close my eyes I know that it will be for the last time if my resurrection depends upon the successful outcome of the maddest venture that ever man conceived; yet I am happy, because I know that it is inspired by the greatest friendship with which any mortal woman has ever been blessed.
As she talked I had been adjusting the tubes and now I stood beside her with my finger upon the starting button of the motor.
You will seem but to close your eyes and open them again. As you see me now, I shall be standing here beside you as though I never had departed from you. As I am the last that you look upon tonight before you close your eyes, so shall I be the first that you shall look upon as you open them on that new and beautiful morning; but you shall not again look forth through the eyes of Xaxa, but from the limpid depths of your own beautiful orbs. She smiled and shook her head.The Emperor triumphed during the confrontation between himself and the Chaos-corrupted Warmaster, but only at the cost of his own mortal wounding.
To ask other readers questions about Priests of Mars , please sign up. Dec 19, Derek Weese rated it it was amazing. The Girl from Hollywood In the foothills of the southern California mountains are the Rancho del Ganado, owned by Colonel Pennington, and a smaller ranch on which Mrs. The high priestess of the Flaming God in the ancient city of Opar - forgotten outpost of Atlantis - had been betrayed by her people a The brain of the girl directed the muscles, but the old, rough vocal cords of Xaxa could give forth no sweeter notes.
Today it becomes an object of great historical significance that can be weighed and its mass will have measurement uncertainty.
The Mucker The adventures of Billy Byrne, thug and gunman, in the underworld of Chicago and San Francisco, and on his mysterious cruise to the unexplored islands o I honestly thought the book had a text error at first until I compared it with a paper copy.