Read Raiders of Gor by John Norman Free Online
Book Title: Raiders of Gor|
The author of the book: John Norman
Edition: Del Rey
The size of the: 556 KB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 2346 times
Reader ratings: 5.1
Date of issue: August 12th 1985
ISBN 13: 9780345331090
Format files: PDF
Read full description of the books:
There is no way to review this book without spoilers. So first a general review, then a warning, then more review (with spoilers).
This book is a departure from the first five books. In each book the writing and style evolve (for the better), but this one makes a bit of a leap. In the last few books I complained about Tarl being one dimensional or at least not growing as a character. That changes here. Tarl undergoes a transformation very early on in the book which changes everything in the way he approaches life. Its sort of like in professional wrestling when the Hero turns into the Heel. Its the same person suddenly free to explore all sorts of "bad" behavior.
Other than Tarl's transformation, the rest of the book reads much as the rest of the Gor books so far. Norman backs off his literary ambitions from Assassins and returns to a more focused and localized story. Norman continues his pattern of story telling interspersed with detailed explanations of how to train a slave, how to make a long bow, how to train a slave, how to make a ship, how to train a slave, how to fight naval warfare, how to train a slave,... did I mention how to train a slave? When reading these detailed accounts you may tend to think they go just a little too far, but when it comes time to read the action of bow combat or a naval battle, you realize the vivid picture that has been painted for you before you got to the action. It is a little painful to read the 10 page explanation of how ships are built and how they fight, but when the naval battle is upon you it moves much faster and more vividly because you know every detail of every ship, how it is built, how it moves, etc. It works.
The book is very good. Not great, but with the change in Tarl it is very entertaining. Like any good book in a series, the question is; does it make you want to read the next one? I bought the next one immediately as I finished this one and read the first chapter. So Raiders succeeds.
SPOILER ALERT - DO NOT READ PAST HERE IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW TOO MUCH!!!!!!
So Tarl becomes a bad guy in this book. At least for a while, a real bad guy, but by the end of the book you see the old Tarl coming back partially. I don't mind this transformation, but I didn't like the way it was handled initially. Tarl is captured and he is forced to submit as a slave or be killed. He chooses slavery and that breaks his spirit. My problem with this is that there was no build up or cause to believe he would choose slavery. Its inconsistent with the series. He's faced death dozens of times, been in situations worse than he was in this book, and he never blinks an eye. Then in this book, in the space of all of 2 pages he is told to submit or die and he drops to his knees and grovels. I don't buy it.
In the first 5 books the dialog is like this:
[Tarl is captured and threatened with Death]
- Bad Guy: "You will die today."
- Tarl: "Perhaps."
- Bad Guy: "You will not escape, we will torture you and kill you."
- Tarl: "You will try."
[Tarl breaks his bonds and kills them all]
[Tarl is hopelessly outnumbered and has no escape]
- Bad Guys: "We will kill you."
- Tarl: "Perhaps, but not today."
- Bad Guys: "We will drag you in shackles to serve in the kitchen as a female."
- Tarl: "You will try."
[Tarl devises a plan and kills them all]
Then all of a sudden in this book,...
- Bad Guys: "Submit or we will throw you to the sea tharlarion."
- Tarl: "Please no, ok I'll submit."
This is the guy that battles giant ooze squid things and wins, rides war tarns in tarn races flying through razor sharp rings designed to decapitate you, and fought at the Siege of Ar against the greatest swordsman on all of Gor - and won. We're supposed to believe he got freaked out by a bunch of hillbillies in a swamp and begged for his life? He spends months in servitude groveling and begging, "please mistress," while he has a hundred chances to escape. No way.
The idea of turning Tarl into a Heel was a good one. The series needed a shake-up and it was the perfect time to do it and revitalize Tarl as a character. However the method was (possibly) poorly done (I need to see where the series goes to decide). It seems like we needed a build up and we needed a reason to believe Tarl would/could break. Maybe Norman was making a point which is there is no reason, and that is why Tarl cannot forgive himself - he broke for no reason. Maybe he broke too easily and that is the point. However it still seemed too easy to break a character that has been built up to be just short of a God of War and everybody's Savior.
In the end I'm glad Norman did it. Once you get past the "cheap trick" used to turn the series upside down, you realize how much fun it is to read about the bad guy and root for him (because you know the good guy is in there somewhere). At the very end Norman gives an explanation for all the drama and points back to the simple idea, "shit happens, get over it." Norman specifically writes; everyone has a hero and a coward in them, its just part of being human. So in the end it works.
The middle of the next book is where I stopped reading 30 years ago. So now I have no idea where this goes from here.
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Read information about the authorLibrarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
John Norman, real name John Lange, was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1931. His best known works, the Gor novels, span 31 books written 1967 to 2012, plus three installments of the Telnarian Histories, two other fiction works and a non-fiction paperback. Mr. Norman is married and has three children.
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