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Priest-Kings of Gor (Chronicles of Counter Earth, Volume 3) by John Norman
ISBN: 0345024877
ISBN13: 978-0345024879
Author: John Norman
Book title: Priest-Kings of Gor (Chronicles of Counter Earth, Volume 3)
Other Formats: mobi lit txt lrf
Publisher: Ballantine Books; 5th Printing edition (1972)
Language: English
Size PDF version: 1193 kb
Size ePub version: 1290 kb
Size fb2 version: 1800 kb
Category: Science Fiction

In which Tarl Cabot, Tarnsman of Gor, sets out to discover the true nature of the Priest-Kings who rule Gor with an iron and absolute discipline. No one knows what the Priest-Kings are-- whether alien or supermen. None have ever returned from the mountains of Sardar, traditional stronghold of the merciless rulers of Gor. Now Tarl himself is on the verge of entering Sardar.

Books reviews
I started reading the Gor series about 40 yrs ago.....book 11 if memory serves. I immediately went out and purchased the previous books and then did what all those that preceded me did, waited for the next volume. My interested faded when he took his sabbatical because of the continued attacks on his subjugation of women themes. I was thrilled to find he had started writing the series again and I now find myself waiting for the next book just like I did low those many years ago. This book is mildly important as it explains a great deal of the questions that will arise as you read deeper into the series. If you can get past the unending subjugation of women BS you'll marvel at his ability to make you see what the characters see as his command of the language is unparalleled.
A+ battle scenes and plots of intrigue. Great male leadership and warrior stuff. Pumps you up as a man. That's why I read. The female slave thing, however, is SO overworked in EVERY SINGLE BOOK, that it's become laughable, really. Every single woman in every single GOR book I've read (first six) has the EXACT SAME PERSONALITY. This implies interesting aspects of author John Norman's personality: Does he see women as 1-dimensional? Women?? The most complex of God's creations?? A+ for mature writing style. If you like light bondage/discipline (yuchh!), then he gets an 'A'. For normal people, be prepared to page flip through this crap, which has nothing to do with the plot. However, he gets a 'B' for women's rights because the main character is always freeing women from bondage. As for an accurate portrayal of an alternate Earth with limited technology and NO Christian influence, he gets an A+. All Gor is missing is the Koran. It already has Sharea law. Plus, the terrorists fly on big birds.
Cabot of earth seeks redress from the so-called "all powerful" Priest-Kings of Gor for the destruction of his beloved city, Ko-Ra-somethingorother. Oral servicing of the hive queen ensues (as well as lots of sweaty slave sex). (OK, actually, not so much of that.)

This book had promise. The Priest-Kings were compelling antagonists, and the descriptions of their culture and physiognomy were interesting. Alas, about 60% of the way through the book, Norman once again descends into his strange misogynist rants, going so far as to even suggest that women were compelled, evolutionarily to submit to men. (But, really, isn't that why people read his stuff?) I chose to interpret this as written with tongue firmly in cheek, but who knows. Once that section of the book was passed, the plot became interesting again. The best of the series so far.
"The Priest-Kings of Gor" is the third novel of John Norman's Gorean Saga. The first book talked a bit about the priest-kings of the Sardar Mountains who held the planet Gor back technologically. The first book didn't give much info on the priest-kings beyond that they had brought the hero Tarl Cabot from earth to the planet Gor and that from this it was known by Tarl that the priest-kings were either very powerful or had some high tech equipment that they were not giving the Goreans access to. The second novel teases the reader by fooling the reader into thinking that Tarl is going to travel to the Sardar Mountains to see the priest-kings but Tarl gets sidetracked onto another quest to liberate the city Tharna.

In the third book of the Gorean Saga, Tarl Cabot finally travels to the Sardar Mountains to meet the priest-kings. The unveiling of the mystery behind them is at the center of this novel. It is revealed to the reader whether the priest-kings are using magic or are using advanced technology. Other mysteries are also unveiled.

This book was climactic to me even though it's not even close to being the last book in the series. It was a big deal for me to finally find out what the priest-kings were like. The first two books were fantasy novels that took place on another planet and had no magic. This book however is almost a sci-fi novel. It has some romance but as it always is like on the planet Gor, the woman Tarl meets is not entirely trustworthy.
I read this more than 30 years ago and liked it them. More recently I've looked in on the newer Gor books by John Norman. These stories have some attractions notably the war at the Worlds End stories. That said I decided to revisit some of these books. Frankly they're better. Not as much emphasis on the rightness of female slavery and much more on action, adventure. Tarl Cabot succeeds by being a great warrior with a lot of the civilities that that he brings from the reviled earth culture. This story has a lot to recommend it. Highly recommended as science fiction. Tarl Cabot is a hero rather in the John Carter vein bringing honor and civility with him to solve the problems of another culture
Aside from the small amount of BDSM this book eludes to I found several parts of great interest. I enjoyed the lessons of learning to like/love/tolerate rational beings that are different than us.
What I did not like and became bored with was all the details in describing things specific to the Priest Kings. Those details were dry and hard to follow so yes, I did skip over those parts rather quickly.
First read these when I was a kid, back in the sixties. Needed to find out if they were as good as I remembered. They are. I enjoy them just as much now as I did back then. Tarl Cabot remains a favorite character of mine. I'm not one to usually mix my Science and Sword & Sorcery, but this series of books by Mr. Norman do the job well.
The world building for Gor is very extensive but...oh my God...when you have to read page after page of the history, it is incredibly boring. The book did start to pick up after about the halfway point but the first half is an incredible slog.
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