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Posted January 12, 2013
Burroughs, Edgar Rice. The Mad King [c.1926]. 188p. **1/2 Adventure through misadventure. The story is set in pre-WWI Eastern Europe, in the small kingdom of Lutha, which borders Austria and Serbia. The kingdom has been ruled for the recent ten years by a Regent. The young king, known to his countrymen as “the Mad King,” has been locked away unseen all these years, but has recently escaped. A young American enters Lutha to visit his mother’s homeland and is immediately recognized as the young king based solely upon the description in a flyer nailed to every flat surface in the kingdom – a flyer which hints that capture of the “mad king” may be alive or dead. Barney Custer of Nebraska is thrust into the intrigue surrounding the missing king, the Regent seeking to be crowned king, and the coming Austrian-Serbian war. The plot roughly follows the much earlier and oft-filmed tale, The Prisoner of Zenda . The writing style is typical of the time – no flowery prose -- the strapping, virtuous main character is developed, the others to a much lesser extent. Plots, counter-plots, sword-play, heroes, villains, a car chase [!], and the true king’s betrothed as a love-interest. Easy to read, plot always moving – appears to have originally been a magazine serial as were many of Boroughs’ works. Probably won’t make you laugh or cry, but worth a read.
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Posted May 28, 2011
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