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Mariners of Gor

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Many on Gor do not believe the great ship of Tersites, the lame, scorned, half-blind, half-mad shipwright, originally of Port Kar, exists. Surely it is a matter of no more than legend. In the previous book, however, Swordsmen of Gor, we learned that the great ship, commissioned by unusual warriors for a mysterious mission, was secretly built in the northern forests and brought down the Alexandra to Thassa, the sea, beginning her voyage to the ...

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Mariners of Gor

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Many on Gor do not believe the great ship of Tersites, the lame, scorned, half-blind, half-mad shipwright, originally of Port Kar, exists. Surely it is a matter of no more than legend. In the previous book, however, Swordsmen of Gor, we learned that the great ship, commissioned by unusual warriors for a mysterious mission, was secretly built in the northern forests and brought down the Alexandra to Thassa, the sea, beginning her voyage to the “World’s End,” hazarding waters beyond the “farther islands,” from which no ship had returned. 

Rediscover this brilliantly imagined world where men are masters and women live to serve their every desire.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781497644953
  • Publisher: Open Road Integrated Media LLC
  • Publication date: 5/13/2014
  • Series: Gorean Saga Series , #30
  • Pages: 590
  • Sales rank: 642,418
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

John Norman, born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1931, is the creator of the Gorean Saga, the longest-running series of adventure novels in science fiction history. Starting in December 1966 with Tarnsman of Gor, the series was put on hold after its twenty-fifth installment, Magicians of Gor, in 1988, when DAW refused to publish its successor, Witness of Gor. After several unsuccessful attempts to find a trade publishing outlet, the series was brought back into print in 2001. Norman has also produced a separate science fiction series, the Telnarian Histories, plus two other fiction works (Ghost Dance and Time Slave), a nonfiction paperback (Imaginative Sex), and a collection of thirty short stories, entitled Norman InvasionsThe Totems of Abydos was published in spring 2012. 

All of Norman’s work is available both in print and as ebooks. The Internet has proven to be a fertile ground for the imagination of Norman’s ever-growing fan base, and at Gor Chronicles (, a website specially created for his tremendous fan following, one may read everything there is to know about this unique fictional culture. 

Norman is married and has three children.

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Read an Excerpt

Mariners of Gor

The Gorean Saga: Book 30

By John Norman


Copyright © 2011 John Norman
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4976-0053-9


Late One Night, in a Tavern in Brundisium

And he spoke.

"I sailed on the great ship," he said. "Yea, the ship of Tersites."

"It was lost at sea," said a man.

"It sailed over the edge of the world," said another.

"Listen," he said. "And I will tell you a story."

"For paga," laughed a Merchant.

"We have heard such stories," said a fellow.

"You are a liar," scoffed the taverner.

"A thousand ships come and go, in the great harbor of Brundisium," said a fellow. "There are a thousand stories."

"But not of the ship of Tersites," he said.

"No," said a fellow, "not of the ship of Tersites."

"There is no such ship," said a man. "Tersites was mad, fled from Port Kar."

"I hear 'banished'," said another.

"The ship was never built," said a man.

"It was built," averred the fellow.

"No," said a man.

"In the northern forests," he said.

"Absurd," laughed a man.

"And debouched onto Thassa from the Alexandra," he said.

"Have you seen it?" asked a man.

"I berthed upon her," he said.

"Liar," said the taverner.

"What happened?" asked a man.

"That is my story," said the man.

It was a small tavern, The Sea Sleen, only yards from the water, declining by a steep slope to the southern piers. It was late. Tharlarion-oil lamps hung on their slender chains, three to a lamp, adjusted variously, table to table, from the low, beamed ceiling. Most had been extinguished, as tables were vacated. The few lamps remaining alit put out little light, the wicks shortened to conserve fuel. There were no musicians. The dancing sand was empty. Given the nature and paucity of its custom, The Sea Sleen could afford to hire musicians only at the height of the season. It was now the second month in autumn, called in Brundisium the month of Lykourgos. The harbor was not now much trafficked. Mostly coasting. Until the arrival of the stranger, it had been muchly quiet. One might have heard the clink of a goblet now and then, the scraping of a wooden trencher on a low table, sometimes the crack of a kaissa piece being struck down on a board in an aggressive move. Outside, away from the portal, down the slope a bit, if one listened, one could hear the water lapping against the pilings, where the vast glory of looming Thassa, in the darkness, deigned to touch the small works of men. The Sea Sleen was not one of the higher, larger taverns in the great port of Brundisium, such as that of the Diamond Collar, the Joys of Turia, the Dina, the tavern of Chang, that of Hendow, or such. Her patronage was mostly that of ruffians, mariners between voyages, their coins now mostly spent, left in the higher taverns, drifters, wanderers, peddlers, exiles, some mercenaries, willing to unsheathe their blades for a bit of silver, or a fight. The stranger sat cross-legged at one of the small tables. Several were gathered about him. One could not see his face well in the half-darkness, but the reddish outline marked his place. Most of those about him were muchly in darkness. Some held cups of paga. The trenchers had been gathered in, and the kaissa boards had been folded and put away, the red and yellow pieces in two shallow drawers, fixed in the board, one on each side, one for each color. This is not an unusual arrangement in taverns. Commonly, however, kaissa boards are simple, straight boards, and the pieces are kept separately, in boxes or sacks. Members of the Caste of Players are recognized by their red-and-yellow-checked robes, the worn board slung over their shoulder, the sack of pieces at their waist. Depending on the Player, they will give you a game for as little as a tarsk-bit, as much as a golden tarn disk of Ar. It was said that Centius of Cos had once played in Brundisium.

"If you have a story to tell, for a drink," said the taverner, "why not tell it toward the upper city, against the outer walls, in a landward tavern, say, the Diamond Collar?"

The stranger was silent. Then he said, "I want paga."

"I will tell you," said the taverner. "You were ejected elsewhere, thrown into the streets, and stumbled downward, bewildered, blindly, mad, knowing nothing else, stumbling from door to door, until you would reach the piers."

"And then Thassa, dark, cold Thassa," said a man.

"Paga," said the stranger.

"Do you beg?" inquired the taverner.

"No," said the stranger, and the taverner, alarmed, sensing danger, stepped a bit back, but recovered himself, almost immediately.

The stranger was a large, spare man, with roughened hands, perhaps hardened from the oar, or from hauling on lines. He was clad in little more than rags. He did have a dirty mariner's cap. I did not think it unlikely he had indeed ventured upon Thassa. Those hands, I did not doubt, might close about a man's throat, might break a man's neck.

"I will pay," said the man.

"You have coins?" inquired the taverner.

"No," said the man.

"Extinguish the lamps," said the taverner to his man, who stood behind him.

The other tables were empty now, as their occupants had left, or had gathered with us, about the stranger's low table.

The only lamp remaining lit then, of the hanging lamps, was the one in which we could see the outline of the stranger's face. A bowl lamp did glow at the serving table, near the kitchen gate, near the paga vat, near the goblets.

"I can pay," said the stranger.

"With what?" inquired the taverner.

"I will tell you a story," said the stranger. His eyes had a wild, feral look.

"We are closing," said the taverner. Then, looking to his man, he gestured toward the stranger. "Eject him," he said.

"Where will he go? What will he do?" asked a fellow, a Scribe from his robes, of shoddy, faded blue.

"Thassa," said a man, I think a mercenary. "Dark, cold Thassa."

"Perhaps," said a man.

"No," said the stranger. "No."

"Come along, fellow," said the taverner's man. "There is garbage outside, in the sewer troughs." He put his hand on the stranger's arm.

"Do not touch me," said the stranger, quietly, politely, rising unsteadily to his feet. His voice was courteous, almost gentlemanly. But the taverner's man did not mistake the tone of that voice, and removed his hand from the stranger's arm.

"It is time to go," said the taverner's man, gently.

"I will leave," said the stranger.

"I would hear his story," said a man.

"I will buy him paga," said another.

"No," said the stranger.

I had not realized how large he was until he stood.

"We are closing," called the taverner, suddenly, loudly, impatiently, for two figures, cloaked, hooded, stood at the portal, now within. They had entered silently. None of us had noticed them, lest it was the stranger.

I think he had noticed.

"So," said the stranger to the two newcomers. "You have found me."

Neither of the newcomers spoke, for their kind is efficient. They do quietly, and swiftly, what they have come to do. In such situations speaking is unnecessary, and sometimes dangerous, as it costs time. A moment of indulgence, of clever vanity, can cost one one's life. There are caste codes pertaining to such matters.

This was not a typical hunt, I gathered, in which the tunic is worn openly, the sign emblazoned publicly upon the brow, the prey helpless, cornered, as vulnerable as a vulo.

The cloaks parted and two crossbows, together, the quarrels set, were smoothly, swiftly raised.

At the same moment, the stranger bent down, seized up the small table, and flung it upward, and two quarrels splintered halfway through the wood. The stranger's hands disappeared within his sleeves, and each hand emerged, a dagger in hand. The newcomers cast down the bows and, together, reached within their robes to unsheathe blades, the common gladius, but the cloaks, hitherto so convenient in concealing their caste, their intent, their weapons, cost them an unencumbered draw, and the stranger was at them, table flung aside, daggers like striking osts, moving twice, and the newcomers half fell, half stumbled, outside the tavern, into the darkness, the street outside, probably neither realizing for a moment that they had been killed.

"Did you see?" asked the taverner's man. "They wore the dagger."

"Yes," said a fellow.

That had been obvious only when the hoods had been disarranged in the stranger's attack. When hunting, it is common for members of the black caste, the Caste of Assassins, to paint a black dagger on their forehead.

We waited within the tavern, and, in a few Ehn, the stranger returned.

He jerked the quarrels from the small table and cast them to the side. He then righted the small table and resumed his place, sitting cross-legged, behind it.

"They were Assassins," said the taverner, shuddering.

"What did you do with them?" asked a man.

"Thassa accepted them, as she would not accept me," said the man.

"Bolt the door," said the taverner, uneasily.

"Who are you," asked a man, "that those of the black caste would come secretly, silently, upon you?"

The stranger was silent.

He replaced the two daggers in the sleeve sheaths of his tunic.

"What is your story?" asked a man.

"It has to do with the ship of Tersites," he said.

The taverner turned to his man. "Bring bread, and meat, suls, and tur-pah, and fruit, for our guest."

"And paga," said the stranger.

"And paga!" said the taverner, admiringly.

We were patient, while the stranger fed, voraciously, as might have a starving sleen. When he had emptied his trencher twice, the taverner's man set a goblet of paga before him.

"Is this how you serve paga?" inquired the stranger. He now seemed a different man, one ruddy with vigor and power.

The taverner gestured to his man, and the man hurried away, going behind the serving table, passing through the gate to the kitchen. Shortly thereafter, we heard the bright flash of bells.

The girl was quite beautiful, but that is not unusual in a tavern, even one of cheap, reduced custom, in such a district of the port, so near the waterfront, yards from the southern piers, such as The Sea Sleen. Musicians are expensive, but girls are cheap. In a paga tavern one may rely on the quality of the girls, more so, I fear, than on the quality of the food, or paga. They are, of course, taken from the block with the satisfaction of customers in mind.

She knelt, appropriately.

With the back of her right hand she rubbed her eyes, removing a residue of sleep. Clearly she was uneasy, and did not understand the meaning of her summons, this late, the tavern muchly empty, the group gathered about the small table, the stranger, in rags and mariner's cap, before whom she knelt.

Under his gaze she widened her knees further.

She noticed the table.

She looked at it, frightened.

Clearly she was curious as to the condition of the table, the two ruptured, splintered gashes, the wood burst inward, as though struck by twin spikes, in its surface. She did not, of course, speak, nor inquire.

Her collar was a simple, flat metal band, light, close-fitting, with the lock, as is common, at the back of the neck. In this fashion, the front of the collar, if engraved, may be easily read.

"She is clothed," observed the stranger.

"Of course," said the taverner. "This is a high tavern."

Two of the men about laughed.

It was true that she was clothed, in a fashion. She wore the common camisk, a brief rectangle of cloth slipped over the head, belted with a double loop of binding fiber. The camisk was of thin, clinging, yellow rep-cloth. It was ragged and soiled. The tavern, you see, was not truly a high tavern. If she stood, it would fall midway to her thighs. It was closely belted, as required, a bow knot at the left hip, where it would be convenient to a right-handed master. The double loop is to allow for an adequate length, enough for a variety of ties.

In the high taverns, girls are often silked, often belled, sometimes jeweled. In low taverns they often serve nude, sometimes chained. The silks of tavern girls, of course, are quite unlike the silks of free women, which are cumbersome and concealing, even to veils. The silks of tavern girls are usually brief and diaphanous. There is no mistaking them for free women. Obviously masters have dressed them, to the extent they have been permitted clothing, for the pleasure of men. In the low taverns, the chaining, though perfectly secure, as all Gorean chaining, is largely for aesthetic purposes, the obduracy of chains, in their way, enhancing and setting off, by stark contrast, the softness and beauty in their clasp. For such girls, chained or not, and others like them, marked and collared, there is no escape, no more than for any other form of domestic animal.

"Reveal yourself," said the taverner.

Slowly, carefully, kneeling, the girl undid the knot at her left hip. She removed the binding fiber, drawing it loose, and then, slowly, carefully looping it, put it to her left, beside her, at her left knee. She then, after a moment's hesitation, lifted the camisk away, gracefully.

"Ah," said the stranger, pleased.

The girl shuddered and then folded the camisk. She worked carefully, head down. She put the folded camisk also to her left, but a bit behind her. She then lifted the looped binding fiber and placed it neatly on the camisk, centered. In this way, though to her left, her clothing, slight as it was, was behind her. It was not between her and her master's customers. Her beauty was thus placed forward, and prominently displayed. She was well bared. Similarly, the looped binding fiber, a bit behind her, on the folded camisk, was where a man might easily have lifted it, and wrapped it about her neck, several times, from behind; similarly it was about even with where her wrists would have been, if they had been crossed behind her, for binding. The square was approximately a foot Gorean. Sometimes, as a punishment, girls are forced to remain in place, standing on such a bit of cloth. It is not easy to do, after a time. A misstep or loss of balance must be reported to the master, and is commonly met with a stroke of the switch. The coils of the looped binding fiber, in their circularity and width, suggested the encirclement of a collar, one for a small throat, that of a female. And certainly they were reminiscent of the multiply stranded, temporary collars, tied shut, sometimes put on captures, particularly on stripped free women, the stripping and collaring serving to make clear their transient status, prior to an appropriate marking and collaring.

There is little in a paga tavern which does not have, in one way or another, its meaning.

The girl lifted her head.

"You are crying," said the stranger.

"Forgive me, Master," she said.

"She has not been long in the collar," said the taverner.

"She is barbarian, is she not?" asked the stranger.

"I fear so," said the taverner, "but she is not without interest, I trust."

"Paga, Master?" asked the girl.

"What is your name?" asked the stranger.

The girl cast a frightened look at the taverner. Then she said, "I have no name, Master. I have not been given a name. Forgive me, Master."

"Yes," said the stranger. "Her accent is clearly barbarian."

"Some men," said the taverner, "enjoy the accent. It makes their barbarian status clear, and thus gives their mastery, in its perfection, an interesting and exotic flavor. As they are barbarians, one's relationship to them is uncomplicated. One need not be concerned with their treatment. One may treat them as one wishes."

"One's relationship to collar meat, of any sort," said a fellow, he I took to be a mercenary, "is uncomplicated."

"Who is concerned with collar meat?" said another. "They are all the same, Gorean or barbarian. One will treat them as one wishes."

"I think," said another, "it is even more delicious to take a Gorean woman, one of those haughty she-sleen, so arrogant and lofty in their pride, so pretentiously superior, and strip them and teach them the collar."

"The terrified lips of either sort, pressed supplicatingly to your feet, are pleasant," said a fellow.

"Yes," said another.

"Would you like a name?" asked the stranger.

"That is at the pleasure of masters," whispered the girl. "It will be as they wish. I am theirs, to be named or not."

As such as the girl are domestic animals, they have no name in their own right, no more than other domestic animals, say, verr, tarsk, or kaiila. One such as she would commonly bring more than a verr or tarsk, but far less than a kaiila.

"Many barbarians learn to speak a fluent lovely Gorean," said the taverner.


Excerpted from Mariners of Gor by John Norman. Copyright © 2011 John Norman. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 15, 2012

    Hello everyone. This review is from the Nook version of the book

    Hello everyone. This review is from the Nook version of the book. First off, let me say that I am a long time John Norman fan. Very much at home in the other worldly adventures of Tarl Cabot, et. al, on the World Of Gor. This review also assumes that you have read Swordsmen of Gor (the book before this one). One presumes this is a trilogy but I could be wrong. Norman doesn't give too many hints on where his plot or characters are going from book to book unless it is obvious. The grand adventure starts in Swordsmen where the gigantic ship of Tersites is built; Tarl is compelled to "play nice" with the Pani (and lead them as Commander, of course) and off they go. Mariners is told from two 1st persons point of view, I believe. The main protagonist is Callias from Cos and he play a rather large role in the book. His observations of Tarl Cabot and Tarl's actions and demeanor are pretty cool. "For such an officer one would die" is mentioned a couple of times. Seremides is quite the villain in this book and gets a small come-uppance but you want to definitely get the book to read those passages. The ship sails and takes quite a beating from various forces, internal and external. The book is quite good. It took me a while to figure out who the real villain was in the book so now I'm definitely chomping at the bit for number 31! You would think a story told almost completely on a ship at sea would get boring - nope. John Norman does a good job keeping the action going except, of course, when he goes into his "slave girls are great" spiel. The end of the book is somewhat mellow; very anti-climatic in my opinion. However,one realizes that there has to be another story (called at this time "Conspirators of Gor") so one is inclined to let ending be and get ready for another ride in book 31. Again, I enjoyed reading this book; I think you will too

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2013


    Name- Ruelosa but you can call me Rue or Losa.<p>
    Species- werewolf<p>
    Hair color- Black with small and barly noticable red strecks.<p>
    Eyecolor- miay blue.<p>
    Furcolor- black.<p>
    Werewolf eye color- frost blue.<p>
    Looks- freckles, a really old black dress thats ripped at the botom. Werewolf- small, can control behavior just don't scare her.<p>
    Personality- shy, caring and very helpful.<p>
    Fears- fire (don't come by her when in werewolf form whith fire), and full moons.<p>
    Likes- werewolf- belly rubes, grass and playing fetch.<p>
    Human- stuff, shiny things.<p>
    Crush- yes.<p>
    Relationship- singale.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2013

    Richie's Bio, full of Epicness and stuff.

    Name: Richard "Crazey-Wazey-Wittle-Magey" Falcon, or Richie. <br>
    Appears: Tall, thin, ("willowy"), has long red hair tied into a ponytail that winds down his back. Blue eyes. Wears a blue 'old fasioned' jacket that he found while in the Fey Realm, and matching trousers. <br>
    Personality Traits: Sarcastic, Eccentric, Enjoys showing up random places and performing 'Random Acts of Unessecary Kindness' (RAUK's) <br>
    Alignment: Chaotic Good. He does what he thinks is right, and d<_>amn the rules!!! <br>
    Abilities: Is a Mage, or a Wizard, or a Sorcerer, or a.. whatever term you want to use. He casts magic. He uses a staff as his focus, but can cast spells without it. <br>
    Other: Ain't no party like a fairyland party! <br>
    Other others: Did I mention he's eccentric? <br>
    Other other others: THE END. Go read someone elses bio. <p>
    . <p>
    . <p>
    . <p>
    . <p>
    . <p>
    . <p>
    . <p>
    . <p>
    . <p>
    What's that? You're still here? Lol, wow. <p>
    Fine. Some advice: <p>
    Always be yourself. <p>
    Unless you can be Batman. <p>

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2013

    Checkers bio

    Name:checkers (aka checks) nickname:checks,but likes to just be called checkers.* age:19,quite young for a dragon.* species:dragon* looks: a pitch black dragon with white feet,stripes and underbelly. Blue eyes.* other:friendly towards mankind * gender:girl

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2013


    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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