Former Earthman Tarl Cabot is now a powerful Tarnsman of the brutal and caste-bound planet of Gor, also known as Counter Earth. He embarks on an adventure in the dangerous and mysterious wilderness of Gor, pitting his warrior’s skills against treacherous outlaws, bandits, and fighters. Three different women are working to bring change to Tarl’s far-from-peaceful life on Gor: Talena, his onetime queen and first love; Elizabeth, his brave fighting partner; and the Amazonian Verna, chief of the fierce and wild panther women. As Tarl journeys through the wilderness, the fates of these three remarkable women will finally be decided. Rediscover this brilliantly imagined world where men are masters and women live to serve their every desire. Marauders of Gor is the 9th book in the Gorean Saga, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
About 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 Invasions. The 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 (www.gorchronicles.com), 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.
Read an Excerpt
Marauders of Gor
The Gorean Saga: Book 9
By John Norman
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1975 John Norman
All rights reserved.
I sat alone in the great hall, in the darkness, in the Captain's Chair.
The walls of stone, some five feet in thickness, formed of large blocks, loomed about me. Before me, over the long, heavy table behind which I sat, I could see the large tiles of the hall floor. The table was now dark, and bare. No longer was it set with festive yellow and scarlet cloths, woven in distant Tor; no longer did it bear the freight of plates of silver from the mines of Tharna, nor of cunningly wrought goblets of gold from the smithies of luxurious Turia, Ar of the south. It was long since I had tasted the fiery paga of the SaTarna fields north of the Vosk. Now, even the wines from the vineyards of Ar seemed bitter to me.
I looked up, at the narrow apertures in the wall to my right. Through them I could see certain of the stars of Gor, in the tarn-black sky.
The hall was dark. No longer did the several torches, bristling and tarred, burn in the iron rings at the wall. The hall was silent. No musicians played; no cup companions laughed and drank, lifting their goblets; on the broad, flat tiles before me, under the torches, barefoot, collared, in scarlet silks, bells at their wrists and ankles, there danced no slave girls.
The hall was large, and empty and silent. I sat alone.
Seldom did I have my chair carried from the hall. I remained much in this place.
I heard footsteps approaching. I did not turn my head. It caused me pain to do so.
"Captain," I heard.
It was Luma, the chief scribe of my house, in her blue robe and sandals. Her hair was blond and straight, tied behind her head with a ribbon of blue wool, from the bounding Hurt, dyed in the blood of the Vosk sorp. She was a scrawny girl, not attractive, but with deep eyes, blue; and she was a superb scribe, in her accounting swift, incisive, accurate, brilliant; once she had been a paga slave, though a poor one; I had saved her from Surbus, a captain, who had purchased her to slay her, she not having served him to his satisfaction in the alcoves of the tavern; he would have cast her, bound, to the swift, silken urts in the canals. I had dealt Surbus his death blow, but, before he had died, I had, on the urging of the woman, she moved to pity, carried him to the roof of the tavern, that he might, before his eyes closed, look once more upon the sea. He was a pirate, and a cutthroat, but he was not unhappy in his death; he had died by the sword, which would have been his choice, and before he had died he had looked again upon gleaming Thassa; it is called the death of blood and the sea; he died not unhappy; men of Port Kar do not care to die in their beds, weak, lingering, at the mercy of tiny foes that cannot see; they live often by violence and desire that they shall similarly perish; to die by the sword is regarded as the right, and honor, of he who lives by it.
"Captain," said the woman, standing back, to one side of the chair.
After the death of Surbus, the woman had been mine. I had won her from him by sword right. I had, of course, as she had expected, put her in my collar, and kept her slave. To my astonishment, however, by the laws of Port Kar, the ships, properties and chattels of Surbus, he having been vanquished in fair combat and permitted the death of blood and sea, became mine; his men stood ready to obey me; his ships became mine to command; his hall became my hall, his riches mine, his slaves mine. It was thus that I had become a captain in Port Kar, jewel of gleaming Thassa.
"I have the accounts for your inspection," said Luma.
Luma no longer wore her collar. After the victory of the 25th of Se'Kara, over the fleets of Tyros and Cos, I had freed her. She had much increased my fortunes. Freed, she took payment, but not as much as her services, I knew, warranted. Few scribes, I expected, were so skilled in the supervision and management of complex affairs as this slight, unattractive, brilliant girl. Other captains, other merchants, seeing the waxing of my fortunes, and understanding the commercial complexities involved, had offered this scribe considerable emoluments to join their service. She, however, had refused to do so. I expect she was pleased at the authority, and the trust and freedom, which I accorded her. Too, perhaps, she had grown fond of the house of Bosk.
"I do not wish to see the accounts," I told her.
"The Venna and Tela have arrived from Scagnar," she said, "with full cargoes of the fur of sea sleen. My information indicates that highest prices currently for such products are being paid in Asperiche."
"Very well," I said, "give the men time for their pleasures, eight days, and have the cargoes transferred to one of my round ships, whichever can be most swiftly fitted, and embark them for Asperiche, the Venna and Tela as convoy."
"Yes, Captain," said Luma.
"Go now," I said. "I do not wish to see the accounts."
"Yes, Captain," she said.
At the door, she stopped. "Does the captain wish food or drink?" she asked.
"No," I told her.
"Thurnock," she said, "would be pleased should you play with him a game of Kaissa."
I smiled. Huge, yellow-haired Thurnock, he of the peasants, master of the great bow, wished to play Kaissa with me. He knew himself no match for me in this game.
"Thank Thurnock for me," said I, "but I do not wish to play."
I had not played Kaissa since my return from the northern forests.
Thurnock was a good man, a kind man. The yellow-haired giant meant well.
"The accounts," said Luma, "are excellent. Your enterprises are prospering. You are much richer."
"Go," said I, "Scribe. Go, Luma."
I sat alone in the darkness. I did not wish to be disturbed.
I looked about the hall, at the great walls of stone, the long table, the tiles, the narrow apertures through which I could glimpse the far stars, burning in the scape of the night.
I was rich. So Luma said, so I knew. I smiled bitterly. There were few men as helpless, as impoverished as I. It was true that the fortunes of the house of Bosk had waxed mightily. I supposed there were few merchants in known Gor whose houses were as rich, as powerful, as mine. Doubtless I was the envy of men who did not know me, Bosk, the recluse, who had returned crippled from the northern forests.
I was rich. But I was poor, because I could not move the left side of my body.
Wounds had I at the shore of Thassa, high on the coast, at the edge of the forests, when one night I had, in a stockade of enemies, commanded by Sarus of Tyros, chosen to recollect my honor.
Never could I regain my honor, but I had recollected it. And never had I forgotten it.
Once I had been Tarl Cabot, in the songs called Tarl of Bristol. I recalled that I, or what had once been I, had fought at the siege of Ar. That young man with fiery hair, laughing, innocent, seemed far from me now, this huddled mass, half paralyzed, bitter, like a maimed larl, sitting alone in a captain's chair, in a great darkened hall. My hair was no longer now the same. The sea, the wind and the salt, and, I suppose, the changes in my body, as I had matured, and learned with bitterness the nature of the world, and myself, and men, had changed it. It was now, I thought, not much different from that of other men, as I had learned, too, that I was not much different, either, from others. It had turned lighter now, and more straw colored. Tarl Cabot was gone. He had fought in the siege of Ar. One could still hear the songs. He had restored Lara, Tatrix of Tharna, to her throne. He had entered the Sardar and was one of the few men who knew the true nature of Priest-Kings, those remote and extraordinary beings who controlled the world of Gor. He had been instrumental in the Nest War, and had earned the friendship and gratitude of the Priest-King, Misk, glorious, gentle Misk. "There is Nest Trust between us," Misk had told him. I recalled that once I, in the palms of my hands, had felt the delicate touch of the antennae of that golden creature. "Yes, there is Nest Trust between us," Tarl Cabot had told him. And he had gone to the Land of the Wagon Peoples, to the Plains of Turia, and had obtained there the last egg of Priest-Kings and had returned it, safe, to the Sardar. He had well served Priest-Kings, had Tarl Cabot, that young, brave, distant man, so fine, so proud, so much of the warriors. And he had gone, too, to Ar, and there had defeated the schemes of Cernus and the hideous aliens, the Others, intent upon the conquest of Gor, and then of Earth. He had well served Priest-Kings, that young man. And then he had ventured to the delta of the Vosk, to make his way through it, to make contact with Samos of Port Kar, agent of Priest-Kings, to continue in their service. But in the delta of the Vosk he had lost his honor. He had betrayed his codes. There, merely to save his miserable life, he had chosen ignominious slavery to the freedom of honorable death. He had sullied the sword, the honor, which he had pledged to Ko-ro-ba's Home Stone. By that act he had cut himself away from his codes, his vows. For such an act there was no atonement, even to the throwing of one's body upon one's own sword. It was in that moment of his surrender to his cowardice that Tarl Cabot had gone, and, in his place, knelt a slave contemptuously named Bosk, for a great, shambling oxlike creature of the plains of Gor.
But this Bosk, forcing his mistress, the beautiful Telima, to grant him his freedom, had come to Port Kar, bringing her with him as his slave, and had there, after many adventures, earned riches and fame, and the title even of Admiral of Port Kar. He stood high in the Council of Captains. And was it not he who had been victor on the 25th of Se'Kara, in the great engagement of the fleets of Port Kar and Cos and Tyros? He had come to love Telima, and had freed her, but she, when he had learned the location of his former Free Companion, Talena, once daughter of Marlenus of Ar, and resolved to free her from slavery, had left him, in the fury of a Gorean female, and had returned to the rence marshes, her home in the Vosk's vast delta.
A true Gorean, he knew, would have gone after her, and brought her back in slave bracelets and a collar. But he, in his weakness, had wept, and let her go.
Doubtless she despised him now in the marshes.
And so, Tarl Cabot gone, Bosk, Merchant of Port Kar, had gone to the northern forests, to free Talena, once his Free Companion.
There he had encountered Marlenus of Ar, Ubar of Ar, Ubar of Ubars. He, though only of the Merchants, had saved Marlenus of Ar from the degradation of slavery. That one such as he had been of service to the great Marlenus of Ar doubtless was tantamount to insult. But Marlenus had been freed. Earlier he had disowned his daughter, Talena, for she had sued for her freedom, a slave's act. His honor had been kept. That of Tarl Cabot could not be recovered.
But I recalled that I had, in the stockade of Tyros, recollected the matter of honor. I had entered the stockade alone, not expecting to survive. It was not that I was the friend of Marlenus of Ar, or his ally. It was rather that I had, as a warrior, or one once of such a caste, set myself the task of his liberation.
I had accomplished this task. And, in the night, under the stars, I had recollected a never-forgotten honor.
But wounds had I to show for this act, and a body heavy with pain, whose left side I could not move.
I had recollected my honor, but it had won for me only the chair of a cripple. To be sure, carved in wood, high on the chair, was the helmet with crest of sleen fur, the mark of the captain, but I could not rise from the chair.
My own body, and its weakness, held me, as chains could not.
Proud and mighty as the chair might be, it was the throne only of the maimed remains of a man.
I was rich!
I gazed into the darkness of the hall.
Samos of Port Kar had purchased Talena, as a mere slave, from two panther girls, obtaining her with ease in this manner while I had risked my life in the forest.
But I had recollected my honor. But little good had it done me. Was honor not a sham, a fraud, an invention of clever men to manipulate their less wily brethren? Why had I not returned to Port Kar and left Marlenus to his fate, to slavery, and doubtless, eventually, to a slave's death, broken and helpless, under the lashes of overseers in the quarries of Tyros?
I sat in the darkness and wondered on honor, and courage. If they were shams, I thought them most precious shams. How else could we tell ourselves from urts and sleen? What distinguishes us from such beasts? The ability to multiply and subtract, to tell lies, to make knives? No, I think particularly it is the sense of honor, and the will to hold one's ground.
But I had no right to such thoughts, for I had surrendered my honor, my courage, in the delta of the Vosk. I had behaved as might have any animal, not a man.
I could not recover my honor, but I could, and did upon one occasion, recollect it, in a stockade at the shore of Thassa, at the edge of the northern forests.
I grew cold in the blankets. I had become petulant, bitter, petty, as an invalid, frustrated and furious at his own weakness, does.
But when I, half paralyzed and crippled, had left the shore of Thassa I had left behind me a beacon, a mighty beacon formed from the logs of the stockade of Sarus, and it had blazed behind me, visible for more than fifty pasangs at sea.
I did not know why I had set the beacon, but I had done so.
It had burned, long and fiery in the Gorean night, on the stones of the beach, and then, in the morning it would have been ashes, and the winds and rains would have scattered them, and there would be little left, save the stones, the sand and the prints of the feet of sea birds, tiny, like the thief's brand, in the sand. But it would once have burned, and that was fixed, undeniable, a part of what had been, that it had burned; nothing could change that, not the eternities of time, not the will of Priest-Kings, the machinations of Others, the willfulness and hatred of men; nothing could change that it had been, that once on the beach, there, a beacon had burned.
I wondered how men should live. In my chair I had thought long on such matters.
I knew only that I did not know the answer to this question. Yet it is an important question, is it not? Many wise men give wise answers to this question, and yet they do not agree among themselves.
Only the simple, the fools, the unreflective, the ignorant, know the answer to this question.
Perhaps to a question this profound the answer cannot be known. Perhaps it is a question too deep to be answered. Yet we do know there are false answers to such a question. This suggests that there may be a true answer, for how can there be falsity without truth?
One thing seems clear to me, that a morality which produces guilt and self-torture, which results in anxiety and agony, which shortens life spans, cannot be the answer.
Many of the competitive moralities of Earth are thus mistaken.
But what is not mistaken?
The Goreans have very different notions of morality from those of Earth.
Yet who is to say who is the more correct?
I envy sometimes the simplicities of those of Earth, and those of Gor, who, creatures of their conditioning, are untroubled by such matters, but I would not be as either of them. If either should be correct it is for them no more than a lucky coincidence. They would have fallen into truth, but to take truth for granted is not to know it. Truth not won is not possessed. We are not entitled to truths for which we have not fought.
Do we not learn to live by doing, as we learn to speak by speaking, to paint by painting, to build by building?
Those who know best how to live, sometimes it seems to me, are those least likely to be articulate in such skills. It is not that they have not learned but, having learned, they find they cannot tell what they know, for only words can be told, and what is learned in living is more than words, other than words, beyond words. We can say, "This building is beautiful," but we do not learn the beauty of the building from the words; the building it is which teaches us its beauty; and how can one speak the beauty of the building, as it is? Does one say that it has so many pillars, that it has a roof of a certain type, and such? Can one simply say, "The building is beautiful"? Yes, one can say that but what one learns when one sees the beauty of the building cannot be spoken; it is not words; it is the building's beauty.
Excerpted from Marauders of Gor by John Norman. Copyright © 1975 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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
All GOR novels ask us to review the way we think about ourselves and the roles we play in our society. Are they healthy roles? Are they fraudulent? What of our future? John Norman was WAY ahead of his time with these!