I was, at first, excited that Burroughs had returned to the original hero of the Mars (or Barsoom) stories: John Carter.

But after writing so many other Barsoom books in between that focused on other heroes (including Carter’s son), Carter somehow felt like just one more generic, noble minded warrior. What had made him unique seemed to have dissipated. The sense of wonder… even the powers he gained from Mars’ lesser gravity. In fact, Burroughs often seemed to forget that Carter, on that planet, had super strength and the ability to leap great heights and distances. The latter comes up once, but was otherwise routinely ignored, even when it would have obviously have been useful.

What he did do, with moderate success, was illuminate another, more urban aspect of his milieu. Carter, in disguise, wanders the dense and somewhat nefarious city of Zodanga, mixing with assassin guilds and mad scientists. In fact, parts reminded me of a less grimy, tongue-in-cheek Lankhmar.