Tara the daughter of John Carter and Dejah Thoris is in a tantrum. She has been angered by Gahan the Jed of Gathol at her fathers party and decides to take a ride in her flyer. Soon after she takes off a large storm appears and blows her flyer to an unknown land. The land is ruled by the Kaldanes. The Kaldanes are heads without bodies. They use the Rykors which are bodies without heads in a symbiotic relationship.
Gahan meanwhile decides to set out after Tara. He dresses as a landless soldier of fortune and the storm that took Tara also deposits him in their land. After rescuing Tara with the help of Ghek the three get captured by the city of Manator. Tara like the beautiful women in all Burrough’s books has to put up with the unwanted attentions of the Jeddak of Manator.
Gahan is sentenced to fight in the city’s version of Jetan or Martian chess. Only this game of Jetan is played with real people in fights to the death. Gahan eventually escapes and rescues Tara from marriage and wins the fair Tara’s love.
The Fifth book in the Martian series is another exciting adventure. It has the trademark weird creatures and mysterious, exotic civilizations. I was a bit confused by Tara not recognizing Gahan when she just met him. Seemed just a little too farfetched to suspend disbelief. Otherwise it was a real exciting story.
Burroughs at the end included instructions to play Jetan. I thought it sounded like a fun game. Wikipedia has that a prisoner in Leavenworth in 1922 made a set and the game proved popular with the inmates.