THE MAD KING BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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Barney Custer of Beatrice, Nebraska is visiting the kingdom of Lutha, a fictional European country in the Balkans. While there he is mistaken for the escaped Leopold the mad king of Lutha. Leopold has been imprisoned unjustly by his uncle Peter who wants to eliminate Leopold and rule the country. Barney gets into adventures were he must impersonate the king. He also falls in love with the king’s betrothed princess Emma. He defeats the evil schemes of Peter but is forced to flee the country. It is discovered that Barney’s mother was the runaway princess and he is in fact of royal blood. Also Leopold discovers the love between him and Emma so Barney must flee the country as his father did but without a princess.

The second part of the book finds Lutha being threatened by Austria at the start of the First World War. Barney returns to help his friend and once again is involved with the intrigue of Lutha. Forced again to impersonate the king in order to free the country from the Austrians. The end finds him crowned as the true king and Emma as his queen.

I really enjoy these stories that Burroughs set in these fictional little European countries. They have a sort of goofy charm with their convoluted plots and fairy tale romance. This one was probably his best for one of these stories.

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