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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early books are the best in Gor Series
I read the Gor series as a boy in the 70's and early 80's. IMHO the series is most appealing to teenage boys. I recently pulled "Assassins of Gor" off the shelf one night while bored, and re-read it. I was shocked that there was no real sex, and only a handful of pages of philosophy and psychology that I had to skip over. The book was really excellent, although in a...
Published on November 24, 2003 by silliman89

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fun read but...
Assassin of Gor, the third Gor book that I have read, is clearly inferior to the first two. The storytelling skills so evident in Priest-Kings of Gor and Nomads of Gor are as strongly displayed as ever but it suffers from flaws not present in the other two. Firstly, John Norman has become self-indulgent. He goes into far too much detail on the training and discipline...
Published on September 18, 2000


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early books are the best in Gor Series, November 24, 2003
This review is from: Assassin of Gor (Paperback)
I read the Gor series as a boy in the 70's and early 80's. IMHO the series is most appealing to teenage boys. I recently pulled "Assassins of Gor" off the shelf one night while bored, and re-read it. I was shocked that there was no real sex, and only a handful of pages of philosophy and psychology that I had to skip over. The book was really excellent, although in a straight forward, uncomplicated sort of way. These are escapist novels, richly detailed, which immerse you in an exotic world, not real thinkers. My enduring memories were of the later books in the series, which were almost unreadable because whole chapters were devoted to philosophy and psychology.
I am not offended by the idea that it is natural and enjoyable for women to be submissive to men. Although I recognize it as wish fulfillment fantasy, still I consider it harmless, especially in such an obviously fictitious setting. I even found it mildly interesting the first time it was mentioned. It is the umpteenth repetition that I find boring. I just turn those pages, skipping ahead to the next action sequence. Speaking of wish fulfillment, I wish someone would edit the series, and re-publish it without these parts. Maybe Eric Flint could do it? He likes to edit, according to his afterword to "1633" and he's good at it. Of course, if you take the sex out of Gor you get Barsoom, and that story has already been written.
I looked on Amazon to see if there was anything new going on with the series, and there was. It is being reprinted, starting at the beginning, and at least 2 new books seem to be published, or at least in the works. I was disappointed though that Amazon didn't have the whole series listed under one easy to find heading. I guess there are, after all, millions of books and only so many Amazon employees. So I'm listing the series, in order, along with some brief info. Some of these books I haven't read, as noted.
1.) Tarnsman of Gor - 1966. Earthman, Tarl Cabot, goes to another planet, hidden on the opposite side of our sun, and becomes a master swordsman and Warrior. This is the book that is most like "Princess of Mars" by Edgar Rice Burroughs, which I highly recommend. Note - the 1966 copyright is held by John Lange, the author's real name.
2.) Outlaw... - 1967. Tarl Cabot returns to Gor, to find he's been outlawed.
3.) Priest-Kings... - 1968. Tarl Cabot goes to lair of Priest-Kings to clear his name.
4.) Nomads... - 1969. Tarl Cabot goes to Southern Plains, and meets Mongol type nomads.
5.) Assassin... - 1970. Tarl Cabot returns to Ar, greatest city-state on Gor. Note - this is the first copy I have by Del Rey books, and it has cover art by Boris. I may not like reading about the Gorean philosophy on sexual roles for men and women, but I can't get enough of Boris' artwork depicting it.
6.) Raiders... - 1971. Tarl Cabot goes to Port Kar, pirate capitol of scum and villainy, and learns the meaning of shame. More Boris art on the cover of the Del Rey edition.
7.) Captive... - 1972. A new character, Elinor Brinton, is captured on Earth and becomes a slave girl on Gor. The first time this is done, it may be slightly creative and a little interesting, but it is a radical departure from the earlier books and I consider it to be the beginning of the end. At least Tarl Cabot has a few pages at the end, to tie this book into the rest of the series. This is also the last book published by Ballantine books, which I think is significant in the content and direction of the rest of the series.
8.) Hunters... - 1974. Tarl Cabot goes to the Northern Forest and meets amazon type women. This seems to be the first time there was a break in John Norman's writing, undoubtedly related to his switch to Daw books as a publisher.
9.) Marauders... - 1975. Tarl Cabot goes to the land of the Norsemen and meets Viking type Marauders.
10.) Tribesmen... - 1976. Tarl Cabot goes to the Tahari desert.
11.) Slave Girl... - 1977. Earth girl Judy Thornton enslaved on Gor. Again. No Tarl Cabot at all.
12.) Beasts... - 1978. Tarl Cabot goes to the Arctic ice pack and meets Eskimo type people.
13.) Explorers... - 1979. Tarl Cabot goes to the equatorial rain forests.
14.) Fighting Slave... - 1980. Earthman Jason Marshall is enslaved and forced to fight in a pit on Gor.
15.) Rogue... - 1981. Jason Marshall wanders free on Gor.
16.) Guardsman... - 1981. Jason Marshall earns a homeland.
17.) Savages... - 1982. Tarl Cabot goes to the great plains and meets American Indian type savages. Note - If you like this, John Norman also wrote "Ghost Dance" in 1970, a similar type story about real American Indians. I'm impressed that he kept the writing schedule he did on the Gor novels, and still wrote other books on the side. He also wrote "Time Slave" in 1975.
18.) Blood Brothers... - 1982. Savages and Blood Brothers are a two-part set. Just recently read this conclusion to Savages. Brings closure to Ubar of the Skies.
19.) Kajira... - unread. Another Slave girl story.
20.) Players... - 1984. Tarl Cabot joins the Carnival. Cos goes to war with Ar.
21.) Mercenaries... - 1985. Tarl Cabot returns to Ar again to try to save it.
22.) Dancer... - unread. Another Slave Girl novel? This is where I stopped even looking in the bookstore.
23.) Vagabonds... - unread.
24.) Magicians... - 1988, unread.
25.) Witness... - 2002, unread. I read on amazon that this is a story about Marlenus with amnesia, told by a slave girl.
26.) Prize... - unread. This is not yet published.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Norman's epic novel in the Tarl Cabot/Gor series, February 27, 2003
By 
Amazon Customer (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (COMMUNITY FORUM 04)   
This review is from: Assassin of Gor (Paperback)
Clearly "Nomads of Gor" is the most popular of the Gor novels by John Norman, but I would still argue that "Assassin of Gor" is far and away the most ambitious in the series. For that reason, I consider it the best of the Chronicles of Counter-Earth series. Certainly Norman never tried anything of this scope, either in terms of the size or the complexity of the novel, and there is a sense in which this is the last Gor book in which Tarl Cabot is more an Earthman on Gor than a true Gorean. "Assassin of Gor" begins with the title character, Kuurus, being hired to avenge the assassination of Tarl Cabot, a warrior of Ko-ro-ba. The trail leads to Glorious Ar where he finds political intrigue in the House of Cernus, agents of the Priest-Kings, spaceships arriving from Earth with new female captives, a dramatic auction of pleasure slaves, a thrilling tarn race, a climatic battle of gladiators, and a couple of intriguing games of Kaissa (the Gorean version of chess).
As with the best of Norman's books, "Assassin of Gor" is full of vivid characters. Elizabeth Caldwell is back as Cabot's chief ally in finding out why the House of Cernus wants him dead and how they are involved in the endeavors of the Others, the galactic foes of the Priest-Kings. There is also the return of a major character from earlier in the series and a brief flashback involving the fate of the last egg of the Priest-Kings. However, the depth of the book comes out in terms of the new characters, including Mip the Tarn Keeper, Sura the house slave, the new slave girls Phyllis and Virginia, the young warriors Relius and Ho-Sarl, Scormus the young Kaissa champion and Qualius the blind player, and Hup the Fool (my favorite). We also meet a major supporting character for future Gor novels, Samos the slaver of Port Kar.
The emphasis is still on the action and adventure in "Assassin of Gor" more than the Gorean philosophy that would come to dominate the later volumes in the series. Even by this fifth book in the series the principle that only by totally submitting to a master could a woman find true freedom, pleasure, etc., was pretty clear. I never really wanted a woman chained to my sleeping furs, so I tended to ignore those elements, especially as they became a repetitious mantra. For me the best Gor books were those that took the tradition of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars books with John Carter and upped the ante on the action. That is why "Assassin of Gor" is the best of the lot and why Norman never really tried to do anything this monumental ever again. In fact, the rest of the series would always suffer in my mind because of how far short the remaining volumes fell of the plateau of "Nomads" and "Assassin."
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fun read but..., September 18, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Assassin of Gor (Paperback)
Assassin of Gor, the third Gor book that I have read, is clearly inferior to the first two. The storytelling skills so evident in Priest-Kings of Gor and Nomads of Gor are as strongly displayed as ever but it suffers from flaws not present in the other two. Firstly, John Norman has become self-indulgent. He goes into far too much detail on the training and discipline of slaves. To some extent this is necessitated by the plot, a large portion of which takes place in the House of Cernus, the largest slave trader in the city of Ar (think ancient Rome). Nevertheless, it's more detail than I care to read. The counter-argument is that the detail adds to verisimilitude but if you choose this justification, then how do you account for the book's other major flaw: scenes that are so absurdly over-the-top as to be (unintentionally) laughable. Specifically, the slave auction in Chapter 19, the arena battle in Chapter 21, and the tarn race in Chapter 22 defy credulity. Also, the humor which contributed so much to Nomads is missing, but this is a minor quibble. One other point of note: this is the first story to show one of the Others, who were just hinted at in Nomads and become so prominent later in the series from what I have read on this website. The Other is kept offstage for most of the book but is seen briefly and at a distance near the end. On the whole I have to say that this was a fun read but it's not as good as Priest-Kings or Nomads.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early books are the best in Gor Series, November 24, 2003
I read the Gor series as a boy in the 70's and early 80's. IMHO the series is most appealing to teenage boys. I recently pulled "Assassins of Gor" off the shelf one night while bored, and re-read it. I was shocked that there was no real sex, and only a handful of pages of philosophy and psychology that I had to skip over. The book was really excellent, although in a straight forward, uncomplicated sort of way. These are escapist novels, richly detailed, which immerse you in an exotic world, not real thinkers. My enduring memories were of the later books in the series, which were almost unreadable because whole chapters were devoted to philosophy and psychology.
I am not offended by the idea that it is natural and enjoyable for women to be submissive to men. Although I recognize it as wish fulfillment fantasy, still I consider it harmless, especially in such an obviously fictitious setting. I even found it mildly interesting the first time it was mentioned. It is the umpteenth repetition that I find boring. I just turn those pages, skipping ahead to the next action sequence. Speaking of wish fulfillment, I wish someone would edit the series, and re-publish it without these parts. Maybe Eric Flint could do it? He likes to edit, according to his afterword to "1633" and he's good at it. Of course, if you take the sex out of Gor you get Barsoom, and that story has already been written.

I looked on Amazon to see if there was anything new going on with the series, and there was. It is being reprinted, starting at the beginning, and at least 2 new books seem to be published, or at least in the works. I was disappointed though that Amazon didn't have the whole series listed under one easy to find heading. I guess there are, after all, millions of books and only so many Amazon employees. So I'm listing the series, in order, along with some brief info. Some of these books I haven't read, as noted.

1.) Tarnsman of Gor - 1966. Earthman, Tarl Cabot, goes to another planet, hidden on the opposite side of our sun, and becomes a master swordsman and Warrior. This is the book that is most like "Princess of Mars" by Edgar Rice Burroughs, which I highly recommend. Note - the 1966 copyright is held by John Lange, the author's real name.

2.) Outlaw... - 1967. Tarl Cabot returns to Gor, to find he's been outlawed.

3.) Priest-Kings... - 1968. Tarl Cabot goes to lair of Priest-Kings to clear his name.

4.) Nomads... - 1969. Tarl Cabot goes to Southern Plains, and meets Mongol type nomads.

5.) Assassin... - 1970. Tarl Cabot returns to Ar, greatest city-state on Gor. Note - this is the first copy I have by Del Rey books, and it has cover art by Boris. I may not like reading about the Gorean philosophy on sexual roles for men and women, but I can't get enough of Boris' artwork depicting it.

6.) Raiders... - 1971. Tarl Cabot goes to Port Kar, pirate capitol of scum and villainy, and learns the meaning of shame. More Boris art on the cover of the Del Rey edition.

7.) Captive... - 1972. A new character, Elinor Brinton, is captured on Earth and becomes a slave girl on Gor. The first time this is done, it may be slightly creative and a little interesting, but it is a radical departure from the earlier books and I consider it to be the beginning of the end. At least Tarl Cabot has a few pages at the end, to tie this book into the rest of the series. This is also the last book published by Ballantine books, which I think is significant in the content and direction of the rest of the series.

8.) Hunters... - 1974. Tarl Cabot goes to the Northern Forest and meets amazon type women. This seems to be the first time there was a break in John Norman's writing, undoubtedly related to his switch to Daw books as a publisher.

9.) Marauders... - 1975. Tarl Cabot goes to the land of the Norsemen and meets Viking type Marauders.

10.) Tribesmen... - 1976. Tarl Cabot goes to the Tahari desert.

11.) Slave Girl... - 1977. Earth girl Judy Thornton enslaved on Gor. Again. No Tarl Cabot at all.

12.) Beasts... - 1978. Tarl Cabot goes to the Arctic ice pack and meets Eskimo type people.

13.) Explorers... - 1979. Tarl Cabot goes to the equatorial rain forests.

14.) Fighting Slave... - 1980. Earthman Jason Marshall is enslaved and forced to fight in a pit on Gor.

15.) Rogue... - 1981. Jason Marshall wanders free on Gor.

16.) Guardsman... - 1981. Jason Marshall earns a homeland.

17.) Savages... - 1982. Tarl Cabot goes to the great plains and meets American Indian type savages. Note - If you like this, John Norman also wrote "Ghost Dance" in 1970, a similar type story about real American Indians. I'm impressed that he kept the writing schedule he did on the Gor novels, and still wrote other books on the side. He also wrote "Time Slave" in 1975.

18.) Blood Brothers... - 1982. Savages and Blood Brothers are a two-part set. Just recently read this conclusion to Savages. Brings closure to Ubar of the Skies.

19.) Kajira... - unread. Another Slave girl story.

20.) Players... - 1984. Tarl Cabot joins the Carnival. Cos goes to war with Ar.

21.) Mercenaries... - 1985. Tarl Cabot returns to Ar again to try to save it.

22.) Dancer... - unread. Another Slave Girl novel? This is where I stopped even looking in the bookstore.

23.) Vagabonds... - unread.

24.) Magicians... - 1988, unread.

25.) Witness... - 2002, unread. I read on amazon that this is a story about Marlenus with amnesia, told by a slave girl.

26.) Prize... - unread. This is not yet published.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Norman's epic novel in the Gor/Counter-Earth series, July 30, 2004
By 
Amazon Customer (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (COMMUNITY FORUM 04)   
Clearly "Nomads of Gor" is the most popular of the Gor novels by John Norman, but I would still argue that "Assassin of Gor" is far and away the most ambitious in the series. For that reason, I consider it the best of the Chronicles of Counter-Earth series. Certainly Norman never tried anything of this scope, either in terms of the size or the complexity of the novel, and there is a sense in which this is the last Gor book in which Tarl Cabot is more an Earthman on Gor than a true Gorean. "Assassin of Gor" begins with the title character, Kuurus, being hired to avenge the assassination of Tarl Cabot, a warrior of Ko-ro-ba. The trail leads to Glorious Ar where he finds political intrigue in the House of Cernus, agents of the Priest-Kings, spaceships arriving from Earth with new female captives, a dramatic auction of pleasure slaves, a thrilling tarn race, a climatic battle of gladiators, and a couple of intriguing games of Kaissa (the Gorean version of chess).

As with the best of Norman's books, "Assassin of Gor" is full of vivid characters. Elizabeth Caldwell is back as Cabot's chief ally in finding out why the House of Cernus wants him dead and how they are involved in the endeavors of the Others, the galactic foes of the Priest-Kings. There is also the return of a major character from earlier in the series and a brief flashback involving the fate of the last egg of the Priest-Kings. However, the depth of the book comes out in terms of the new characters, including Mip the Tarn Keeper, Sura the house slave, the new slave girls Phyllis and Virginia, the young warriors Relius and Ho-Sarl, Scormus the young Kaissa champion and Qualius the blind player, and Hup the Fool (my favorite). We also meet a major supporting character for future Gor novels, Samos the slaver of Port Kar.

The emphasis is still on the action and adventure in "Assassin of Gor" more than the Gorean philosophy that would come to dominate the later volumes in the series. Even by this fifth book in the series the principle that only by totally submitting to a master could a woman find true freedom, pleasure, etc., was pretty clear. I never really wanted a woman chained to my sleeping furs, so I tended to ignore those elements, especially as they became a repetitious mantra. For me the best Gor books were those that took the tradition of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars books with John Carter and upped the ante on the action. That is why "Assassin of Gor" is the best of the lot and why Norman never really tried to do anything this monumental ever again. In fact, the rest of the series would always suffer in my mind because of how far short the remaining volumes fell of the plateau of "Nomads" and "Assassin."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, top-notch action fantasy, December 31, 2005
By 
This review is from: Assassin of Gor (Paperback)
I read a lot. And the Gor series stands out. Great, great, great.

If you like fantasy, it is obligatory to read the first five. Nomads and Assassins are the best. You can get reading copy sets off Ebay of these five for $25. I cannot imagine $25 better spent. If you have not done so, go for it, you'll not be disappointed.

Raiders(6) is also good and has scenes that'll be with you for a long time, skip Captive (7) unless you really dig the slaving/SM side, Hunters (8) is a bit weak but has a couple of memorable moments, and Marauders (9) is also acceptable and has great action scenes. Tribesmen (10) is acceptable, you can skip Slave Girl (11), and Beasts (12) is very very good. Go for this set after you've done the first 5; your call, the first 5 I guarantee!!!

After that, you'll probably be hooked.

"Honor is important to Goreans, in a way that those of Earth might find it hard to understand; for example, those of Earth find it natural that men should go to war over matters of gold and riches, but not honor; the Gorean, contrariwise, is more willing to submit matters of honor to the adjudication of steel than he is matters of riches and gold; there is a simple explanation for this; honor is more important to him."
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Want Politically Correct? Read an encyclopedia...., February 9, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Assassin of Gor (Paperback)
The first five or six books in the series are serious reads. I find that if you focus on Norman's obvious fascination with bondage, the series lose some of their flavor. This is why some of the later books aren't as well liked. (He REALLY got into the bondage details, for chapters it seemed!) If you're uptight in the least, these books aren't for you, but if you can accept them for what they are, extremely detailed views into a totally alien world with strange cultures, you'll love them as I do. Add to this, a hero such as Tarl Cabot and BAM!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, March 1, 2014
Great story with lots of adventure, thrills, violence, and BDSM. Great for those who enjoy sexual fantasy within the adventure thriller.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT STORY, February 4, 2000
This review is from: Assassin of Gor (Paperback)
I think Assassin of Gor is the best book in the entire series. Its not as exciting or adventurous as Nomads, but it has a deeper, richer plot. Its the pinnacle of the Gor series. It was Norman's first big step into the BDSM thing and it doesn't go too far with it like (God forbid) some of the later books in which it makes up half the story.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked all 26 gorean books!, July 8, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Assassin of Gor (Paperback)
assasins really does develop the tarl cabot character. i felt that it was a timley installment in the gor series. as usual, norman dives into the natural male/female dominance/submission theme, but i like his opinion.
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Assassin of Gor (Gorean Saga)
Assassin of Gor (Gorean Saga) by John Norman (Paperback - June 30, 2007)
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