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The Mad King

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Book Overview: 

Shades of The Prisoner of Zenda! All our old friends are here—the young king, the usurping uncle and his evil henchman, the beautiful princess, the loyal retainer and the unwilling imposter. What more could you Hope for? This fast-paced story stays far away from Tarzan’s jungle or the inner world of Pellucidar.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .He thinks that by frightening you he will be able to keep you from running away."

"Your majesty does not know him," whispered the youth, shuddering. "He is the wickedest man in all the world. Nothing would please him more than killing me, and he would have done it long since but for two things. One is that I have made myself useful about his camp, doing chores and the like, and the other is that were he to kill me he knows that my father would never pay him."

"How much does your father owe him?"

"Five hundred marks, your majesty," replied Rudolph. "Two hundred of this amount is the original debt, and the balance Yellow Franz has added since he captured me, so that it is really ransom money. But my father is a poor man, so that it will take a long time before he can accumulate so large a sum.

"You would really like to go home again, Rudolph?"

"Oh, very much, your majesty, if I only dared." Barney was silent for some . . . Read More

Community Reviews

Thoroughly disappointing. Not at all as intriguing as the many other books by Burroughs. The story was interesting enough to make me wonder what would happen to the American, the mad King, and the Princess, but not interesting enough to make me want to read through part two.

I simply had to put this book down after it ended, because I needed my hands for stuff. Otherwise I was totally stuck in this most most endearing of adventure tales.

Is it derivative? Probably. But I frankly don't give a damn, and you probably won't either, what with the breakneck pace and all.

If you read a description of this book, you'll think it's just another telling of the Prince-and-the-Pauper story, because it does involve a mistaken identity. But read the book, because the amount of tension and nail-biting action will astound you. I could not put this book down whilst reading i...more

Have you ever been mistaken for someone else? In the book, The Mad King by Edgar Rice Burroughs protagonist Barney Custer is mistaken as the King of the imaginary European city of Lutha. This book can be thrown under the category of historical fiction or even romance. Throughout the book, Barney...more

I have read this book more times than I can count. It’s got something for everyone: government intrigue, mystery, romance, action, and a little case of mistaken identity. This book isn’t about the King Leopold that’s mentioned in the description, instead it’s about an American on holiday named Ba...more

This story reminded me of the serials that we used to see before the Saturday matinee when I was a kid. It's kind of a Prince and Pauper scenario; two cousins, one a king, one a American citizen; the king of Lutha has been kept a prisoner by his regent for 10 years and the American, Barney Custer...more

I just discovered that David Stifel, that Burroughs guy, has been reading this at his podcast, The Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs. He's a great reader and the story is entertaining, albeit very like a "twin" (dare I say?) of The Prisoner of Zenda.

The story is not identical to Zenda but...more

On the eve of World War I, American Barney Custer undergoes a series of unlikely adventures in a small Balkan country that is undergoing a crisis of succession to its throne.

I was listening to David Stifel’s audio version of this story on his excellent podcast, The Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice...more

Being familiar with the story of the Prisoner of Zenda, when I picked this tale up in my teens, I thought it was a copy of that work. Little did I know that Hope's Zenda was copied in many places. Jack Lemmon and Flashie both live Ruritanian Romances and so wanting to research for a project I rec...more

I downloaded this onto my smartphone, where I do most of my light reading, from U. of VA's E-book site.

It's a good rollicking, deus ex machina, early 20th century action novel.

I make no claims about having high brow reading preferences, or not. But in any case, on a deep level, there's a lot to...more

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