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The Mucker

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Book Overview: 

Grown and raised on the streets of Chicago; a ruthless, brawling beast of a man who detests all that “class” and “highbrow society” has to offer. Shanghaied and put into service upon a pirate’s vessel to kidnap an affluent business man’s daughter on the high seas. Shipwrecked with mutineering shipmates, Billy Byrne now fights to rescue the young woman from not only these pirates, but ancient samurai headhunters that inhabit this lonely island…and to find the man that truly lies inside the beast.

After being framed for a murder he didn’t commit, law enforcement arrests Billy Byrne…The Mucker… as he returns to the streets of Grand Avenue. Sentenced for the crime, he escapes custody en route to jail, and begins wandering America's roads as a homeless and penniless hobo. Joined by Bridge, a wandering poet and fellow soul on the road they escape a chasing detective and cross the border into Mexico to live in freedom, where the country is torn between two warring factions. Now the Mucker must join one side in a fight against the other, facing treachery within the ranks, robbing banks and facing savage local indians just to survive this outlaw country.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .apidly accumulating the material for a life raft.

But there was a single figure upon the deck that did not seem mad with terror. A huge fellow he was who stood leaning against the capstan watching the wild antics of his fellows with a certain wondering expression of incredulity, the while a contemptuous smile curled his lips. As Barbara Harding chanced to look in his direction he also chanced to turn his eyes toward the wheelhouse. It was the mucker.

The girl was surprised that he, the greatest coward of them all, should be showing no signs of cowardice now—probably he was paralyzed with fright. The moment that the man saw the two who were in the wheelhouse and the work that they were doing he sprang quickly toward them. At his approach the girl shrank closer to Theriere.

What new outrage did the fellow contemplate? Now he was beside her. The habitual dark scowl blackened his expression. He laid a heavy hand on Barbara Harding's arm. . . Read More

Community Reviews

If what you like is pulp adventure from the turn of the 20th century (and I really do), then Edgar Rice Burroughs is your man. This one takes an interesting and unusual turn in telling about a man with no redeeming values whatsoever whose participation in a kidnapping leads to a change of perspectiv

The Ballantine paperback edition that I read also contains the sequel "The Return of the Mucker". Billy Byrne, the main character is a mucker - i.e. a thug, who grew up on the mean streets of early 20th century Chicago, from a totally dysfunctional family, and surrounded by all kinds of criminal typ

I really like the development of the character here, Billy Byrne, a kid from the mean Chicago streets who learns a bit about heroism.

I remembered this fondly & should have kept that vague memory. I didn't really remember much of the story, just bits here & there. Overall, it wasn't a bad story, but some elements of it were tough to take. While it was very well narrated, hearing the Mucker's (Billy) mangled version of American was

ERB put many elements of his other books into this one adventure yarn: pirates, fights with natives in faraway jungles, swordplay, chivalry, boxing, etc. One of ERB’s better novels. Recommended for his fans and fans of pulp adventure fiction in general.

Billy Byrne, who grew up on Chicago's West Side, among the low-brow hoods and gangsters there, and is taught to idolize the same, and to wantonly beat up anyone not of his gang or class...including women, children and the "better" social classes...the educated and wealthy.
Along the way he has to ski

Following up on the success of his first novels, ‘The Mucker’ represents Edgar Rice Burroughs’s attempt at a more mainstream adventure-oriented book, written in two parts from 1914 through 1916 (this edition contains both). The more fantastic elements of the Tarzan and Barsoom efforts do not appear

Billy Byrne transforms from a tough Chicago lowlife to an honorable man of action during a series of adventures in which he is shanghaied by pirates, battles samurai headhunters, and hides out from the law in Mexico, earning the love of a beautiful society woman in the process.

The edition I read inc

I was attracted to this book because I read it was unusual among Burroughs' work and in pulp in general. For me, it did strongly echo aspects of “The Monster Men” and of course “Tarzan of the Apes”, although it does have the unique distinction of hanging multiple genre types on a single characters'

Of the dozen or so ERB novels I've read thus far, THE MUCKER is my favorite. Where else can you get pirates, shipwrecks, Malaysian headhunters, Japanese samurai, and championship boxing all in one book?
In its opening chapters, THE MUCKER is actually quite literary and brilliantly written, though Bur

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