Historical / Reviews

Book Review: I Am a Barbarian by Edgar Rice Burroughs

I am a barbarian Edgar Rice Burroughs


Genre: Historical Fiction

Who on earth expected a well researched historical take on imperial Rome from Edger Rice Burroughs? Told from the point of view of one of Caligula’s slaves (Brittanicus), this is one of Burroughs’ more mature works. Sadly, it’s long out of print; you’re lucky if you can manage a copy. Note that I Am a Barbarian is one of the only two historical novels written by the author; the other being The Outlaw of Tor.

The Story

Brittanicus is brought by Caligula’s parents to be a companion to their son. The slave watches Caligula grow up from a spoiled brat to an insane ruler. The ruler both trusts and fears Brittanicus. The story describes the adventures of Brittanicus and yes, there is a romantic angle too. Dejah thoris is substituted by the slave girl Attica.

The Style

Action packed, poignant and humorous at times, I am a Barbarian is one of the finest novels Burroughs has ever written. Surprisingly, even his trademark flat characterization is replaced here by well defined and fairly intricate individuals. Burroughs’ writing style is imaginative and crisp.

This is an epic novel of historical adventure and altogether a darn good package. You don’t have to be an ERB fan to enjoy I Am a Barbarian.

Ace Edition (1974).  Cover Art by Boris Vallejo.

Similar Books

Historical fiction of Robert E. Howard

Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace

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Cover of the Week

Cover of the Week: Hadon of Ancient Opar by Philip José Farmer

Hadon of ancient opar Philip José Farmer

Did the movie 10,000 BC give you distaste for the ancient world? If yes, you might want to check out Hadon of Ancient Opar — Philip José Farmer’s inspiring effort at heroic fantasy. It would certainly revive your curiosity for pre-historic civilizations.

Farmer’s story is an explicit homage to Edgar Rice Burroughs. He takes us 10,000 years back and shows what Tarzan’s Opar was in its heyday. Our hero Hadon goes to the city of Khokarsa to win the Great Games, leads a perilous expedition to the Mediterranean and faces a coup d’état when he comes back. This is where the story takes off with a bloody war.

Hadon of Ancient Opar is the second volume of Khokarsa series (the first volume is Time’s Last Gift). It is a pretty cool story and Farmer doesn’t make a mess of ERB standards. However, the fight scenes are more graphic and you encounter loads of sex.

This book has a sequel too called Flight to Opar. Check that out, if you like this one.
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Opinion & Featured Articles

Thus Spake the Gurus: Famous Authors on Themselves

Albert Einstein

A note to the literary prodigies:

We know why you said it.

The Honest Man

You write for people like us. You have got too many followers. But the snobs won’t take you seriously. Their noses are so high that when they sneeze the ceiling gets wet. You don’t know if you want to laugh or cry over it. Actually, you are not bothered, and eventually you  make a statement on what you are.

The Perfectionist

The world adores you, but you can’t stand yourself. Whatever echoes within yourself doesn’t take shape the way you want. You are still brilliant, but you simply won’t accept it.

The Modest and the Refined

Good Sir, thou knowest thy worth, but thou art too humble to say it. Modesty forbids what the law does not. In the name of polite and noble behavior, you are unkind to yourself.

The Sarcastic Intellectual

We knew you were good; there was no need for double entendre. Save it for your enemies mate; we are on your side. Respect.

The I-know-my-cards Guy

You aren’t Shakespeare and you’re happy about it. You got something else to offer and you know the readers will jump at it. Bravo to the no-nonsense marketing bloke.

For whatever reason you said it, you were damn right. You know, we’re all trying to make a point.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend’em your ears. Let the Litterateurs speak.

Robert Benchley

“It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.” — Robert Benchley

John Grisham

“I can’t change overnight into a serious literary author. You can’t compare apples to oranges. William Faulkner was a great literary genius. I am not.” — John Grisham

Stephen kIng

“I am the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and Fries.” — Stephen King

Gustave Flaubert

“I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.” — Gustave Flaubert

Kurt Vonnegut

“It was dishonorable enough that I perverted art for money. I then topped that felony by becoming, as I say, fabulously well-to-do. Well, that’s just too damn bad for me and for everybody. I’m completely in print, so we’re all stuck with me and stuck with my books.”Kurt Vonnegut

Ray Bradbury

“A conglomerate heap of trash, that’s what I am. But it burns with a high flame.” — Ray Bradbury

Mark Twain

“I must have a prodigious quantity of mind; it takes me as much as a week sometimes to make it up.” – Mark Twain

Vladimir Nobokov

“Lolita is famous, not I. I am an obscure, doubly obscure, novelist with an unpronounceable name.” — Vladimir Nabokov

Edger Rice Burroughs

“I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly.” — Edgar Rice Burroughs Continue reading