Carson Napier believed in love at first sight and so, apparently,
did Duare, the only daughter of a Vepajan jong and, as such, the hope of
the world, or at least the hope of the political system of Vepaja.
Readers could get a bit uncomfortable with Carson as he pressed his
suit of this young lady, who appeared to at least superficially discourage
his attentions. In the first place, Carson was 27 years old and Duare was
not yet 19, we are told, so in some circles Carson would be called a cradle
robber. But in a land where, thanks to a longevity serum, people could
be expected to live a couple of thousand years or so while maintaining
youthful vitality, perhaps age differences weren't so significant.
Kamlot, Carson's best friend in Pirates of Venus, called Duare
"the hope of the world" because Mintep, the jong, had failed to produce
a son though he'd tried with over 100 women. (Ol' Mintep got around a bit.)
So, he was left with Duare, who wasn't allowed to wed (become a "love woman")
until age 20 and then it would have to be to someone considered fit to
father a royal heir.
Carson, from another planet and different in complexion from the average
Venusan, would probably not have been the choice. Not only that, but when
Dr. Danus had examined blood samples from the Earthman, "...he was shocked
by the variety and nature of malignant bacteria they revealed." (PV,
"You are a menace to the continued existence of human life on Amtor,"
Danus had said (fortunately, with a chuckle!).
the real problem in the Carson-Duare relationship must be laid squarely
at the feet of one man: Mintep himself. Carson was a stranger in Vepaja.
He looked somewhat different than everyone else. When some invaders showed
up later on, they were summarily killed and their bodies heaved over the
railings of the walkways of the high Venusan city, carved out of huge trees
that tower thousands of feet above the surface. But what did they do with
Carson? Though a man of unknown background and intentions, they invited
him in, fed him, gave him an Amtorian wardrobe, and started training him
in the language, customs, geography and knowledge of Vepaja. Not only that,
but Mintep gave this stranger a royal residence in -- of all places --
a suite which had a deck that adjoined the veranda where his virgin daughter
True, her balcony was choked with foliage and Carson, at first, did
not realize that anyone even lived there. But he would find out.
So, if Carson eventually got a look at Duare and she got a look at him,
and something clicked, who was at fault? Mintep would have no one but himself
to blame but, being Mintep, the idea of blaming himself would probably
never even occur to him.
Duare was not allowed to speak to men, other than close family members
or trusted servants, but it happened that she and Carson did exchange a
Duare had probably been watching Carson through the foliage a long time
before he ever saw her. But once he did catch a glimpse, it haunted him
until the day he kissed his brains goodbye and jumped the fence between
their decks and stood face to face with her.
Being ignorant of the Venusan custom, he blurted out his interest in
seeing her, which only alarmed her. And then he did what any brute might
do... he reached out and "seized her arm." Tarzan, who began smothering
Jane with kisses at the first opportunity, at least had the excuse that
he was an ignorant savage, unschooled in proper social behavior!
Duare, however, knew how to behave in such a situation. She "whipped
the dagger from the scabbard at her girdle" and threatened to kill him.
So Carson, the slow learner, followed that up with: "I love you."
Carson obviously did not believe in long courtships. Duare, however,
Alas, the course of true love is never easy. On a tarel-hunting expedition,
Carson and Kamlot were captured by klangan and flown to a Thorist ship,
on which they eventually led a mutiny and became the book-titled "pirates
of Venus". Duare, meanwhile, was captured from off her veranda by klangan,
and flown to the Sovong, another Thorist ship which became the pirates'
first victim. (One might also wonder at the intelligence of Mintep in having
his "hope of the world" daughter live in a place which was so easily penetrated
by enemy forces).
Aboard the Sofal, after they had rescued Duare, Carson first heard Kamlot
give full details of Duare's exact status.
None of this fazed Carson, who still believed that he would eventually
become her mate. Had things gone differently, he would have been mistaken.
As it was, circumstances left Carson washed up on a beach in Noobol, where
he had an opportunity to rescue Duare again, after she had been (yet again)
At the end of Pirates, Carson was taken captive as Duare was
flown by a bird-man, presumably back to the Sofal. She called out to her
suitor on the shore, "I love you."
The guy didn't actually get the girl, despite his best and seemingly
unwelcome efforts, but at least she said she loved him at the end.
In the next book in the series, Lost on Venus, the relationship
had to start from ground zero.
Carson, to some degree, acknowledged that he had been out of line. In
Chapter 1, he mused: "During the eighteen years of her life she had not
been permitted to see nor speak to no man other than members of the royal
family and a few trusted servitors until I had invaded her garden and forced
my unwelcome attentions upon her."
It just wasn't Duare's day... or even her year. Ripped out of what she
thought was a secure home, she had gone from one captivity to another and
now her only protection was from a man who periodically wanted her to speak
words of love to him, as the prelude for the physical culmination that
he obviously wanted. But she proved she could handle itómost of the time.
"Duare, notwithstanding all the hard-ships
and dangers she was constantly un-dergoing, seldom complained. She remained
remarkably cheerful in the face of what was now palpably the absolute certainty
that we could never hope to find the dis-tant island where her father was
king. Sometimes she was sober and silent for long periods, and I guessed
that at those times she was sorrowing; but she did not share her sorrows
with me. I wished that she would; we often share our sorrows with those
Later, Carson urged Duare along and she snapped back that, as the daughter
of a jong, she was not accustomed to being ordered around. Carson threatened
to spank her, causing her to cry again and say, "You take advantage of
me because there is no one to protect me. I hate you..." LV, Chap-ter
"But one day she suddenly sat down and commenced
to cry." ~ LV, Chapter 5
But a few pages later, Carson had hope. They made camp along a river
in idyllic surroundings with singing birds, and Duare said, "I wish I were
not the daughter of a jong."
And so it went, back and forth, as Duare was torn between her royal
duty and her attraction to the man from Earth. Carson felt that if he would
serve Duare well he would find some way of returning her to her home in
Vepaja. But had he succeeded he likely would have been executed for violating
the Vepajan traditions by spending so much time alone with Mintep's daughter,
doing who knows what.
But the issue was finally resolved at the end of the volume as Carson
rescued Duare from a mink-lined death row in the so-called Utopian city
of Havatoo, and flew her away in the newly built airplane, the anotar.
She said, "I love you" at the end of Pirates.
She said it again at the end of Lost.
Only that time, she didn't take it back later.
Duare: Frosty Fille to
really happened to Duare after she and Carson were put in separate rooms
in the castle of Skor of Morov in Chapter 8 of Lost on Venus?
Skor sent one of his walking dead to choke Carson to death in the middle
of the night. Skor thought his henchman had succeeded, but the unconscious
Carson awoke to see a beautiful girl peering down at him from a trap door
in the floor of the room above. He accepted her invitation to come up so
they could plan an escape. There, she told him she had seen him and Duare
being brought into the castle grounds the day before, and that she had
seen that same young woman escape early in the morning. "I do not know
how she got out of her room, but from the window I saw her cross the outer
courtyard. She climbed the wall on the river side, and she must have dropped
into the river. I did not see her again," said the girl, Nalte.
Carson had been suspicious, at first, that the girl might be a confederate
of Skor's, but "...as her fine eyes met mine in mu-tual appraisement, my
fears of treachery vanished. I was sure that no duplicity lurked behind
that lovely countenance."
Subsequent events bore out Carson's judgment. Nalte was a faithful companion
as the two escaped the castle and made their way, through adventure and
misadventure, to the city of Havatoo, where Nalte soon caught the eye of
Carson's new friend, Ero Shan.
Nothing more was learned of Duare's fate until Chapter 16, when Carson
crossed the River of Death from Havatoo to Kor-mor, Skor's Capital City,
in search of the abducted Nalte, and went, disguised, into a banquet room
where Skor marched in with none other than Duare.
From that moment on, the pace of the story moved quickly. Carson rescued
Duare and Nalte and they evaded pursuit and returned to Havatoo. This immediately
brought up problems for Duare since she had come from the city of the dead
and the pristine pure leaders of Havatoo feared she would taint their city.
Before long, she found herself under a sentence of death and Carson, in
one of the most thrilling episodes in the Venus series, made a mad dash
to save her, escaping with her in the anotar as sirens mobilized pursuers
throughout the city.
There was no time for Duare to bring Carson up to date on what adventures
befell her while they were apart. Nor is there any flashback in the next
book, Carson of Venus.
So we'll never know what happened to Duare while she was "offstage." We'll
never know how she got out of her castle room, nor why she even thought
it would be a good idea to escape without trying to bring Carson along
to protect her from the dangers which constantly threatened travelers in
Venus. We know that Skor didn't recapture her right away, because his search
party was sighted in Chapter 9 by Carson and Nalte, and Duare was not with
them. But we don't know how much longer she wandered and what perils she
survived, nor how she came again under the power of the disgusting Skor.