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
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, 5).
"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
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 few words.
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
Carson obviously did not believe in long courtships. Duare,
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) recaptured.
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
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
Lost, 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. Carson observed:
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 we love.
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 6
"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
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.