Immediately upon purchasing Burroughs' first story, Under The Moons Of Mars, Thomas Metcalf,
editor of All-Story magazine, wrote the author on November 4, 1911 and stated: "I was thinking last
night, considering with how much vividness you described the various fights, weather you might not be able to do a serial of the regular romantic type, something like, say Ivanhoe, or at least of the period when everybody wore armor and dashed about rescuing for ladies. If you have in mind any serials, or anything of the sort, and if you you think it worth your while, I should be very glad indeed to hear from you in regard to them."
Approximately three weeks after receiving Metcalf's suggestion, Burroughs had completed the original draft of The Outlaw Of Torn. On November 29, 1911 he wrote from the Champlin-Yardley Company at 222 West Kinzie Street, Chicago, Illinois and told Metcalf it was ready. Things did not go well for the rapidly written manuscript, and it had to go through numerous face lifts.
The more detailed rewrite of The Outlaw Of Torn was dated February 2, 1912. Still the history based story did not sale immediately. Finally on August 18, 1913 A.L. Sessions, editor of the New Story magazine, agreed to take the mid evil tale. Burroughs was paid five hundred dollars for the first serial rights, and to be paid two cents a word more if the story, according to reader response, proved to be successful. New Story ran The Outlaw Of Torn as a five-part serial from January to May 1914. The first book edition was published by A.C. McClurg on February 19, 1927.
A lot of Greystoke chronologist feel that The Outlaw Of Torn is actually the first book of the Tarzan series. I must agree with them for the mid evil adventure covers the lives of the jungle lord's ancestors in the thirteenth century. Besides the Greystoke family having blood ties with the royal family, a Greystoke is mentioned by name in chapter five and a John de Grey in chapter ten. At age fifteen Prince Richard kills a Greystoke, and in 1262 he sacks the castle of Baron John de Grey for hanging two of his men. This in itself clearly indicates Burroughs' second effort is linked to the Tarzan series.
The mid evil tale itself is based on the life and adventures of Prince Richard, the son of King Henry III. The story opens with the English King insulting Sir Jules de Vac, his French fencing master. De Vac revenges himself by kidnapping the three year old Prince Richard.
The Frenchman takes the young prince to the old Castle Torn in Derbyshire, and cut off from the
rest of the world, he teaches the youth to speak French, swordsmanship, and to hate all things
English. The second part of de Vac's revenge begins when he unleashes Prince Richard, now
known as Norman Of Torn, to ravage England's countryside.
De Vac's secret wish is to see Prince Richard hanged by King Henry III before the youth's true identity is revealed. Although Prince Richard did become a notorious outlaw things did not quite end up as de Vac planned.
(The Following Is A Chronology of The Outlaw of Torn)
Event: Prince Richard, the second son of King Henry III and Queen Eleanor, was born
Source: We know this because Prince Richard was kidnapped in 1243 at the age of three. ERB-
The Outlaw Of Torn.
Date: June 1243
Event: King Henry III insulted Sir Jules de Vac, a Frenchman and the royal master of fence.
Source: "June 1243". ERB-The Outlaw Of Torn.
Date: middle of July 1243
Event: Prince Richard, age three, was kidnapped by de Vac.
Source: "age three" and "middle of July". ERB- The Outlaw Of Torn.
Date: 1243 to 1246
Event: The two hid out for three years in an attic apartment in London. De Vac began teaching
Prince Richard French, swordsmanship, and hatred of all things English.
Source: "For three years following the disappearance of Prince Richard a bent old woman lived in
the heart of London within a stone throw of the King's palace. In a small back room she
lived, high up in the attic of an old building." ERB-The Outlaw Of Torn.
Event: The two moved to the old castle of Torn in the Derby hills.
Source: "about six years of age". ERB-The Outlaw Of Torn.
Event: By age ten Prince Richard had forgotten all about his past, and horsemanship and
English was added to his studies.
Source: "he was ten years old". ERB-The Outlaw Of Torn.
Event: At fifteen Prince Richard was a magnificent swordsman and horseman. He kills Paul of
Merely. Beauchamp, and Greystoke. He takes the name of Norman of Torn.
Source: "at fifteen". ERB-The Outlaw Of Torn.
Event: By age fifteen, even de Vac was a novice compared to Prince Richard.
Source: "by the time the youth had turned sixteen." ERB-The Outlaw Of Torn.
Event: By the time Prince Richard was eighteen he was rich in loot and had a price on his head.
Source: "he had scarce turned eighteen." ERB-The Outlaw Of Torn.
Event: De Vac and Prince Richard halted sword practice with each other.
Source: At the beheading of Peter of Colfax it is stated; "for five years he had not crossed foils
with Norman of Torn." ERB-The Outlaw Of Torn.
Event: King Henry III dubbed Prince Richard as Norman the Devil, and his reputation was
known throughout all England. The first sacking of the castle of Baron Peter of Colfax
Source: "By the time he was twenty," ERB-The Outlaw Of Torn.
Date: March 1262
Event: Prince Richard rampaged the castle of John de Stutevill of Derby.
Source: When Prince Richard meets Lady Bertrade the statement is made; "scarce sixty days
had elapsed since he had reduced the stronghold," ERB-The Outlaw Of Torn.
Date: end of May or early June 1262
Event: While Lady Bertrade is visiting Lady Mary de Stutevill of Derby, Prince Richard is busy
sacking the castle of Baron John de Grey for hanging two of his men.
Source: "For three weeks after his meeting with Bertrade de Montfort and his sojourn at the
castle of John de Stutevill, Norman of Torn was busy with his wild horde in reducing and
sacking the castle of John de Grey," ERB-The Outlaw Of Torn.
Date: end of May or early June 1262
Event: Lady Bertrade is kidnapped by de Vac and given to Baron Peter of Colfax. She is then
rescued by Prince Richard.
Source: "Three weeks had passed since Roger de Conde' had ridden out from the portals of
Stutevill," ERB-The Outlaw Of Torn.
Date: summer of 1263
Event: Prince Richard rescued the Lady Joan de Tany from the castle of John de Fulm, Earl of
Source: "summer of 1263", ERB-The Outlaw Of Torn.
Date: July 1263
Event: Prince Richard killed John de Fulm at the castle of Baron Roger Leybourn. He rescues
his mother Queen Eleanor the next day.
Source: It is stated during the battle of Lewes that Prince Richard rescued his mother the Queen
"the preceding July". ERB-The Outlaw Of Torn.
Date: winter of 1263
Event: Prince Richard spends the entire winter at Torn.
Source: "Until the following spring Norman of Torn continued to occupy himself with occasional
pillages against the royalists of the surrounding counties". ERB-The Outlaw Of Torn.
Date: Wednesday, May 1264
Event: The battle of Lewes.
Source: "May morning in the year 1264". ERB-The Outlaw Of Torn.
Date: May 1264
Event: It is discovered that Norman of Torn is actually Prince Richard, son of King Henry III.
Source: "three days after the battle of Lewes". ERB-The Outlaw Of Torn.