Talu rebelled against the rule of his father Salensus Oll, ruler of Kadabra and Jeddak of all Yellow Martians. He crossed paths with John Carter, who was searching for his wife kidnapped Dejah Thoris and the trail lead them to the North Pole of Barsoom. Her captors, Thurid and Mata Shang, had forged an alliance with Oll looking for sanctuary among the Yellow Martians. Talu offered his help in infiltrating John into Kadabra masquerading as a Yellow Martian. Eventually Oll was killed and Talu became the sole ruler of the Yellow Martians.
At first, it appeared like Talu was a noble and honorable ruler, more preferable than the tyrant that preceded him. As it turns out, he was the mastermind behind a plot against the League of Barsoom to enslave the Green Martians. Talu had discovered through several experiments realized by his uncle that the Green Martians were created as slave drones to the Okkarans by crossbreeding apts, white apes and Red Martians, and as such they could be controlled psychically by Yellows after injecting them with apt DNA. He would use it to instigate the Tharks to rise up against the other races of Barsoom and conquering them, believing that the Yellows were the superior race above all Martians. His plan was foiled when Presari, his uncle's former concubine, warned Carter that the rising instability among Tharks was connected to the Yellow Martians somehow. Talu had the young woman assassinated (as well as all other of Oll's concubines, who had participated in the original experiment) and attempted to secretly kill Carter and Tars Tarkas when they traveled North to investigate.
When his plot was discovered by the duo, he had Tarkas injected the latter with apt blood and used his psychic control over him to attempt to murder Carter in front of his people, effectively ruining the peace among Red and Green Martians without implicating the Yellows. His control over Tarkas was broken when Carter stabbed out his friend's eye and as a last resort, Talu summoned an undead Thark juggernaut to kill the duo.
The monstruosity was defeated and Talu was subdued. Carter originally wanted to have them tried for their crimes, but Tarkas had him and his cohorts summarily executed for the agony they caused him.