Reading: Son of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Son of Tarzan

Author: Edgar Rice Burroughs
Copyright: 1915 (Original)
Type: Fiction
Finished: August 31, 2019

Rating: ★★★

Image from Amazon

For a misogynistic, racist, and scientifically inaccurate novel, this is a fun read. Lord Greystoke (Tarzan) is living back in London with his wife and teenage son, Jack. They keep Jack in the dark about his father’s identify but the Tarzan spirit is strong in this one. Tarzan’s friend Akut the Killer Ape ends up in London – you’ll have to read it to find out how – and Jack contrives to return Akut to Africa. One thing leads to another and yadda, yadda, yadda, Jack turns into Korak the Killer in Africa.

Run-ins with whites and blacks turns Korak into a loner;  until one day he rescues Meriem from an Arab sheik and they start an innocent life together along with Akut. But poor Meriem, she is captured by bad men so many times it’s hard to keep count. In the midst of her travails she is rescued – temporarily – by the Great White Hunter she knows only as Bwana and his wife “My Dear”. 

Although it ends up being too much of “Perils of Pauline” (a 1914 movie serial) for Meriem, it can be a fun read and an interesting look into early 20th century adventure stories. I especially liked some of the narrative descriptions of action. At one point Jack is fighting with a man and his helped out by Akut.

“[Condon’s] eyes bulged in horror at the realization of the truth which that glance revealed.” [Loc 471]

Moments later…

“His head whirled in the sudden blackness which rims eternity.”  [Loc 475]

But my favorite florid description is when Korak is forced to defend himself against an indiginous group.

“Weighted down as he was by dogs and warriors he still managed to struggle to his feet. To right and left he swung crushing blows to the faces of his human antagonists…

A knob stick aimed at him by an ebon Hercules he caught and wrested from his antagonist, and then the blacks experienced to the full the possibilities for punishment that lay within those smooth flowing muscles beneath the velvet brown skin of the strange, white giant.” [Loc 1646]

Does Meriem get freed from her various tormentors? Does Korak the Killer ever reunite with his family? Well, you’ll have to read it to find out. 

The Kindle edition is available free on Amazon thanks to the Gutenberg Project; so all it will cost is a day or two of your time. For pure escapism this is fun page turner, just be prepared to bring a willing suspension of disbelief. [Coleridge]

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