Rhys's Reviews > The Return of Tarzan

The Return of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs
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Jan 31, 2009

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Read in March, 2009

I thoroughly enjoyed the first Tarzan book, *Tarzan of the Apes*, and I was half-expecting the sequel to be of lesser quality. After all, Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote so quickly and so prolifically it seemed a sure bet he would turn out to be one of those pulp writers who just churn out sequels to a formula. But in fact this proved not to be the case. *The Return of Tarzan* is completely different from the first book in the series. Far more things happen in more unexpected ways in the sequel and there's a grim comedy in the scenes where Tarzan struggles to cope with 'civilised' life in Paris.

In this novel we see Tarzan smoking cigarettes and sipping absinthe on a luxury liner; getting involved with the nefarious schemes of the Russian nihilist, Nikolas Rokoff and his beautiful sister, Olga; fighting a duel of honour with Olga's husband; being sent to North Africa to work undercover for the French government; being thrown overboard in the middle of the ocean and swimming to shore; ending up in the exact same part of Africa where he was raised; fighting off Arab slavers and cannibals; becoming the white chief of a black tribe; conducting raids on the lost city of Opar and stealing the gold of its sun-worshipping inhabitants; and finally rescuing and marrying his true love, Jane Porter.

Burroughs very skillfully juggles all these elements and keeps the plot and subplots going, generating real tension and excitement. He was an author with a supreme gift for creating momentum. He even expresses some modern-ish ecological concerns more than half a century before they began to become mainstream issues. My favourite part of the whole novel is the section set in North Africa, in the deserts and oases of Algeria. There are sultry dancing girls, narrow escapes, stealthy assassins, friendly noble bedouin, encounters with desert lions, everything that is most exciting in this kind of pulp fiction!
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09/18/2016 marked as: read

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