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Not 100% Edgar Rice Burroughs, but a good addition to my Tarzan collection

  • Oct 14, 2010
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I was ahead of my class in reading when young, and it was my second or third grade teacher who gave me a copy of Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs to read.  I devoured it, but did not know it was the first of a series.  It was a couple years before I found out, and then I read all of the Tarzan tales as well as those about John Carter on Mars, the Venus series, the Pellucidar series and others.  I’ve been a huge Burroughs fan ever since.
Unfortunately, I was living in Asia for part of the 90s, and I did not know about Tarzan: The Lost Adventure by Edgar Rice Burroughs and Joe R. Lansdale.  It is a new Tarzan tale that was started by Burroughs but left unfinished until Lansdale completed the manuscript for Dark Horse Comics.  I happened to find a copy of the hard cover book, which was published after the four-part comic-book version was a success, while perusing the shelves at Powell’s Book’s in Portland this summer.  Obviously, I had to purchase it to add to my Tarzan collection.  I worked it into my reading schedule and just finished it.  I enjoyed reading a new story about one of my favorite fictional heroes, but did feel that it wasn’t exactly the same character that a solely Burroughs tale would have portrayed. 
First and foremost, I’m glad this book was published, because I enjoy everything “Tarzan.”  And it is a good story.  Pretty basic and formulaic, but most of the later Tarzan stories were.  That does not prevent one from enjoying a hero they like reading about.  However, there were little things that seemed a little off about the character, and I felt that Burroughs would not have wrote it that way.  For instance, when Jean says, “You are something special, Mr. Tarzan.” Tarzan replies, “Yes, I am.”  She continues, “And modest as well,” in which Tarzan replies, “My greatest trait.”  That just seemed out of character for me.  Yes it has been a long time since I’ve read any of the original series, but it still seemed different at times, the above conversation being one of those times.
While I did enjoy a lot of the story, it is a well paced action tale with some twists and turns here and there, even following a formula, I wasn’t as impressed with the ending.  Without sharing it here, I’m not sure that Burroughs would have wrapped it up this way.  Especially knowing that this is the last tale, I would have liked a different ending. 
To give Lansdale credit, he took on an impossible task.  I don’t think anyone could finish a Burroughs tale exactly like Burroughs, and all fans of the original stories will nit pick at anything coming after.  I’m no different, having grown up on Burroughs, no one will be able to take his place when it comes to Tarzan and the other heroes he created.  Lansdale did a good job and without knowing exactly what he started with, I applaud his efforts to finish a tale he didn’t start and to attempt to stay true to the original source. 
Therefore, while it seemed to be more Lansdale than Burroughs, I’m still glad I added this book to my Tarzan collection and read it.  For a Tarzan fan, it was great to read a new story about one of my favorite heroes.  While not my favorite Tarzan tale, it was still a fun quick read that took me back to years ago when I devoured anything and everything about Tarzan.

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Alain B. Burrese ()
Ranked #339
Alain Burrese, J.D., is a writer, speaker and mediator. He delivers a powerful keynote called Discover Your Warrior's Edge which is a motivational presentation on making things happen with honor and … more
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