I have a copy of Will Murray's new Tarzan novel, RETURN TO PAL-UL-DON, but I thought before I read it that I would reread the two original Tarzan novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs most closely associated with it, TARZAN THE UNTAMED and TARZAN THE TERRIBLE. RETURN TO PAL-UL-DON is a sequal to TARZAN THE TERRIBLE, and since TARZAN THE UNTAMED leads directly into that book, it seemed like the place to start. Besides, I vividly recall reading TARZAN THE UNTAMED during study hall in sixth grade (at the Rock School in Azle, for those of you familiar with it) more than fifty years ago and thinking it was great.
Then in the second section of the novel, Tarzan meets a beautiful blond German spy and a stranded British aviator, and the three of them have a bunch of adventures both together and separately, mostly involving a tribe of cannibals and some native troops who have deserted from the German army. In the first section Burroughs stuck to one storyline, Tarzan's vengeance quest, but in the middle third his trademark parallel plotting pops up, and the structure emphasizes that the only purpose of this seemingly endless round of capture/escape, capture/escape, capture/escape is to fill up pages. It gets tiresome in a hurry.
So TARZAN THE UNTAMED doesn't hold up quite as well as I might have hoped, considering how much I liked it all those years ago, but there's enough good stuff in it that I certainly enjoyed reading it. If that middle section had been tightened up a lot it would have landed in the top five or six books in the series as far as I'm concerned. But the real reason I read it was because it lays the groundwork for TARZAN THE TERRIBLE, and I'll be getting to that one soon.
(The cover scan at the top of this post is the edition I read all those years ago, with art by Robert Abbett, who did the covers for most, if not all, of the mid-Sixties Ballantine editions of Burroughs' novels, I believe. I bought every one of them I found on the paperback spinner racks back in those days. I thought about buying a copy of that same edition on-line so I could reread it that way, but I wound up reading an e-book version instead.)