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Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan: The Lost Adventure
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2004
I did not necessarily have high hopes for this book. As a pre-teen and teenager I was in love with the writing of Burroughs and Robert E. Howard, as well as their most famous characters, Tarzan and Conan, respectively. And I have had a lot of respect for the company controlling Burroughs's copyrights for not dumping a lot of Tarzan pastiches on the marketplace as has happened with Conan. But having watched hack after hack literally destroy Conan, my expectations for this book were fairly low.
Fortunately, I was somewhat surprised. While it definitely lacks Burroughs's tone in many places, it's relatively true to the original character. Lansdale appears to be a decent enough writer and I think he has a lot of respect for the Tarzan mythos. He wisely introduces one of my favorite characters into the storyline, Jad-Bal-Ja (the golden lion), but I ultimately wasn't overly impressed with what I considered the science fiction aspects of the story, e.g., the bug-like monster.
Not that Burroughs didn't frequently troll the waters of science fiction in Tarzan, it just seemed to lack a degree of originality. The downer ending was also something of an oddity. Admittedly, "Tarzan of the Apes," the one that started it all, had a downer ending, but for the most Burroughs generally wrapped up his Tarzan stories with a semblance of "everything is now right in the world." Okay, so maybe I'm being picky.
I do recommend this book. It is an entertaining read and is never boring. I guess anyone who tries to pick up where my favorite authors left off is usually going to face some negative criticism.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 1999
Mr. Lansdale has come up with a passable plot by copying Mr. Burroughs' most used formulae. Unfortunately, the book disappoints, even offends, in two critical areas. First, I wonder if he has ever read ERB's Tarzan stories enough to know the character. Lansdale's Tarzan alternates between taciturnity and sarcasm. By the time ERB got to "Tarzan and the Foreign Legion", Tarzan was amazingly social, able to carry on friendly conversation, given to smiling, even laughing occasionally, and had no problem with contractions. Lansdale's Tarzan ponders how he and Jane have grown apart and is unconcerned about getting home. ERB's Tarzan loved Jane deeply and she, in turn, understood his occasional need to escape into the jungle for the adventures of his boyhood. The second failing, one the introduction attempts to make excuses for, is Mr. Lansdale poor grammar and sentence structure. He writes in repetitive short sentence structure. Remember how you English teacher taught you to take: "He crossed the camp and sat on the stool. He picked up the map. Then he took a drink of coffee." and make it more interesting by changing it to: "Crossing the camp, he settled himself onto the stool. As he began to study the map, he reached for his coffee, taking a relaxing sip from it..." I think Mr. Lansdale missed that class. Dialogue is filled with a repetition of "said" and "asked". It becomes tedious. How about announced, sighed, grunted, gasped, commented, corrected, argued, inquired, added, continued, etc.? Variety holds a reader's interest better than repetition. I had high hopes that, like Fritz Leiber with "Tarzan and the Valley of Gold", it would be a well-written story, honoring the personality Mr. Burroughs created, which evolved through his 25 books (including "Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins"), as well as Mr. Burroughs' flowing style.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 1999
I was looking forward to this latest offering from the "Burroughs vault" It was a fast paced adventure that was hard to put down. But I think it was more from wanting to get to the real ERB stuff, than wanting to see what happened next. It just never happened. The blood and gore was sadly overdown, even for Tarzan. Interesting cliff hanger. First time that has happened.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
There's just too much of Lansdale and not enough Burroughs. In Poodle Springs by Raymond Chandler and Robert B. Parker, you can not tell where Chandler ends and Parker picks up. In finishing a lost manuscript, the author finishing should attempt to stay as true to the original authors style as possible. Lansdale failed in this area. The book is good reading and a good adventure, but just like the movies, just not Burroughs Tarzan.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2006
First, let me say I like Lansdale's other work, and I respect his clear love for Burroughs' characters. Still, he was not the author to finish Burroughs' final Tarzan novel--if anyone was. Much as with that other pulp-era barbarian, Conan, Tarzan is at his best when handled only by his creator. For anyone else to write a Tarzan novel--even one begun by Burroughs himself--is the equivalent of invading a man's home and sleeping with his wife: It's just wrong. For the most part, the story's a by-the-numbers Tarzan novel without the sexually charged tension of Tarzan's encounters with La or Nemone or the breathtaking pace of Burroughs' midperiod Tarzan adventures. As conceived by Lansdale, Ur is a moderately interesting city, though a bit dark for a Burroughs novel. Also, Lansdale cheats us of the seemingly promised confrontation between Tarzan and the giant king of Ur, while the language Tarzan uses is out of line with Burroughs' creation. Finally, having Tarzan meekly submit to Fate and walk to Pellucidar is something the Burroughsian Ape-man would never do. Overall, while this book is a noble effort, it falls short on too many levels to be really worth the effort other than as a curiosity.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 1997
Forget the monosyllabic "Me Tarzan, You Jane'' seen on the big screen: in completing the late, great Edgar Rice Burrough's manuscript, Joe R. Lansdale has recaptured the original spirit of Lord Greystroke. Lansdale's Tarzan is a wonderful melding of Burrough's vine-swinging adventurer and Lansdale's own slightly smart-mouthed characters. Hurling quips and spears with equal aplomb, this Tarzan takes the reader on an adrenalized adventure through primveal jungles and lost cities. The action scences are incredible,and given Lansdale's own background in the martial arts, highly believeable. The interaction among characters is also fantastic. And for long-time Burroughs fan's, there's even a reference to Pellucidar, the Land at the Earth's Core. I finished the book in one reading. What else could you ask for in a book (except maybe, just maye, Lansdale penning another Tarzan saga)
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on March 21, 2014
This was a satisfying finale to the Tarzan oeuvre. Joe R. Lansdale was given the (thankless) task of fleshing out Edgar Rice Burroughs' final 83-page outline, the last unfinished Tarzan novel before his death.

Lansdale created (or, at least, augmented) a vintage Tarzan plot. This was Burrough's imagined Africa: an unexplored dark continent of hidden kingdoms, sav age cannibals, and lost treasure. It was a compelling, exciting adventure yarn. Lansdale brought back many secondary series characters for a final swan song, including Jad-bal-ja, the golden lion, and Nkima, the braggart monkey. Even the fictional underground world of Pellucidar plays a prominent role.

Judging from other online reviews, I don't think this book ever found its natural audience. Lansdale wrote his novel in a contemporary voice that reflected the 1990's, instead of the 1940's when the other Tarzan novels were published. Hardcore ERB fans weren't satisfied; they wanted Burrough's signature, but decidedly outdated, prose. They didn't appreciate Lansdale's signature violence or the sometimes sarcastic dialogue. They also complained that Lansdale's Tarzan didn't seem to care when he was separated from his wife, Jane.

But other than simply mimicking an old style of prose, this was as much of an homage to Burroughs as any writer could give. Lansdale created a fun, entertaining story from ERB's outline, making the story and characters his own, while at the same time honoring the traditions of the series and the essence of the characters.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2013
could not understand what happend between Tarzan and Jane at the end, otherwise the book was good.
Enjoy the series
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