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A couple of minor Tarzan novellas from Edgar Rice Burroughs
on February 27, 2003
"Tarzan the Magnificent," the 21st book in the Tarzan series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, consists of two novellas: "Tarzan and the Magic Men" (1936) and "Tarzan and the Elephant Men" (1937), the latter of which is a minor sequel to "Tarzan and the City of Gold." In the first novella the American travel writer Stanley Wood tells a fantastic story of another one of those lost cities in the heart of Africa, where women warriors are ruled by an evil magician and there is a great diamond called the Gonfal with hypnotic powers. Tarzan dismisses the story until he sees the Gonfal at work. The result is a standard ERB adventure yarn: Tarzan goes to the lost city to rescue another lost Englishman, resists the charms and powers of a savage queen, so on and so forth. Burroughs has been using this formula since "The Return of Tarzan" when the Lord of the Jungle first encountered La, the beautiful high priestess of the flaming god of Opar. The second novella returns us to Cathne, the City of Gold, and Athne, the City of Ivory, where Tarzan takes on Phoros, the dictator of Athne. This means more political intrigue in the effort to put Zygo on the throne of Athne and another gladiator fight in the arena between the Lord of the Jungle and Hyrack. The second story really has nothing to do with the first and really constitutes little more than ERB tying up some loose ends from "Tarzan and the City of Gold" (which was also something of a misnomer of a title since all the action is in the City of Ivory in both stories).