TARZAN AND THE JEWELS OF OPAR BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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Albert Werper a deserter from the Belgian army has come to Tarzan’s estate posing as a hunter. In reality he is in league with Achmet Zek an Arab slaver who wants Tarzan dead. During his visit Werper overhears Tarzan’s plan to go to Opar. It seems that Tarzan has lost his fortune in bad investments and must replenish it with the gold from the lost treasure of Opar. Werper gets word to his partner and follows Tarzan to Opar.

At Opar an earthquake strikes and Tarzan is knocked unconscious and trapped in the treasure vault. He awakens with amnesia and no memory of his civilized life. Collecting a bag of jewels he thinks of as pretty stones he comes upon the altar room of Opar. The beast men have captured Werper and are about to sacrifice him. Tarzan rescues him and still rejects the love of La the high priestess.

Werper being the sleazy rogue he is steals the bag of jewels. What follows is an adventure as Tarzan tracks Werper and must fight a vengeful La and her Oparian beastmen, Achmet Zek, Belgian troops and a renegade Abyssinian army.

The fifth novel in the series really starts to hit its stride. This book has what makes the Tarzan series exciting. Evil Europeans, traitorous Arab slavers, lost cities and dangerous beasts. This book is definitely a classic. Its one of my favorites in the series and sets the tone for what makes the series such an enjoyable read.

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DINNER AT DEVIANT’S PALACE BY TIM POWERS

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Greg Rivas is a successful musician at the hottest club in the city-state of Ellay. One day a man comes to visit Greg. He is the most powerful man in Ellay and needs Greg’s skills as a redeemer. A redeemer is someone who will kidnap and deprogram members of the cult of Norton Jaybush.

Greg is retired but accepts his job because the person taken by the cult is his lost love from when he was eighteen. So Greg infiltrates the cult and it takes him to the secret at their holy city of Long Beach. The adventure culminates with a meeting of Jaybush at the infamous club known as Deviant’s Palace.

Like most post-apocalypse stories the main protagonist is trying to rebuild or discover some technology to restore civilization. Greg is someone who is comfortable with the post nuke world be lives in. The story is about Greg’s coming to terms with his past. That the idealized woman of his youth is now a pudgy, whinny unattractive girl. He let’s go of the past and look toward the future. It helps him embrace taking on the responsibility to defeat the alien Jaybush’s insidious plan for humanity.

The story could be set anywhere but the post-apocalypse theme gives it a unique flavor. I bought this book because of the post-apocalypse story but found a story with so much more to offer. So if you are not a fan of science fiction or post-apocalypse stories you will still like this book. I highly recommend it.

THE SON OF TARZAN BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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The fourth novel deals with as the title says Tarzan’s son. As a young boy he befriends the ape Akut who is part of a circus act. The ape kills Rokoff’s former henchmen Paulvitch as he tries to enact revenge on the boy. The boy fearing for his new friends life flees to Africa with Akut. There like his father learns how to survive in the jungle.

Later the boy earns the name Korak which means killer in the language of the great apes. He rescues a young Arab girl who is abused by her father. This starts an adventure involving poachers, savage beast and men and Arab slavers.

This is another Tarzan book I would classify as good not great. It is interesting but Korak just doesn’t have the same appeal as his father. I see why Burroughs didn’t much with him is subsequent books.

THE ODYSSEUS SOLUTION BY MICHAEL BANKS AND DEAN R. LAMBE

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A bird like alien race called the Cweom-jik discover Earth. Unable to conquer Earth directly they devise an indirect approach. They introduce clandestinely the technology of duplicators which collapse the humans economy. At the height of the chaos they introduce themselves and offer to help. By the late 21st century they rule the Earth with an iron claw.

Brent Erlanger is a man living in a small town in Ohio. He has the misfortune to be caught with the mayor’s daughter. Under Cweon-jik rule the puppet rulers have the power of life and death. The mayor has a nasty habit of executing his daughters lovers. Brent is forced to flee to escape execution.

After adventures in the wilderness and the ruins of Cincinnati he hooks up with the resistance. Taken to their secret base at Oak Ridge Tennessee he trains to become part of the resistance. An expedition to Cincinnati discovers an old military base that was working on captured alien technology. It gives the resistance knowledge on how to mount an operation to capture an intact Cweon-jik space craft.

This was an interesting book on an alien conquest of Earth. I like how it had the main character being a normal guy who rises to become the hero. The alien conquest and rule is handled in a realistic and believable manner.

The ending left it open for a possible sequel but I can’t find any that was ever written. Still it has a satisfying conclusion and I recommend it.

So remember beware of aliens that want to help you. You never know what their motives are.

THE BEASTS OF TARZAN BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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Nicolas Rokoff has escaped from prison. His first order of business is enacting revenge on Tarzan. So he kidnaps his wife and infant son. Luring Tarzan into a trap, Rokoff strands the ape-man on a deserted island off the coast of Africa. He leaves with a note that he plans to take his son to a cannibal tribe to be raised. His wife’s fate is left to his imagination.

Now that would probably be the end for any civilized man but Tarzan was raised in the jungle. Through a series of adventures he befriends a leopard, a tribe of apes and a native by the name of Mugambi. With this motley crew Tarzan escapes the island and follows Rokoff to the interior for a final showdown.

This is the third book in the Tarzan series. I would classify as good not great. It is an interesting read and comes to a satisfying conclusion. There was just nothing that really made this book stand out.

THE TEXAS-ISRAELI WAR: 1999 BY JAKE SAUNDERS AND HOWARD WALDROP

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On August 12, 1992 in this reality the IRA succeeds in contaminating Britain’s drinking water with LSD. The prime minister and others in power under LSD decide to retaliate by nuking Ireland. And for good measure their allies South Africa and China. The war escalates and draws almost all countries into the fight. Chemical and biological weapons kill half the world’s population.

Now it is 1999 and the US like most of the world is a depopulated wasteland. Texas has seceded taking their needed oil reserves. Since manpower is scarce both sides must rely on Israeli mercenaries. It seems that Israel is one of the few countries to not get involved with the war and actually faces overpopulation.

Sol Ingelstein commands a brigade of modern Centurion tanks for the Federal Domestic Forces. His laser gatling gun mounted tanks easily crush the Texan’s obsolete armor and make it to Dallas. There they take out the Judge Roy Bean a cruiser floated up the Trinity canal to act as an artillery platform.

The federal forces have much bigger problems then the Texas revolt. The president has been kidnapped by Texan Rangers and the Vice President is growing more dictatorial. To avoid a possible greater civil war the President must be recaptured. Sol is recruited to lead the mission. Disguised as Texan military with obsolete WWII tanks and a turncoat Texan he must lead a mission into the heart of a Texan military base on the Rio Grande.

So I’m not an expert but to contaminate Britain’s water wouldn’t you need a lot of LSD. I mean like tanker trucks full and wouldn’t someone notice that? OK so 1990’s have come and gone. There was no world war. No laser gatling gun mounted tanks. What I like about books like this is to see how someone in 1974 envisioned the future. Of course they got it completely wrong but maybe forty years ago it made sense.

Discounting some of the more goofier elements in the story it stands as an entertaining read. I would recommend it for a lazy weekend afternoon if you have nothing better to do.

And also it has one of the coolest covers I’ve ever seen for a book.

THE RETURN OF TARZAN BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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The second novel of Tarzan finds him going back to Europe after his selfless sacrifice. On the trip he runs afoul of Nicolas Rokoff trying to frame a French diplomat of cheating at cards. The act of saving the diplomats honor leads Tarzan into the French secret service and adventures in Paris and north Africa. It also earns him an enemy in Rokoff.

On a trip to Cape Town, Rokoff arranges for Tarzan to be thrown overboard so he can steal valuable documents. Tarzan unlike a civilized man doesn’t drown but manages to swim to shore. He finds himself back in his beloved African jungle and decides to stay giving up the ways of man’s civilization.

Tarzan’s travels lead him to a peaceful native village under assault by Arab slavers. His leadership saves the village and he is made the war chief. He hears of a lost city with fabulous treasure and sets out with his loyal Waziri to find this city. He finds this lost city of Opar a lost colony of Atlantis. It is filled with beast men and beautiful women. La the high priestess falls in love with Tarzan and saves him from the sacrificial altar.

At the same time Jane and her fiancé are traveling around the world and are shipwrecked nearby. Through a series of adventures Tarzan reunites with Jane. His cousin dies and it is revealed that Tarzan is the true heir of the Greystoke estate. They get married and head back to civilization.

The second book was even better than the first. Nicolas Rokoff was an excellent opponent. The various locations of Paris, Algeria and lost city of Opar provided for exciting adventures throughout the book. And of course Tarzan is reunited with his love so you have a satisfying happy ending.