THE MAN-EATER BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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Copyright 1915

Two hunters in the Belgian Congo visit a mission. One of them Jefferson Scott Jr. falls in love with the missionaries daughter and is soon married. He decides to stay with the mission an soon the two have a daughter. Tragedy strikes when a native uprising kills Jefferson and his in-laws. The wife takes her newborn daughter to live with her father in-law in Virginia. Jefferson Sr. welcomes to two into his home where the three live a happy life.

Nineteen years later Jefferson Sr. dies. It is assumed that all his inheritance will pass to his granddaughter Virginia. Unfortunately the will can’t be found and Scott Tyler the nephew has come back. He is a sleazy good for nothing that was disinherited by Jefferson Sr. Without a will he stands to inherit half the estate. When he is rebuffed in his attempts to woo the beautiful Virginia he decides to dispute her claim. Unless a legitimate marriage certificate is produced to prove Virginia is the granddaughter he will inherit all.

Virginia writes to her father’s friend for a signed deposition that he attended the ceremony. Robert Gordon died a few years ago but his son Dick Gordon decides to help. Bored with his rich lifestyle he mounts an expedition to the Congo to find the certificate in the ruins of the mission. The nephew discovers this and goes after him with his hired thugs. Dick Gordon is helped by a lion he rescues from a native’s trap and together the two foil the nephews plot.

This is a fascinating obscure story that I came across. It’s a fun read with plenty of action and intrigue. It has a loathsome villain and a great hero that wins the day and gets the beautiful girl. So this is my last Edgar Rice Burroughs books I have. There are three more that I never read and may someday in the future but this is the last of my reviews for Burroughs for now. He was a prolific writer that is best known for creating Tarzan. He did so much more and tried his hand at practically every genre. Science Fiction, westerns, crime, historical, social commentary, even a zombie story before they became popular.

So I will now write a review every weekend or other weekend depending on how long the current book I am reading will take to finish. I am now starting The Warlord an eighties post-apocalyptic series. I am sure that there will be plenty of books that are obscure and you have never heard of before. And if you do recognize it I hope it brings back a pleasant memory as they do for me.

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THE ETERNAL SAVAGE BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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Nu the son of Nu is hunting for Oo the fearsome prehistoric saber-toothed tiger. While sleeping in a cave an earthquake strikes and buries Nu. It miraculously preserves him for over 100,000 when another earthquake awakens him in modern Africa circa 1913. He finds himself in a strange new world and sets out to find his tribe.

Not to far away Tarzan has guests at his estate. One is a young American woman from Beatrice, Nebraska named Victoria Custer. Victoria is the reincarnation of Nu’s mate Nat-ul. She has dreams of Nu and feels mysteriously drawn to the strange primitive caveman. She has typical adventures found in Burroughs stories. Attacked by lions and kidnapped by Arab slavers. Nu saves her but realizes that they come from two different worlds.

An earthquake strikes and Nu is knocked unconscious. He wakes up back in his time and sets off back to his tribe. Once again there are further adventures where he has to rescue Nat-ul who has been kidnapped by a rival tribe. At the end a massive earthquake destroys Nu’s tribe. Back in 1913 Victoria wakes up and finds that her adventures were all a dream. She goes to the cave she dreamed of and finds the fossilized bones of a caveman with the head of Oo. Oo the beast killed as an offering to Nat-ul , to her.

This is an interesting book. It explored reincarnation which Burroughs has used in other stories. I liked the time travel aspect of the story. This was a solid adventure story. Tarzan has a minor cameo appearance. Barney Custer the brother of Victoria will get a story of his own in the next book. I suppose that somewhere in the world is the reincarnated soul of Nu waiting for Victoria. I’m surprised that Burroughs never wrote that story.

THE LAD AND THE LION BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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The story starts in an unnamed European country. The king has been assassinated in a coup and his young son Michael is taken out of the country. What follows is essentially two separate stories running parallel to each other.

The even chapters tell the story of Michael. He is on a ship when it goes down and finds himself floating alone in a lifeboat. He has no memory of his past life. He is rescued by a crazed deaf mute on an old steamer. His only other passenger is a caged lion. The old man enjoys to torture the lion and also starts to torment the boy.

One day he is careless and the lion escapes and kills the old man. The boy is unharmed since they formed a friendship. The boat beaches itself on the shores of North Africa and both leave for the freedom of the wilds. Eventually the boy rescues a Bedouin girl named Nakhla. She finds that the boy now a young man has no knowledge of speech. She names him Aziz which means beloved and teaches him Arabic. What follows is his adventures in North Africa and how he saves Nakhla with the help of his lion friend. He later marries Nakhla and settles with her father’s tribe.

The odd chapters deal with the European country. The new king Otto is a tyrant kept in power by Sarnya the head of the army and secret police. His son Ferdinand is even worse. This story deals with the intrigue as various factions plot to overthrow the government. Eventually Ferdinand becomes king and proceeds to bankrupt the country for his own extravagant lifestyle. He is killed with his mistress by a group of young officers and Sarnya becomes dictator. The final chapter ends with him receiving a telegram from Michael congratulating him and offering his sympathy.

This book was an interesting story. I liked the use of telling two separate stories with alternating chapters. One was a jungle adventure that Burroughs was known for. The other was a tragic tale that had no happy ending. It’s tied together at the end quite nicely.

THE CAVE GIRL BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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Waldo Emerson Smith-Jones is a blueblood from a reputable Boston family. He is also a weak mama’s boy that has lead a sheltered life. He has devoted his life to academic pursuits and has grown up physically weak and in poor health. He takes a cruise in the south Pacific and is washed overboard and finds himself on a deserted island.

It quickly becomes obvious that Waldo has no practical knowledge to survive. One day he runs into the primitive cave men that inhabit the island. Terrified he runs but is forced to fight when he is cornered and surprises himself when he actually fights them off. Later he meets a beautiful cave girl named Nadara. She has seen his fight and mistakes Waldo’s screams of terror for war cries.

She teaches Waldo basic woodcraft to survive. She convinces him to return to her tribe and that he must fight the strongest man to be accepted. Waldo is terrified and runs off. Later is feels sorry for himself and decides to change. He works out and becomes strong and decides to confront his fears. Earthquakes, brutal cave men, pirates, cannibals and his domineering shrew of a mom come between Waldo before he can reconcile with Nadara.

This is a bit of a departure for Burroughs. Usually his protagonists always start off as perfect, virile specimens of manhood. Waldo is a weakling, a coward and whipped mom’s boy. He actually grows through the story to be a strong self confident man. I thought it added a lot of character to the main protagonist. Its also a fast paced adventure story in the typical tradition of Burroughs.

THE MONSTER MEN BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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Professor Maxon is one of those kooky mad scientists. He wants to create life and moves to an isolated island off the coast of Borneo. He takes his young daughter Virginia, Von Horn a former naval officer with a criminal background and several native servants. After twelve attempts that result in deformed monstrosities he finds success with number thirteen. Thirteen is a perfect specimen with an intelligent but naïve mind. Maxon goes about educating him with the goal of marrying him to his daughter.

This doesn’t set well with Von Horn. He desires Virginia for himself and works to turn opinion against thirteen. At the same time the servants conspire with a local Malay pirate Muda Sarif. He also desires the young Virginia and the chest of treasure rumor has that the professor has with him.

The compound is attacked by the pirates and Virginia is abducted and taken to the interior. Thirteen his able to rally his fellow creations and off they go to rescue Virginia.

This book is sort of a homage to The Island of Doctor Moreau. It’s an OK book. One of his earlier writing from 1913. For some reason I just never got into this story.

THE LAND OF HIDDEN MEN BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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Gordon King is an American doctor that has come to Cambodia to study the local diseases. At the jungle’s edge the guide he hires refuses to go with him. He is scared of the ghosts that inhabit the jungle. Gordon is not deterred and enters alone. He then quickly gets lost and contracts malaria.

Wandering half dead he is rescued by a family. They are escaped slaves from the city of Lodidhapura. After recovering he rescues a young girl from a panther. The girl is Fou-tan a princess of the other city of Phom Dhek. She was escaping from being forced to marry an evil man. She was subsequently captured by Lodidhapura and made a dancing girl of the leper king.

The two are later captured by Lodidhapura and what follows is adventures of the two as they escape and are recaptured by the evil fiancée of Fou-tan. Eventually Gordon diagnoses the leper king’s condition as being from the mushrooms he eats. Convincing him to abstain from the mushrooms his leprosy goes away and in gratitude offers his army to rescue Fou-tan. Gordan defeats the evil Bharata Rhatan and wins the princess and the kingdom.

This story is like a Tarzan book without Tarzan. It has all the elements, a lost civilization with two warring factions. A beautiful princess that is the unwanted affections of despotic rulers. The young handsome hero defeats the despots and gets the girl. A simple formula but it works. One of Burroughs’s stand alone novels that I really enjoy.