The Son of Tarzan

by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Series: Tarzan 4
Reviewed date: 2018 Jan 18
Rating: 3
222 pages
cover art
cover art

This is the best Tarzan sequel yet, and I'm afraid I might be a bigger fan of Korak than of Tarzan.

Paulvitch isn't dead. Years as a prisoner of a cannibal tribe have left him a broken shell of a man. The crew of a passing ship, the Marjorie W, rescues him. Before returning to England, the Marjorie W stops at Jungle Island, where the ape Akut approaches the men. Akut is searching for Tarzan, and figures that if he travels with these strange men, they will take him to Tarzan. Paulvitch claims the ape as his property and the crew take them both to London.

In London, Paulvitch puts Akut in the circus. Ten-year-old Jack Clayton, son of Tarzan and Jane, sneaks out to go see the ape. Tarzan has told his son nothing of his origins as an ape-man, and Paulvitch sees this as an opportunity for revenge. He encourages Jack's interest in the ape, and Jack eventually learns enough of Akut's language to communicate with him. Jack and Akut run away back to Africa, where they live in the jungle. Under Akut's tutelage, Jack learns the ways of the jungle and becomes an ape-man like his father.

Years pass. A grieving Tarzan and Jane move to their African estate, where unbeknownst to any of them, they are a mere hundred miles from where Jack roams the jungle with Akut. Jack, now known as Korak the Killer, murders African tribesmen for their weapons and trinkets. We're supposed to think this is OK, I guess, because Korak is a beast and so has no moral accountability. And/or, those African tribesmen are evil degenerates at heart, and would kill Korak if they saw him first, but I still find Korak's body count disturbing.

Korak happens by a village and rescues a little girl, Meriem, from her abusive father. (Her father, The Sheik, is a cruel Arab who has carved out a little fiefdom for himself in sub-Saharan Africa where he rules a tribe of black Africans.) Meriem and Korak live in the jungle with Akut, and Meriem becomes as much at home in the trees and forests as Korak. But alas--Meriem is kidnapped! Thus begins the typical Burroughs plot: kidnappings, rescues, re-kidnappings, and so forth. Meriem is rescued by Tarzan and lives at his estate for a while, learning the niceties of civilization. Then she's kidnapped again, etc. Finally everyone meets: Tarzan re-unites with his son, and Meriem (now being a woman) realizes her love for Korak. Tarzan and Jane have found their lost son and gained a daughter-in-law.

And it turns out that Meriem isn't an Arab waif after all. She was kidnapped as a child and taken to Africa by The Sheik. Meriem is an honest-to-god princess--a descendent of French royalty. Nothing but the best for the son of Tarzan, I guess, and apparently Arabs aren't the best kind of people. *sigh* I liked the book, but its racial attitudes detract from my enjoyment.

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