Adventure Fiction Book Review

Tarzan and the Forbidden City

by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Series: Tarzan 20
Reviewed date: 2023 Jan 14
Rating: 2
191 pages
cover art

Deep in the heart of Africa is a hidden valley where two ancient lost civilizations fight one another. It's a plot device ERB has used before. It's well-worn, but it works. It works better in Tarzan and the Lost Empire than it does here in Tarzan and the Forbidden City; this book has problems. But the problems are less to do with the core story than with ERB being sloppy with some plot threads and lazy and uncreative with the action sequences.

The two cities are Ashair and Thobos, and they lie on Lake Horus inside a forbidden valley of Tuen-Baka. Ashair is ruled by Queen Atka, and the people worship the god Brulor, whose temple is underwater on the bottom of Lake Horus. The people of Thobos worship Chon, and their rules are King Herat and Queen Mentheb.

Then there is the Father of Diamonds--a name for the god Brulor, but also a giant diamond. Brian Gregory disappears while searching the African wilderness for the Father of Diamonds, and Tarzan joins Paul D'Arnot and the Gregory family (Mr. Gregory and sister Helen Gregory.) They all go off into the jungle and end up at Lake Horus in Tuen-Baka. Both Ashair and Thobos are hostile, but Ashair more so. The people of Thobos are mostly OK once their crummy king and queen are deposed.

The most fun part is the underwater stuff. The temple of Brulor is underwater, and the Ashairians have fancy scuba gear left over from an ancient civilization. (Better than scuba, even, because these suits create air from the water. Nice.) There are some daring underwater rescues and fights, made more fraught because the water is murky and the divers can't talk while underwater.

It's not a super strong story, in the end, but satisfactory overall I think.

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