Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins with Jad-bal-ja the Golden Lion

by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Series: Tarzan
Reviewed date: 2018 Dec 6
Rating: 1
55 pages
cover art

The further adventures of the Tarzan twins
This book for young readers starts where The Tarzan Twins ends. Tarzan has rescued Dick and Doc from the Bagalla cannibals. The boys are safe with Tarzan at his African estate, but their time in the jungle has awakened a hunger in them, a hunger for the primeval jungle.

"There is a fascination about it that I cannot explain," replied Dick. "I am afraid of the jungle and yet I want to go back into it."

The Golden Lion
Tarzan introduces the boys to Jad-bal-ja the Golden Lion. Then he takes them into the jungle for some nice, safe fun. With Tarzan and Jad-bal-ja to protect them there will be no danger.

Dick and Doc were safe under the protection of the famous ape-man and while they were looking forward to many interesting experiences, they were sure that from now on they would be perfectly safe and that never again would they be in such distressing danger as that from which they had just escaped.

Not likely!

Tarzan abandons two young boys in the jungle
Jad-bal-ja senses something wrong, so Tarzan leaves the boys with the lion and swings off to investigate. While he's gone, a titanic storm rocks the jungle. Dick and Doc climb trees and ride out the storm. They survive. When the weather clears, Jad-bal-ja is gone and they are alone. Convinced that not even Tarzan could survive that hurricane, the boys try to find their own way back to the Greystoke estate. They are hopelessly lost.

Frightful priests of The Flaming God
Twenty priests of The Flaming God have been forced out of Opar and they are traversing the jungle looking for a site to build a new temple. These brutish and frightful sun worshippers have kidnapped a little white girl. They have named her Kla and intend her to be their high priestess. She will make sacrifices to The Flaming God on their behalf.

An aside
Opar is one of Burroughs's fantastic lost civilizations, said to be a lost colony of Atlantis. So although within the story the Oparians live in Africa, they are not native Africans. They are the descendents of Atlanteans, inbred and interbred with apes until only a glimmer of their humanity remains.

Meanwhile, the boys have trouble finding food in the jungle, but that problem is tabled when they stumble across the priests of The Flaming God. The boys stay concealed and follow the twenty brutes to see if they can rescue the kidnapped girl.

As they moved back into the forest above the trail taken by the frightful twenty they put behind them all thought of their own safety and welfare, sacrificing their own chances for rescue in the interest of a total stranger; but that was because, being what they were, they could not have done otherwise.

Many generations of brave men lay behind them, men to whom duty meant more than comfort or safety or even life. These two boys did not think of the thing that they were doing as a brave, self-sacrificing, courageous thing to do. They only thought of it as something that they must do, as each had been reared among people in whom it is almost a hereditary conviction that a man is the natural protector of women and the weak. In their veins coursed the sort of blood that sent the women and the children to the life boats of the Titanic while the men remained on the deck until the great ship took its final dive into the icy waters of the Atlantic.

Oparian plots!
Gulm is the leader of the band of outcast Oparians priests, which pleases Gulm very much, but pleases others quite a bit less. Ulp is afraid Gulm will sacrifice him to The Flaming God. He figures if there's no high priestess, there can be no sacrifice. So during the night while all are asleep, Ulp takes Kla outside the encampment, intending that a prowling lion should devour her.

Dick and Doc whisk the girl up into a tree just as the lion pounces. Her name is Gretchen. Her father is a missionary and she grew up around the jungle, so she's able to help them locate food. The party is still hopelessly lost, however.

The sun worshipers recapture Dick and Gretchen. Doc is still at large. Gulm hurries the party along: as soon as they reach the site of the new temple, he will have Kla sacrifice Dick to The Flaming God. Doc harries the party, killing several with well-placed arrows.

But time runs out. The priests arrive at the site of the new temple. The altar is built, the moment of sacrifice has arrived. Jad-bal-ja finds Doc, and together they rush towards the altar. The sun worshippers scatter and Jad-bal-ja kills Gulm. Tarzan arrives. He orders the remaining sun worshippers to return to Opar and serve La. They sullenly agree.

Gretchen is reunited with her father, the missionary Doctor Karl von Harben. It's a happy ending all around.

Surprisingly not racist
The Tarzan Twins was fairly bursting with casual and explicit racism, so it was surprising to read this book and find almost no racism at all. Most of that is because this story, set entirely in Africa, contains zero African characters. Doc is American, Dick and Tarzan are English, Gretchen and Doctor Karl von Harben are (presumably) German, the priests of The Flaming God are Oparians/Atlantean, and Jad-bal-ja is a lion.

Actually, to be completely fair, Doctor Karl von Harben does have a group of Africans with him in his search for Gretchen. One is even named--Natando--but they don't figure into the story.

Link: Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins with Jad-bal-ja the Golden Lion [gutenberg.net.au]

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