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Tarzan and the Foreign Legion


Hendrik van der Meer

Corrie van der Meer

Sing Tai



Lieutenant Sokabe

Col. John Clayton (Tarzan)

S/sgt. Joe “Datbum” Bubnovich

S/sgt. Tony “Shrimp” Rosetti

Capt. Jerry Lucas

Captain Matsuo

Tiang Umar

Oju (orang-utan)

Tak van der Bos

Hooft (outlaw leader)

Sarina (female outlaw)

Captain Kervyn van Prins


Col. Kanji Tajiri

Lt. Groen de Lettenhove

Keta (Sumatran monkey)

S/sgt Bill Davis

S/sgt Carter Douglas

Alauddin Shah

Lt. Cmdr. Bolton

Tarzan and the "Foreign Legion"

Summarized by
David Bruce Bozarth


Published by ERB, Inc. in August 1947, this was the last Tarzan novel published during Edgar Rice Burroughs' life (1875-1950). "Foreign Legion" was written between June-September 1944 while Burroughs resided in Honolulu, Hawaii. ERB was then active as the oldest correspondent during World War II, and those experiences obviously inspired much of the novel.

Burroughs wrote a preface to the edition dated 11 Sep. 1944 expressing his gratitude to the Honolulu library and a number of individuals, with the Netherlands government, who provided background information regarding Sumatra.


Hendrik van der Meer, wife, daughter, and two Chinese servants take to the hills after the Japanese invade. Weeks later they are betrayed to the Japanese, only Corrie van der Meer and Sing Tai escape. Two years pass. Corrie and Sing Tai lived with friendly natives in the mountains. Again they are betrayed by Hoesin to the Japanese. Village boy Alam is directed to take Lieutenant Sokabe to the girl. Sokabe is to bring her back and kill the Chinese, which is done.


Colonel John Clayton of the RAF joins an American Liberator bomber on a recon and photograph mission over Sumatra. S/sgt. Joe "Datbum" Bubnovitch, S/sgt. Tony "Shrimp" Rosetti, and Capt. Jerry Lucas are members of the "Lovely Lady's" crew. The bomber is shot down. Clayton parachutes to safety and strips down to his accustomed jungle attire, loin cloth and knife. Lucas, Bubnovitch and Rosetti are the only other survivors.


Clayton's jungle knowledge feeds the party and steers them clear of tigers. Meanwhile, Corrie is taken to Captain Matsuo, who claims her. Sokabe declines to turn her over, his family is samurai and related to a general in the army. Matuso is a peasant from a long line of peasants.


The crew of the Lovely Lady learns to eat raw meat. After getting water at a stream, Clayton tells them there is a man on the trail ahead. It is Sing Tai, who survived the bayonet thrust but is badly wounded. Taking Sing Tai to the friendly Tiang Umar's village, they wait for Alam to return to lead them to Corrie. Clayton makes a bow and arrows. We learn Lucas and Rosetti are misogynists.


They go to rescue Corrie and discomfort the Japanese. At night Lucas, Bubnovitch and Rosetti create a diversion. Clayton rescues Corrie. They rendezvous and head into the mountains. Sing Tai is left with Tiang Umar to recover his wounds. The next day the remainder of the party fashions bows and arrows. Lucas chats with Corrie.


They travel deeper into the mountains, eventually stopping to make clothing and footgear. Corrie, left alone in the cave while the men hunted, is captured by natives interested in the reward for her capture. Clayton, upon return, determines what has happened and they set out to find her. That evening Corrie escapes into the jungle. Treed by a tiger, she sleeps until dawn, then resumes her way.


Lucas and the others, in a tree waiting for the tiger to pass, see Corrie appear. Before the cat can attack, Clayton leaps and the other three are not far behind. The victory yell of the bull ape finally identifies Clayton to Lucas as Tarzan. Moving on, Jerry Lucas is drawn to Corrie as they talk. At the cave Tarzan orders preparation for defense, the ten abductors are approaching.


Tarzan's party successfully thwarts the native attack, killing some and wounding many. They arm themselves with kris and parangs taken from the natives. Tarzan discusses his philosophy regarding hatred. Later Jerry reveals his concern to Corrie for his missing men.


At dinner, Tarzan creates footwear to disguise their trail. He talks to an elephant. Rosetti bravely leads a charging rhino away from the others. Tarzan kills the rhino, saving Rosetti.


They eat deer and rhino hump. The discussion again turns to philosophy. From the jungle Amat, a collaborationist with the Japanese watches. Amat is treed by a tiger.


Tarzan's party reaches the top of the escarpment. Elsewhere, Amat reports the five whites to the Japanese. All but Tarzan follow a trail to a village (Amat's) while Clayton follows another trail that might be Dutch guerrillas. Bubnovitch and Rosetti are captured by Lt. Tada's squad as Lucas and Corrie watch from hiding. Tarzan kills a python killing a young orangutang. Tarzan speaks. Other apes arrive. Tarzan bests challenger Oju. Clayton learns there are white men camped nearby.


Jerry and Corrie kill two Japanese soldiers, taking the firearms and hiding the bodies. Tarzan spies on the camp of white men. The tree branch breaks, the fall knocks him unconscious. He awakes among cutthroats and meets a fellow prisoner, Tak van der Bos.


Rosetti and Bubnovitch are mistreated by the Japanese. That night Tarzan and the Dutchman escape from the bandit camp. Jerry and Corrie dodge a tiger near the native village. Lucas shoots the Japanese officer about to behead one of his men. Rosetti and Bubnovitch take advantage running into the jungle with Japanese firearms. They run into Lucas, Corrie, Tarzan (just arrived) and Tak (who is embraced by Corrie). They decide to attack the Japanese in the village.


The Allied soldiers win. Amat tries to curry favor. They learn a larger Japanese force is nearby and will come when the outpost does not report. Corrie devises an ambush plan that meets with Tarzan's approval. Elsewhere, Hooft, the leader of the bandits, is angry; his band follows Tarzan and Tak's trail. Amat is captured by Hooft and talks. They hear Corrie's ambush take place. Amat is forced to deliver a message to Corrie that a white man with a beard was waiting at the edge of the village. Corrie goes alone into the jungle.


Tarzan leaves to find the Dutch guerrillas and convinces him he is Tarzan, John Clayton, Lord Greystoke. They eventually believe him, one man saying "...there's the scar on his forehead he got in his fight with the gorilla when he was a boy..." (NOTE: This may be the source a frequent misconception among Tarzan fans. The forehead scar came from Tarzan's fight with Terkoz in TOA.)


Corrie is captured by Hooft. Tak later discovers she is gone. Amat is questioned. The party leaves the village to find Corrie. Meanwhile, Hooft and his men return on their trail to where Sarina is on guard. Hooft tells Sarina he might keep Corrie for himself and get rid of her. Corrie is frightened by the exchange, Sarina is a very tough and well-armed woman. The outlaws head into the jungle.


Tak, Lucas and the two sergeants find the outlaw camp deserted. They go back to the village to await Tarzan's return. Tarzan, meanwhile, speaks with Captain Kervyn van Prins, who agrees to join forces. Tarzan leaves, the guerrillas are to follow. Elsewhere, Hooft's band stops at dawn, leaving Sarina on guard. Sarina frees Corrie (the girl's father had once hired an attorney for her). Corrie heads back. Hearing natives, she hides in a tree, then spends the night there.


Tarzan arrives at the village at night and learns of Corrie's abduction. In the morning they instruct native girl Lara the guerillas were coming and have them wait until they return. Elsewhere, by the time Hooft wakes, four guards had been changed, all claim the Dutch girl did not leave on their shift. Meanwhile, from her tree, Corrie sees Iskander's natives (attacked them in chapter 8) with two Japs. They link up with Hooft's Dutch outlaws. Tarzan, meanwhile, finds Corrie's spoor. He goes ahead, the rest following. Corrie is treed by a tiger. She and the monkeys throw fruit at the beast. Oju, still angry, jumps Corrie. Her rifle discharges. Oju carries her into the jungle.


Lucas, Bubnovitch, Rosetti, and van der Bos hear a distant shot. Thinking it must be a Japanese, they advance cautiously with a battle plan. Tarzan also hears the shot. He soon discovers what happened and follows Oju's scent. He kills the orangutang. Returning to the trail, they wait until the others arrive. Soon they are back at the village and met by the Dutch guerilla fighters.


The Dutch officers are thrilled to learn Corrie and Tak are not dead. Jerry, however, is jealous of Corrie's attentions toward van der Bos. Tarzan, sensing the man's anger, takes Lucas hunting. Corrie, petulant over Jerry's rebuffs, eats with the Dutchmen. Amat, meanwhile, has gone to the Japanese camp. He speaks to Col. Kanji Tajiri, reporting 40 Japanese soldiers killed, the number of white men at the village, and the girl. Amat is dismissed and fed. The colonel makes plans to retaliate with two companies in the morning, with Amat to lead them.


In the morning Tarzan has two thoughts: that Jerry and Corrie are obviously in love with each other but somehow at odds, and that the Dutch guerillas have not adequately planned the defense of the village against Japanese attack. Lara, meanwhile, has reported Amat missing and suggests he went to the Japanese. Clayton and Lucas speak of their modifications to the defense plan. Tarzan offers to act as a look out four to five miles from the village. Lucas finds Tak next to him along the ambush site. Tak remarks how he and his wife have always liked Corrie. Jerry realizes he's been a fool. Tarzan returns with the advance warning. In the village Corrie stands ready with a rifle next to Lieutenant Groen de Lettenhove. They hear gunfire in the jungle.


The Japanese companies are mauled. Amat escapes. Jerry is shot. A doctor does all he can for Lucas. Corrie sits with Lucas. Later the evil village chief is executed and the village spared burning. The guerillas move out, Lucas on a litter. Tarzan, thinking Lucas could not survive, goes into the jungle and hunts Japanese to avenge his American friend. Clayton swings into the forest, wandering. He follows an unfamiliar scent and comes upon a primitive pygmy tribe and picks up a monkey friend, Keta. Tarzan moves on, enjoying this interlude from the war.


Rosetti is on guard duty when Sarina, alone, approaches the guerilla camp. Corrie vouches for Sarina, who has quit Hooft's gang. Sitting with Lucas, Corrie and Rosetti, Sarina reveals her background and past. Bubnovitch ribs Rosetti about the latter's sudden interest in the attractive Eurasian woman.


The Dutch guerillas break camp and while on the trail, Bubnovitch ponders Rosetti's 180 about face as regards women. Jerry develops a fever. Lucas speaks of "Mabel" in his delirium. Corrie is heartbroken, believing he still loves the girl who ditched the captain to marry a 4-F. Hours later Lucas awakes, fever gone and hungry. Upon questioning, Corrie is relieved to learn "Mabel" was a nickname for Jerry's mother.


Lucas is nearly recovered when van Prins locates a more or less permanent camp. The airmen and two women make plans to leave for the coast. Tarzan arrives at the camp, pleased that Lucas survived. In the discussion that follows Tarzan reveals in a lengthy statement, how he became immortal via a witch doctor.


Tarzan does reconnaissance for the Dutch over a period of many days. He locates Hooft's camp, near the Japanese camp, where he sees two prisoners. Clayton returns to the village where they had left Sing Tai, who is recovered and goes back with Tarzan. Meanwhile, Sarina is worried that Rosetti, gone hunting with bow and arrow, has been gone too long. Shortly, Rosetti returns with a hare. Sing Tai is reunited with his mistress. Tarzan mentions gossip that indicates the Japanese prisoners are Davis and Douglas, the missing Lovely Lady crew members. Twenty depart with Tarzan to rescue the prisoners. Matsuo and Sokabe, drunk, quarrel the night away. Staff sargents Carter Douglas and Bill Davis bait the Japanese guard. Tarzan kills the guard and releases the prisoners and the entire rescue party leaves.


The "Foreign Legion," now numbering 10, leaves the Dutch camp. Though mostly with Tarzan, little Keta becomes friends with Rosetti. The going is tough. At an evening fire Tak van der Bos gives a history of the country. Later, they talk of going home to the United States.


Jerry approaches Corrie and avows his love for her, Corrie accepts; they step out into the night to kiss, only to find Rosetti and Sarina locked in a passionate embrace. The group travels for many days, often exhausted at night because of the difficult terrain. A month out from the Dutch camp, Tarzan is on forward patrol. He sees Japanese soldiers and observes them, unaware of a python above him. Battling the snake, he falls and is captured by the Japanese. Little Keta flees, seeking Rosetti. With Lucas' permission, Rosetti hurries ahead and sees Tarzan a prisoner of the Japanese. He returns with the news. The Foreign Legion follow, eventually rescuing Clayton, then wipe out the Japanese soldiers so that no tales were carried to a larger unit.


Six weeks later the group reach the coast near a town where Sarina had friends who could furnish them a boat and provisions. Tarzan enters the town at night to get a sarong for Sarina. In the morning Sarina meets with Alauddin Shah, who gladly tells her where a boat is hidden. A month passes while the proa is provisioned. At last they depart in the middle of the night, Sarina at the helm. Long days pass, then smoke is sighted on the horizon. Unable to avoid detection, they watch an armed Japanese merchantman steaming toward them. The ship fires upon the proa.


Prepared to fight to the death, the group stands ready. Jerry turns to Corrie and marries her by word and deed. She accepts his ring. The group opens fire with their rifles, clearing the merchantman's deck. A direct hit kills Sing Tai. Van der Bos loses a leg. The company is knocked into the water. Tarzan kills a shark attacking van der Bos. Suddenly the merchantman explodes. A British sub surfaces and takes the survivors on board. Tak dies of his injuries while they tell their tale to Lt. Cmdr. Bolton. Later, Rosetti asks if Bolton can perform marriages at sea. "Then you got two jobs right now, skipper," said Rosetti.