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ERB Summary Project


Sabor, the lioness

Jad-bal-ja - The Golden Lion




Za, (Girl) dog






Esteban Miranda

Flora Hawkes

John Peebles

Dick Throck

Adolph Bluber

Carl Kraski

West coast natives

Bara, the deer

Gobu, a Mangani

Pagth, King of a Mangani tribe

Keewazi, a Waziri warrior

Cadj, High Priest of Opar

La, High Priestess, Queen of Opar

Blagh, guard of Opar

Manu, the monkey

Dooth, a priest of Opar

Oah, a priestess of Opar

The sister of Oah


Numa, Emperor of the Bolgani


Usula, Waziri warrior

Henry Morton Stanley (mentioned)

Old Man at Palace of Diamonds


Obebe, a cannibal chief



Greystoke estate


Princess Teayter - movie theater



Palace of Diamonds

Tower of the Emperors

Ogogo River


Drugged coffee

Gold and jewels

Tarzan and the Golden Lion

Summarized by
David A. Adams

David Bruce Bozarth,
Managing Editor


This seven-part serial, written between February and May 1922, was first published in Argosy All-Story Weekly, December 9,16,23,30, 1922; January 6,13,20,1923. The first book edition of this ninth Tarzan story was published by A.C. McClurg & Co., March 24, 1923, followed by a Grosset & Dunlap reprint in 1924. There are 21 chapters in this novel.

This is the introduction of Jad-Bal-Ja, the Golden Lion to the Tarzan saga. The golden lion will appear in several subsequent novels.

Chapter 1 - The Golden Lion

Sabor, the lioness, is killed by a black warrior leaving a orphan cub, a single male lion. Tarzan, Jane, and Korak returning from Pal-ul-don in Tarzan the Terrible find the cub, and Tarzan adopts him. He has a kinship with the animals that he playfully suggests to Jane comes from having a real ape father. The cub is suckled by a cur bitch, who had lost her pups to a great snake, in the village of Umaga. Her name is Za, meaning girl. They name the lion Jad-bal-ja, which means the Golden Lion in the language of the pithecanthropi of Pal-ul-don. When they finally reach home, they find their bungalow and some of the outbuildings have been rebuilt, and the fields are already being cultivated by the Waziri.

Chapter 2 - The Training of Jad-bal-ja

Old Muviro, father of Wasimbu, greets them, and there is rejoicing for many nights. Tarzan's English foreman, Jervis, has completely restored everything so that it was precisely as it had been before the raid of the Germans. Tarzan raises the lion cub to hunt with him and to stalk and kill human beings by employing a man-dummy with meat tied at its throat as his sole means of feeding. He is also taught to "fetch" the meat and return it to his master. Korak bets Tarzan 100 pounds that he has created a man-killer. Tarzan disagrees. Jad-bal-ja kills an antelope and returns it faithfully to Tarzan, but when he snaps at the ape-man he is quickly thrown on his back. "Quick is Numa, quick is Bara, the deer, but Tarzan of the Apes is lightning." Jad then obeys the orders, "Lie down and Heel." Korak loses the bet. Tarzan has created the perfect companion, a Numa who follows his commands like a well-trained hunting dog.

Chapter 3 - A Meeting of Mystery

Flora Hawkes and Esteban Miranda (a Spanish-born silent film actor and Tarzan look-alike) plan to rob the treasure vaults of Opar by substituting Miranda for Tarzan. Flora has been the maid in Tarzan's London townhouse for years and has learned the location of Opar. Miranda loves Flora, but she will hear no talk of love when it interferes with business. They conspire with four other men: John Peebles and Dick Throck (both English pugilists) Adolph Bluber, a fat German, and Carl Kraski a handsome Russian dancer. They have some trouble with the penny-pinching Bluber, who is putting up the 2000 pounds for the expedition, but finally agree to meet at a spot X on the map to equip the expedition. They will go there by twos, and Esteban is irked that Kraski gets to go with Flora. She tells the motley group that she will give them final directions when they reach spot O on the map.

Chapter 4 - What The Footprints Told

The two-year-old Jad-bal-ja is now kept in a cage. Tarzan hears of a ivory-raiding, slave-running band to the west and south of his estate. Tarzan's income has been depleted by the war, so he plans another trip to Opar for gold and jewels. He takes 50 Waziri warriors but leaves Korak and Jad at home with Jane. Opar is 25 days trek from the farm, so he allots 2 months to the journey. 21 days out, he discovers a Bara, the deer, with a manufactured arrow in its flank. He follows the blood trail and sees a footprint of a large white man. He runs his fingers through his thick, black hair in a characteristic gesture of puzzlement. Later he finds a dead Mangani killed with one of the same machine-made arrows. He considers this to be murder. Tarzan finds the Mangani tribe, and Gobu tells him that they saw Tarzan kill the dead ape. Pagth, the King of this tribe tells him to go away. He leaves and finds more footprints -- barefooted blacks, booted white men, and those of a woman or a child. The tracks lead to Opar. Presently he sees the light of a camp ahead.

Chapter 5 - The Fatal Drops

Jane goes to London because her father is seriously ill. Korak accompanies her as far as Nairobi, then returns to the ranch. Keewazi, a black, leaves Jad's cage door open, and he escapes. Tarzan enters the camp; the men think he is Esteban, but Flora recognizes him as Lord Greystoke and is afraid. The men claim to be lost and knock him out with drugged coffee.

Chapter 6 - Death Steals Behind

Blagh, a guard on the walls of Opar sees men coming across the valley. He tells Cadj, the High Priest, and keeping their plans secret from La, the crooked men wait in ambush. They recognize Tarzan, who is driving his men with the point of his spear, and Cadj wants to kill them all. Manu, the monkey, overhears their plans and runs to tell this Tarzan, who happens to be Esteban Miranda, so he does not understand. The natives make ladders and climb the kopje, urged on by "Tarzan's" spear, then return with gold blocks, which they cast down to the ground then carry away. At dawn, Manu sees a hundred frightful men of Opar follow Tarzan's trail. The monkey runs to La and warns her, "They have gone to kill Tarzan." She hurriedly speeds to the temple.

Chapter 7 - "You Must Sacrifice Him"

Cadj and his 100 men find the drugged Tarzan left behind in the thorn boma. Cadj wants to sacrifice him to the Flaming God, but Dooth reminds him that only La has this privilege. Cadj claims this power as High Priest and mate of La. A large cloud passes over the sun preventing him until an angry La appears on the scene. She realizes that she will have to treat Tarzan harshly because Cadj is already in league with Oah, a priestess who aspires to her office and powers. She orders a litter to carry him back to Opar. Tarzan awakens as a prisoner in a subterranean chamber. Dooth tells La that Cadj and Oah are planning a coup and that she must sacrifice Tarzan immediately.

Chapter 8 - Mystery of the Past

The sister of Oah is sent to remind La of her duties, and she reports back that Tarzan will be sacrificed. The plotters decide to send a messenger to Tarzan telling him that La will help him escape, then kill him and charge the treachery to La. La herself leads Tarzan out of the dungeon into a wooded gorge and tells him that she is leaving Opar forever and be with him. They plan to escape along a legendary trail to the summit of the valley where dwell a race of great apes that are half-men. Ahead, they see a great palace amongst the great trees. As they travel on they come to a native village with bee-hive huts suspended in the trees. The natives seem to have ape-like characteristics and be a lower type even more than the Waz-don and Ho-don of Pal-ul-don, however, they carry advanced weapons, javelins and metal battle-axes. As they watch, a huge gorilla (Bolgani) with the soul and brain of a man arrives. He wears gold and diamonds in profusion and begins to speak.

Chapter 9 - The Shaft of Death

The Bolgani select women and children from the natives to become slaves, and Tarzan kills him. The blacks explain that the gorilla is one of the chosen people of Numa, the Emperor, who live in the Palace of Diamonds. They come and take slaves from their people and sometimes crooked men and white shes from an unknown place. Tarzan tells them to guard La, "his mate," while he disposes of the dead Bolgani. They prepare a hut for La, and Tarzan leaves.

Chapter 10 - Mad Treachery

The 100 carriers are growing weary carrying the gold from Opar, and Esteban is having trouble killing enough game for the party, so there is grumbling and arguments. Flora is chosen to make a decision, and she elects to hunt for food before going on. She tells Owaza, the head man of her plans, and the next morning they go out to hunt. Esteban, thinking he is really Tarzan, goes hunting alone and meets up with the 50 Waziri, who are glad to see him because they had given him as lost. The unscrupulous Spaniard tells the Waziri that some white men have stolen gold from Opar and that they must help him raid their camp and take the gold. He communicates in English through Usula, a Waziri who was once a boy servant to Tarzan in London. He explains that he has developed amnesia from a falling tree branch and does not understand the Waziri language, nor does he remember any of their names. Usula agrees to help "Tarzan" until his memory returns. They take all of the gold from the camp, so when Flora and the four white men return from the hunt, they find they have been wiped out. Esteban also leaves the message that "Tarzan" has killed the false Tarzan, so he has covered his tracks. To cover their losses, Kraski convinces them to follow a plan suggested earlier by Owaza to raid some nearby Arab slavers and take their ivory.

Chapter 11 - Strange Incense Burns

Tarzan disposes of the dead Bolgani and is led by the smell of incense to explore the walled city of the Bolgani. From a hill he sees an elaborate building covered with gold and diamonds. Around it flowers, shrubs, and ornamental trees are being tended by black slaves well-guarded guarded by gorilla-men. He also observes a procession of bolgani leading a black-maned lion with golden chains. Everyone bows to the old Numa. He wonders, "Why this topsy-turvy arrangement of species?" He thinks this Palace of Diamonds with a huge, single gate may have been built to protect some ancient people from the well-armed forces from Atlantis who worked the gold mines of Opar. Next, Tarzan leaves the dead gorilla-man in a tree and decides to investigate the mountains which lie back of the valley. Here he discovers gold mines being worked by blacks guarded by gorilla-men. Finding no way out because of perpendicular cliffs, he returns to La in the native village. He finds the village empty, and an old woman left behind tells him that the bolgani have come and taken everyone away because of the dead gorilla-man found in a tree where Tarzan had left him. Tarzan goes back to the savage city and enters over the wall by night, unlocking the gates from within. He climbs the ivy on the east tower and searches for La through many rooms. Just as he opens a door on the upper floor, he turns and sees a man behind him.

Chapter 12 - The Golden Ingots

The Waziri think that taking the gold from the west coast blacks and a handful of inexperienced whites and running away is cowardly. Esteban Miranda's playing Tarzan is becoming a difficult act. He flees from a charging rhino, and his men are beginning to wonder about him. He tells them to bury the gold because they are going back to punish the intruders, which pleases the Waziri better. Finding Flora's camp, he tells the Waziri to go home and that he will handle the punishment himself. Entering alone, he reveals himself as Esteban, telling them he was captured by Tarzan but has escaped. He decides to tell Owaza about the gold because he knows he would have trouble locating it later without someone who has knowledge of the lay of the land. They dig up the gold and move it a short distance away in a heavy thicket near the edge of a river.

Chapter 13 - A Strange, Flat Tower

The man behind Tarzan turns out to be a white man, bald and old and shriveled, with a long, white beard. He was captured as a boy, a stowaway on the ship that brought Stanley to Africa. He tells Tarzan that the white woman (La) is safe for a few days and that there is a way out of the valley through a mine tunnel, but it is guarded. Tarzan also learns there are 5000 Gomangani slaves to about 10 or 11 hundred Bolgani. The slaves want to escape but have no sense of community, and they have been captives so long that it has become a habit with them. The old man tells Tarzan that La is held in a strange flat tower. Tarzan is seen by a black, who reports to the Bolgani. They tell him to lead Tarzan into a trap, and he is so dense that he tells Tarzan that he was sent to lead him into the trap. Tarzan persuades the black to lead him to La instead, and he finds her in a throne room with Bolgani and a black-maned lion upon a dais. He sends the black to tell the other slaves that they might escape with him if they would only dare to try. Just as the Bolgani are about to feed La to the lion god, Tarzan leaps into the room and casts his spear.

Chapter 14 - The Chamber of Horrors

A black-maned lion enters a walled city and hears the roar of another lion. Tarzan's spear kills the Bolgani's Emperor, and six slaves revolt, killing the three Bolgani on thrones. The old Englishman enters, and another slave, and these 9 men face 50 angry Bolgani. Suddenly, Jad-bal-ja arrives and drives the Bolgani out of the throne room. Jad is placed upon the throne in place of the dead Emperor lion, which is cast out the window. Tarzan tells La that he will drive out Cadj and place her on the throne of Opar again with the aid of the 5000 black slaves which he is sure will revolt now that the process has begun. He also sends 30 warriors to the black villages for reinforcements, then a series of negotiations in the throne room ensues when the Bolgani return for revenge. Tarzan is playing for time. The Bolgani are clever, so they completely surround the palace, then throw down bundles of oil-soaked rags from trapdoors in the ceiling, which fill the throne room with thick, suffocating smoke.

Chapter 15 - The Map of Blood

Esteban and Owaza decide to buy trade goods with a single bar of gold to hire porters to carry the horde to the coast. Esteban makes a map of the gold site upon his leopard skin with the blood of a rodent. [Meanwhile: Jane's father being well, she returns from London to find the Waziri have returned without Tarzan. She immediately goes in search of him with 50 warriors after persuading Korak to remain behind.] When Esteban and Owaza do not return to the Hawkes party, Luvini, who now acts as head-man, convinces them that they have decided to attack the Arab slavers on their own, so they head for the raiders camp. First, they send ahead a runner to warn the raiders about Esteban and Owaza, who are actually upon a completely different course. (This is a half-baked plan of Carl Kraski, who hates Esteban. The Hawkes party is floundering and making ridiculous nefarious plans according to changing circumstances.) When they reach the Arab camp a week later, the Arabs are suspicious, having seen nothing of Esteban and Owaza. [Meanwhile: Jane's safari camps a mile from the Arab camp.] Luvini plans to betray the whites by killing the Arabs AND the whites and taking Flora for sale to a black sultan of the north. However, her little negro boy warns her of the plot, and they leave the Arab camp just as the mutiny of the black slaves begins. After killing the Arabs, Luvini follows them into the jungle with his band of ex-slaves.

Chapter 16 - The Diamond Hoard

Under cover of the smoke, the old man leads them through a exit behind the throne that goes to the basement of the Tower of Diamonds. There, they each take a five pound bag of diamonds, then make a break for the east gate. Just as they arrive, the reinforcements from the village Gomangani appear, and they overcome the Bolgani. The natives want Tarzan to be their king, but he places the old-man at their head. The 100 remaining Bolgani agree to act as La's body guard and return to Opar and punish Cadj. They return to Opar with 3000 Gomangani, but Manu, the monkey has warned them of the imminent attack. A great battle ensues, but Cadj escapes to the sacrificial altar where he prepares to kill Tarzan who has been knocked unconscious by some crooked little men. Jad-bal-ja arrives just in time and bites off the horrid face of Cadj. La is made Queen again, and they have a great banquet. Tarzan and Jad set forth for home.

Chapter 17 - The Torture Of Fire

Flora Hawkes and her four confederates are pursued by Luvini and his 200 warriors through the jungle night. They stumble upon Jane's safari, who is surprised to see her London housekeeper in the wilds of Africa. [Grey eyes watch them from a tree that overhangs the camp.] Flora tells Jane that she is on a scientific expedition with Mr. Bluber and that their west coast boys have turn against them. The Waziri prepare for battle while the two women huddle by a tree for protection from the gun fire. The man in the tree carries off Flora, leaving Jane behind. She thinks it was John, her husband, and falls sobbing to the ground. Jane is captured by Luvini and his warriors who have circled the camp and taken her while no one was looking. The Waziri pursue them to the Arab village but are held off by a stout stockade. Jane is tied to a stake inside a hut near the gateway. Usula and 10 warriors pile up brush on one side of the stockade. Luvini, who thinks he has captured Flora, finds out that it is really Jane, the wife of Tarzan, and attempts to rape her. Just then, Usula begins to burn the palisade, which soon turns the entire village into a roaring inferno of flames. The blacks run out, but Jane cannot be found. A blackened corpse is found, and the Waziri think it is Jane, so they bury her ashes.

Chapter 18 - The Spoor of Revenge

Tarzan heads for home with Jad-bal-ja and his sack of diamonds. A day's march from the bungalow, he discovers tracks of his Waziri and of Jane heading away toward the south, so he follows them for six days. When he comes upon his loyal natives, Usula tells Tarzan to kill him since they have lost Jane. Getting the whole story, he heads out alone on the track of Luvini and revenge. Meanwhile: Peebles, Throck, Bluber, and Kraski drag their weary way west. They are attacked by pygmies but are saved by Tarzan. He takes them along because they would perish in the jungle without him. That night, Tarzan drops his pouch of diamonds, and Kraski picks it up and hides it inside his shirt. They arrive at a native village where Tarzan is welcomed, and he gives orders for the safe passage of the four white men to the coast. Tarzan walks away without a word of farewell.

Chapter 19 - A Barbed Shaft Kills

Kraski awakens early and leaves the village alone, afraid Tarzan will return for his diamonds. The others are perplexed by his absence, but head out for the coast without him. Kraski is attacked by ants, so tears off his clothes and runs naked. He comes to a hut and hears the voices of Esteban Miranda and Flora. He makes a skirt of leaves to cover his nakedness and appeals to them for help, but they tell him to move on by himself. Kraski tries to shoot Esteban, but the Spaniard throws a spear through his heart. Esteban picks up the bag of diamonds, thinking they are ammunition. He has gone completely mad, thinking he is really Tarzan of the Apes. He discovers the diamonds in the bag and says they are all his but that he will share them with Flora if she is a good girl. Flora hates him, but desires the great wealth they represent. Meanwhile: Tarzan discovers his diamonds are missing, so when he meets up with the three whites headed for the coast he has them stripped and searched. Finding nothing, he follows Kraski's trail, and finds his dead body. He finally comes upon Flora and Esteban just as she is deserting her in the jungle.

Chapter 20 - The Dead Return

The mad Esteban makes his camp and has a vision of a woman dressed in white. She says, "My love, my love," and he springs toward her. Tarzan comes upon Flora, Lady Greystoke's maid, and she confesses everything. He carries her to Esteban's camp just in time to see Jane approaching him. Esteban runs away, and the real Tarzan and Jane are reunited. The deception of Esteban is explained, and Tarzan tells Jad-bal-ja to fetch him, for he will not leave his beloved Jane alone in the jungle. She explains how she killed Luvani with his own knife and how she escaped the fire under a white burnoose of one of the Arabs. Jad returns with a bloody leopard skin, so they think he has killed Esteban after all. When they search for the body and the diamonds in the morning, they find that Esteban had made it to a river but must have been eaten by crocodiles. Tarzan and Jane agree to take Flora back as their maid in Africa. The Waziri arrive against Tarzan's orders to stay behind and tell him that the gold is buried near the river. However, when they dig in the spot they find it is gone. All they have is a leopard skin with a mystery map painted in blood.

Chapter 21 - An Escape And A Capture

Fleeing Tarzan, Esteban looses his leopard skin in a thorn bush. He floats down the river on a fallen tree and is captured by Obebe, the cannibal. They witch doctor calls him the river devil, but Obebe knows he is Tarzan of the Apes and is glad to have captured his hated enemy. Esteban is bound and thrown into a filthy hut, the possessor of a fortune in diamonds condemned to life imprisonment in a cannibal village. Owaza returns with 50 natives and digs up the gold and heads for the coast. He camps at a nearby village, and the native chief tells him he may sell his gold to someone nearby and save the trouble of carrying it all the way to the coast. The "man" turns out to be Tarzan, whom Owaza momentarily mistakes for Esteban. The gold gets carried to Tarzan's bungalow, and the native bearers, along with Owaza, are sent back to their own country with a gift of value. The diamonds seem to be lost at the bottom of the Ogogo River. Only the mad Esteban knows the truth, but he remains in the clutches of Obebe the cannibal (a thread wrapped up in the next Tarzan novel, Tarzan and the Ant Men.)