ERB Book Reviews

ERB Book Reviews

Edgar Rice Burroughs book reviews from fans like you.


Reviewed by: T Richard Newcomb 2011-11-16

This is an interesting book for a Tarzan in that Tarzan is used in more of a deus-ex-machina role rather than the real main character. This book also features the final appearance in the Tarzan series of the lovely High Priestess of Opar. In fact, at least half the book is spent following La's adventures as opposed to those of Tarzan.

There is an appropriately evil set of villains in Peter Zveris's band of Communists and a superbly degenerate group of Arabs. It is interesting to note how the portrayal of the Arabs changed from the honorable warriors of 'The Return of Tarzan' to the greedy and violent characters of the later books. This books was also written to express Burroughs' views of Communism and although the events themselves are dated, it remains a devastating portrayal of Communist philosophy- especially as it was practiced during the heyday of Soviet Russian power. As might be expected, the book contains a heroic good guy in the American Wayne Colt and a suitably gorgeous damsel in Miss Zora Drinov. But the real heroine must be the lovely Oparian priestess La, whose adventures occupy at least as much of the book as do Tarzan's.

In plot, the book is simple. A group of Communists, led by Peter Zveri, is planning to seize the famed wealth of the lost Atlantean city of Opar and then create an incident in Africa that will cause a war between France, Britain and Germany and ultimately enable the Soviet Union to destroy the Western powers and establish Communism all over the world. Meanwhile, the Oparians, led by the scheming priestess Oah and her lover the high priest Dooth, have deposed and imprisoned La. Tarzan, of course, must rescue La and sundry other characters and foil the Communists' plans with the help of his little monkey Nkima and his brave Waziri warriors. Opar itself plays a very large part in the book as several of the main characters spend time there. There is of course a great deal of romance though only La's feelings actively involve Tarzan. And the book contains one of the most poignant scenes in the series when a young Oparian priestess frees the captive Wayne Colt.

The story moves rapidly and constantly shifts between the Communists, Tarzan and La. The golden lion, Jad-bal-ja also plays an important role in protecting both la and Colt during their adventures in the jungle. Altogether, while the events in 'Tarzan the Invincible' are dated, the story is still imminently readable and the characters are well-drawn and memorable. Due to the Communist storyline, 'Tarzan the Invincible' is less formulaic than many of the later books and it stands as a typically well-crafted Burroughsian adventure. This is definitely one of my favorites and is highly recommended to any Tarzan fan.