Edgar Rice Burroughs: Tarzan And the Jewels of Opar (2005, 1st World Library) 4 stars

From the book:Lieutenant Albert Werper had only the prestige of the name he had dishonored …

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3 stars

This is the fifth volume in the Tarzan series and about equivalent in quality with the fourth. Tarzan himself continues to entertain, but much of the story's focus dwells on other characters, to the books detriment.

The story involves a Belgian soldier named Werper, on the run after killing his superior officer. He takes refuge at Tarzan's Waziri estate, where he happens to learn of the secret source of Tarzan's African wealth, the gold and jewels hidden in the lost city of Opar. After Tarzan is knocked senseless in an earthquake, Werper steals a pouch of gems from Tarzan, and spends the rest of the book alternately traveling with the amnesiac Tarzan or fleeing from him.

While the Jewels of Opar figure heavily in the story, I was disappointed at the minimal role Opar itself played. Introduced in a previous book, Opar is a classic lost city, ruled by a beautiful high priestess of Atlantis and her beast-like cult of priests. La and her underlings do return, but only for a tantalizingly brief couple of chapters. I hope to see them again in a later book, since they're a lot of fun.

I was also frustrated that Tarzan had amnesia for the bulk of the story. The blow to the skull returns him to his original primitive state, so there's still plenty of vine-swinging and lion-fighting action, but it turns out Tarzan is much less interesting without his civilized side and the dichotomy that engenders in his character.

Jane also isn't served particularly well by the plot. She shows a lot of admirable pluck and bravery throughout, but she spends most of the story as a prisoner traded between various men.

Those gripes aside, this is still an action-packed jungle adventure. The entirety takes place in Africa, which is something I appreciated, and I found the cast more interesting than the last book, which was all about Tarzan's less appealing son and his love interest.