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Volume 0490
Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar
Joe Jusko Art

ERBzine 0490
ERBzine 0491
ERBzine 0491a
J. Allen St. John: Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar - FP - 8 sepia interior plates

Large DJ Image
Larger Cover Image
Large Cover Art by St. John
Official ERB, Inc. Library Edition
Written by ERB between September and October 1915
Art by J. Allen St. John
Part I: Publishing History ~ Summary ~ Cast ~ Chapters I-VII
Historiated Initials ~ Decorations ~ Interior Line Art ~ US Paperback Covers
Read the Online e-Text Edition (on hold)

Written by ERB between September and October 1915
All-Story Weekly: 1916 November 18, 25 ~ December 2, 9, 16
    P.J. Monahan: November 18 cover ~ no interiors
A.C. McClurg: April 20, 1918 ~ 350 pages ~ 1st Ed. Print Run: 50,000 ~ Total 426,500 ~ Heins word count: 60,000
    J. Allen St. John: DJ and eight coated halftone sepia plates
A.C. McClurg: 1919
A.L. Burt: 1919 ~ St. John DJ and frontispiece only
A.L. Burt: 1920 ~ different size book and St. John frontispiece
Virginia Leader: 1920 June-December & 1921 January-March ~ 20-page digest-sized magazine
    Frank Parker cover June & January and interiors (see ERBzine 491a)
Grosset & Dunlap and McClurg "mixed edition": 1927 ~ St. John DJ and eight interiors
Grosset & Dunlap: 1927 ~ St. John DJ and frontispiece
Big Little Book Whitman Publishing: 1940 ~ 432 pages
    Robert Weisman cover ~ Rex Maxon abridged art from 1930 daily strips
Grosset & Dunlap: 1940 ~ no St. John interiors
Grosset & Dunlap Madison Square wartime edition: 1943 ~ St. John DJ and title page decoration
Grosset & Dunlap: January 1950
    C. Edmund Monroe, Jr. DJ ~ Rafael Palacios: map of Africa endpapers and decorated title page
Ace paperback: May 1963 ~ 192 pages ~ Subtitle: "The Jungle Secret of / The Lost Atlantis"
    Frank Frazetta cover and title page
Ballantine paperback: July 1963 ~ 158 pages
    Richard Powers cover
House of Greystoke: 1964 ~ 124 pages ~ magazine text and new St. John and Parker illustrations
Grosset & Dunlap: 1967 ~ C.E. Monroe DJ and no interiors
Ballantine paperback: April 1969
    Robert Abbett cover
Ballantine paperback: April 1975
    Neal Adams cover
Del Rey: May 1991 ~ 184 pages
    Barclay Shaw cover
Del Rey Two Novels for the Price of One edition: January 1997 ~ with Jungle Tales of Tarzan ~ 340 pages
    J. Allen St. John cover
Del Rey movie tie-in edition: 1998
    Casper van Dien photo cover 

For detailed information, see Robert B. Zeuschner's
Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Bibliography (ERB, Inc., 2016).
Click on or call 214-405-6741 to order a copy.


From ERBzine Pulp Bibliography: Page ERBzine 0460

From the ERBzine Illustrated Big Little Book Bibliography
The Big Little Book version of TARZAN AND THE JEWELS OF OPAR
was adaptated from Rex Maxon's 102 daily Tarzan strips from 1930.
Read this entire series in ERBzine starting at: has reprinted ALL of Maxon's Tarzan Sundays and dailies at:
Our Illustrated Bibliography of ERB's BLB editions is featured at:
Our giant online Bibliography of ALL of ERB's actual books is featured in our
Official Burroughs Bibliophiles Website

See Many More at: 

Japanese Edition Illustrated by Motoichiro Takebe

Danish Edition ~ From the Nels Myrhoj Collection

Frank Frazetta unused preliminary from the early '60s
Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar

Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar
In the previous novel- The Son of Tarzan - Tarzan and Jane's son, Jack Clayton, a.k.a. Korak, had come into his own. In this novel Tarzan returns to Opar, the source of the gold where a lost colony of fabled Atlantis is located, in order to make good on some financial reverses he has recently suffered. While Atlantis itself sank beneath the waves thousands of years ago, the workers of Opar continued to mine all of the gold, which means there is a rather huge stockpile but which is now lost to the memory of the Oparians and only Tarzan knows its secret location. A greedy, outlawed Belgian army officer in the employ of a criminal Arab secretly follows Tarzan to Opar. There, John Clayton loses his memory after being struck on the head by a falling rock in the treasure room during an earthquake. On encountering La, the high priestess who is the servant of the Flaming god of Opar, and who is also very beautiful, Tarzan once again rejects her love which enrages her and she tries to have Tarzan killed; she had fallen in love with the ape man during their first encounter and La and her high priests are not going to allow Tarzan to escape their sacrificial knives this time. In the meanwhile, Jane has been kidnapped by the Arab and wonders what is keeping her husband from once again coming to her rescue. A now amnesiac Tarzan and the Belgian escape from Opar, bearing away the sacrificial knife of Opar which La and some retainers set out to recover. There is intrigue and counter intrigue the rest of the way.
From the Burroughs Bibliophiles
Special Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar Issue

Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar
Summary — (Blurb from the Ballantine Edition)
In the forgotten city of Opar, the bloodied sacrificial altar of the Flaming God stood above vaults piled high with the gold destined for fabled, lost Atlantis. There La, the beautiful high priestess, still dreamed of Tarzan, who had escaped her knife before. Around her, the hideous priests vowed that he should never escape again. For now Tarzan was returning, and they were waiting for him. Tarzan planned  to avoid La and the priests. But he could not avoid the earthquake that struck him down in the vaults and left him without memory of his wife or home—only with what memory he had had as a child among the savage apes who reared him. 
I. Belgian and Arab
II. On the Road to Opar
III. The Call of the Jungle
IV. Prophecy and Fulfillment
V. The Altar of the Flaming God
VI. The Arab Raid
VII. The Jewel-Room of Opar
VIII. The Escape from Opar
IX. The Theft of the Jewels
X. Achmet Zek Sees the Jewels
XI. Tarzan Becomes a Beast Again
XII. La Seeks Vengeance
XIII. Condemned to Torture and Death
XIV. A Priestess But Yet a Woman
XV. The Flight of Werper
XVI. Tarzan Again Leads the Mangani
XVII. The Deadly Peril of Jane Clayton
XVIII. The Fight For the Treasure
XIX. Jane Clayton and The Beasts of the Jungle
XX. Jane Clayton Again a Prisoner
XXI. The Flight to the Jungle
XXII. Tarzan Recovers His Reason
XXIII. A Night of Terror
XXIV. Home
Edgar Rice Burroughs'
Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar

CAST (in order of appearance)

Lt. Albert Werper
Belgian officer, aka "M. Jules Frecoult"
Achmet Zek: Arab cutthroat leader
Tarzan of the Apes: John Clayton, Lord Greystoke,
Jane Clayton: Tarzan's wife, Lady Greystoke
Basuli: chief of Tarzan's Waziri warriors
La: High Priestess of the Flaming God, of Opar
Cadj: High Priest of the Flaming God
Mugambi: Jane's bodyguard, adopted into Waziri
Abdoul Mourak: Abyssinian looking to punish Achmet
Chulk: intelligent young ape
Taglat: cunning older ape
Mohammed Beyd: Arab left in charge of Achmet's camp

Cast List Ref: Clark A. Brady's Burroughs Cyclopedia and Ed Stephan's Tarzan of the Internet

Review contributed by Doc Hermes ERB Reviews

 From the November and December 1916 issues of ALL-STORY WEEKLY, this is more like it! I started these reviews with some of the lesser known books in the series and, well, there`s a reason why those later books are not as well known. They`re not very good, particularly when compared with the earlier entries. JEWELS OF OPAR, on the other hand, is a lot of fun to breeze through. It doesn`t have a linear plot as much as a tangle of threads weaving in and out (Burroughs basically sets a dozen characters loose in the jungle and has them bounce off each other for a hundred and fifty pages), but the writing itself has much more energy and enthusiasm than the latter half of the series showed. There is more description and detail, and plenty of vivid incidents which may not be plausible but are still dramatic (a rhino in a trench fighting seven lions may be something that wouldn`t happen in real life, but it`s a wild image.) And the final paragraph is in effect a wonderful punchline that leaves the reader knowing something which the puzzled characters will never learn.

For me at least, the most interesting aspect of Tarzan is his duality. He`s unique in the world, the only one of his kind. He can enjoy an art gallery in London with Jane, while not being really happy in the constricting clothing and stuffy interiors. Yet back among the great apes or his Waziri, he`s also somehow not fully at home either. Tarzan is the classic misfit and outsider, living in two worlds but not wholly of either. This is something that was lost after the tenth book or so, where the Apeman apparently abandoned his family and went back to a simplistic jungle life. In JEWELS OF OPAR, he comes back on horseback "from a tour of inspection of his vast African estate" and then spends "the afternoon in his study, reading and answering letters". Yet the very next night, he`s droppng naked out of a tree onto a deer because he just HAS to kill something himself and devour some blody flesh.

Tarzan is actually more savage than his tribe of Waziri, since they will not eat some of the odd items he enjoys and they prefer their meat cooked. The Apeman enjoys fresh meat, uncooked and unspoiled (hey, Tarzan, how`s that trichinosis going lately?) While in later books, our boy seems to live entirely on raw meat and river water, here Burroughs is still taking time to mention that Tarzan eats a wide variety of prey, including "beetles, rodents and caterpillars".  Once or twice, there is mention of fruit, which may not be as macho as raw flesh but which is useful to prevent scurvy.

The tangled events in the story spring from the misdeeds of a renegade Belgian officer, Albert Werper, and his uneasy alliance with a vicious Arab cut-throat named Achmet Zek. Werper is weak and greedy, more an opportunist than the outright predator Zek is. Tarzan has returned to steal a hundred ingots of gold from the hidden treasure vaults of Opar (hey, the Oparians don`t even know about the gold and wouldn`t have any use for it if they did, so Tarzan feels it might as well be put to good use on his plantation, right?). Werper ends up with a pouch of incredibly valuable gems (thus, the book`s title). Tarzan gets away with the sacred sacrificial knife of the Flaming God and so has a steaming La chasing him with fifty of her brutish followers. Meanwhile, Jane has been abducted by the Arabs, who think they can get a good price for her in a harem somewhere, and a giant Waziri warrior named Mugambi* is tracking that party with determination to rescue Jane and avenge his slain tribesmen. So there are a lot of people chasing each other back and forth through Afriica, and a lot of agita.

To complicate things just a bit more, Tarzan has been conked on the head by falling rubble and suffered one of his occasional amnesiac episodes, where he has forgotten all about everything that happened since his puberty. More than a few commentaries have wondered if, deep down, the Apeman doesn`t welcome these memory losses and perhaps subconsciously cause them. It`s  a great way to forget all his responsibilities and problems, just being a hairless ape running through the jungle for a while.

Opar itself is one of the great lost civilizations in pulp fiction. Crumbling and nearly ruined, the last surviving outpost of one of Atlantis` colonies, Opar has a population of males who sound a lot like stereotyped Neanderthals. Short, stocky, with long powerful arms and bent legs, the Oparians also have interbred with the apes. In fact, they speak Mangani and have some of the apes living with them. (I`d love to see National Geographic do a special on these guys.) Yet, somehow through some real stretching of credulity, the females are still gorgeous beauties "descended from a single priestess of the royal house of Atlantis who had been in Opar at the time of the great catastrophe. Such was La."

You have to like La, she`s got such a hopeless life. Incredibly beautiful but condemned to eventually have to choose a mate from the Opar galoots, she has spent her life sacrificing people in cold blood on the altars of the Flaming God. As soon as she sees Tarzan, she`s smitten with lust and becomes a "pulsing, throbbing volcano of desire" (Yowza!). But of course, Tarzan isn`t interested in her in the least and she decides to torture him to death. I think we`ve all had relationships like that.

By the way, doesn`t it seem odd that Tarzan doesn`t respond at all to La? Here`s this completely luscious woman rubbing her body all over him for hours, kissing him all over, fervently pleading with him to love her, they`re both essentially naked.. and yet the Apeman just smiles and goes to sleep. What the heck? At this point, Tarzan is going through one of his amnesiac periods where he has absolutely no memory of Jane and yet he doesn`t react to La a bit. Maybe Burroughs was just trying to tease the readers without having the editor reach that old blue pencil...

Much of what seemed tired and unexciting in the later books is here presented with real conviction. When Tarzan leaps on a lion to kill it with only a knife, it seems as extremely dangerous as it should be presented. The Apeman takes bruising punishment as the furious cat rolls about and it`s not the ho-hum routine stunt it seems to be later on. ("To have loosened for an instant his grip there, would have been to bring him within reach of those tearing talons or rending fangs, and have ended forever the grim career of this junglebred English lord.")

 Although Burroughs himself quickly tired of Jane Clayton (even intending to kill her off in TARZAN THE UNTAMED), she brings a focus and center to the Apeman`s life that he badly needs. Without her, he slips back into being a one-dimensional character not much more complicated than his usual film persona. And frankly, Jane is very likeable, a down to earth lady who can take care of herself even when dealing with Arab slavers or hungry lions. Her presence is sorely missed after the halfway point of the series.

*Mugambi is another character who deserved to be used much more in the books. He first saved Tarzan`s life in THE BEASTS OF TARZAN, became initiated into the Waziri tribe, and seems to accompany the Apeman and Jane as a bodyguard and companion. "Now Mugambi had been in London with his master. He was not the unsophisticated savage that his apparel proclaimed him. He had mingled with the cosmopolitan hordes of the greatest city in the world; he had visited museums and inspected shop windows; and, besides, he was a shrewd and intelligent man." I would have liked to see Burroughs do a story where Tarzan gets in trouble in London and Mugambi has to go bail him out.

Doc Hermes

The eight original St. John plates shown here are supplemented with the
Frank Parker and St. John illustrations
which were used in the original newspaper serialization of the novel.

Click for full-size images
Alternate larger images in ERBzine 0491a

...La with high-raised dagger, stood above him...
Chapter Titles Used in the
Newspaper Serialization

I. The Renegade
II. The Priests of Opar
III. The Coming of Achmet Zek
IV. The Jewel Chamber
V. At the Bungalow
VI. Empty Seats
VII. The Belgian's Spoor
VIII. Escape?
IX. Three Beasts
X. Abducted Again
XI. The Pouch of Jewels
XII. Taglat and the Lion
XIII. Out of the Frying Pan ---
XIV. --- Into the Fire
XV. Memories

I. The Renegade
And if you have lied to me, said Achmet Zek, I can kill you at any time.
II. The Priests of Opar
The shaggy, knotted, hideous little men seized him - 52With a scream of terror, Werper turned to flee, but the frightful men, priests of the Flaming God of Opar, anticipated his intentions.
III. The Coming of Achmet Zek
IV. The Jewel Chamber
Mugambi launched his spear at the nearest of the enemy with a force that drove the shaft completely through the Arab's body.
Tarzan, after driving his spear into the lion's chest, eluded the first swinging clutch of the lion's paw and leaped upon the tawney back.La  will have you, she screamed
V. At the Bungalow
Clutched tightly in his hand was the sacrificial knifeWhy not he mused, he mused. Then I would be safe.
VI. Empty Seats
Again and again it rose and fell, and each time the long blade of the knife hurled itself in the thing beneath the blankets.The knob-stick swung upward and downward.
VII. The Belgian's Spoor
The glittering gems transformed the squalid room to the splendor of a palace....Little did he imagine he was being watched.Tarzan leaped straight into the airLa approached with upraised knifeTantor seized one in the coils of his trunk
Continued in Part 2: ERBzine 0491

Visit our Robert Abbett Site for All His ERB Art for Ballantine Covers plus Bio

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A 5-part article by R.E. Prindle starting at 2859
The Rex Maxon 100-strip adaptation starting at 2061
Psychological Profile of Tarzan in Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar
The Gold Key Comics adaptation by Du Bois and Manning ~ 1966
The Secret History of Opar by Den Valdron 
Opar by Rick Johnson
The e-Text edition
Tarzan the Tiger ~ 1929 film is loosely based on JEWELS
The Tarzan Board Game based around Jewels and Opar
A 3-Webpage Yugoslavian comics adaptation starting at:
THE ADVENTURES OF TARZAN film serial partly based on Jewels
Tour of Opar by Jairo Uparella
SONG OF OPAR:  A Romance of Tarzan and La by Jim Malachowski 

Web Refs
ERB C.H.A.S.E.R. Illustrated Bibliography
Hillman ERB Cosmos
Patrick Ewing's First Edition Determinors
John Coleman Burroughs Tribute
ERBList Summary Project by ERB Fans
J. Allen St. John Bio, Gallery & Links
Edgar Rice Burroughs: LifeLine Biography
Bob Zeuschner's ERB Bibliography
J.G. Huckenpohler's ERB Checklist
Burroughs Bibliophiles Bulletin
G. T. McWhorter's Burroughs Bulletin Index
Illustrated Bibliography of ERB Pulp Magazines
Phil Normand's Recoverings
ERBzine Weekly Online Fanzine
ERB Emporium: Collectibles ~ Comics ~ BLBs ~ Pulps ~ Cards
ERBVILLE: ERB Public Domain Stories in PDF
Clark A. Brady's Burroughs Cyclopedia
Heins' Golden Anniversary Bibliography of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Bradford M. Day's Edgar Rice Burroughs: A Bibliography
ERBzine 0490
ERBzine 0491
ERBzine 0491a

Volume 0490

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