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Volume 0720
A. W. Sperry: Tarzan and the Lost Empire - wrap-around DJ - b/w FPJoe Jusko Art
Larger DJ Image
Large Cover Image
ERB, Inc. Authorized Edition
Sperry Cover Art ~ More Cover and Interior Art ~ Publishing History ~ Summary
Review ~ Cast ~ Lord Greystoke's Cover Gallery ~ Links
Read the eText Edition HERE (Temporarily On-Hold)

Written between March and May 1928 (working title: Tarzan and the Lost Tribe)
Blue Book: 1928: October, November, December ~ 1929: January, February
    Frank Hoban: colour covers for the first four issues and 41 b/w interiors
Metropolitan Books: September 28, 1929 (first title not published by McClurg) ~ 313 pages ~ Estimated word count: 66,000
    A. W. Sperry: wrap-around DJ and b/w frontispiece
Metropolitan and Grosset & Dunlap mixed edition ~ 1931
Grosset & Dunlap: 1931
Grosset & Dunlap: 1940
    A. W. Sperry: DJ but no frontispiece
Burroughs, Inc.: 1948
Better Little Book: Whitman Publishing: 1948 ~ 288 pages
    Jesse Marsh cover ~ Rex Maxon: 141 interiors from 1930 strip
Dell paperback: August 1951 ~ 192 pages
    Robert Stanley cover ~ Ruth Bellew: back cover map
Ace Books: November 1962 ~ 192 pages
    Frank Frazetta cover and title page
Ballantine Books: October 1963 ~ 159 pages
    Richard Powers: cover
Ballantine Books: October 1969
    Robert Abbett cover
Ballantine Books: November 1976
    Boris Vallejo 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.

Tarzan and the Lost Empire
Tarzan and a young German find a lost remnant of the Roman Empire hidden in the mountains of Africa. This novel is notable for the introduction of Nkima, who serves as Tarzan's monkey companion in it and a number of later Tarzan stories. It also reintroduces Muviro, first seen in Tarzan and the Golden Lion, as sub-chief of Tarzan's Waziri warriors.

CAST (in order of appearance)
Nkima ~ very smart little monkey
TARZAN of the Apes ~ John Clayton, Lord Greystoke
Muviro ~ sub-chief of the Waziri
Doctor von Harben ~ German medical missionary
Erich von Harben ~ his 23-year-old mountain-climbing son
Gabula ~ Erich's Bagego body servant
Nyoto ~ Bagego chief
Lukedi and Ogonyo ~ Bagegos
Castrum Mare
Mallius Lepus ~ Centurion
Validus Augustus ~ Emperor of the East
Cassius Hasta ~ Nephew of Validus Augustus
Rufinus ~ Soldier
Septimus Favonius ~ Uncle of Validus Augustus
Favonia ~ Daughter of Setpimus Favonius
Fulvus Fupus ~ Unwanted suitor to Favonia
Cæcilius Metellus ~ Young patrician at the baths
Castra Sanguinarius
Sublatus ~ Emperor of the West
Maximus Præclarus ~ Sanguinarian Officer, Tarzan's escort
Fastus ~ Son of Subltatus, Molester of Dilecta
Dilecta ~ Daughter of Dion Spendidus
Axuch and Mpingu ~ Bagego Slaves in Sanguinarius
Festivitas ~ Mother of Præclarus
Dion Splendidus ~ A Senator
Appius Applosus ~ Commander of Colosseum Guards
Gayat, Zutho, Go-yad ~ Apes of Tarzan's tribe
Claudius Taurus ~ 5-year Champion gladiator of C. Mare
Cast List Ref: Clark A. Brady's Burroughs Cyclopedia and Ed Stephan's Tarzan of the Internet
Book Blurb Summary
from Ballantine Books
Somewhere in the heart of Africa, a man had disappeared—Erich von Harben, son of an old friend of Tarzan of the Apes. Now the ape-man was seeking to rescue him. The trail led to a mysterious valley where Tarzan discovered two surviving outposts of ancient Rome, almost unchanged by time. And there, Tarzan was thrust into the bloody arena, to face every peril the cruel and corrupt Emperor of Castra Sanguinarius could devise to ensure the ape-man's death. Miles away in Castrum Mare, Erich von Harben was also awaiting execution upon the sands of another tyrant's arena.

23 untitled chapters (original pulp version had chapter titles)

A Review Submitted by Doc Hermes

From BLUE BOOK, where it was published in five parts from October 1928 to February 1929, this is pretty good stuff. The book has the same basic premise as the one before it, TARZAN LORD OF THE JUNGLE (two eternally warring cities of white people deep inside Africa, Tarzan getting tangling up in local politics, a struggling romance between a local couple), but Edgar Rice Burroughs tells his tale with such energy, attention to detail and broad characterization, that it`s a lot of fun. The action n the gladiator scenes is brisk and bloody, the melodrama of the scheming conspirators works well, and there`s even some humour that`s not overdone as one villain tries to impress the ingenue with an unsuccessful dive into the public baths. 

I don`t think much of Burroughs` theory that crime is entirely hereditary and that if you simply kill all criminals and their families (!?), there won`t be any more lawbreakers. Good thing he didn`t have a brother convicted of manslaughter, he`d come up with a new philosophy in a hurry. 

This is a sort of transitional book in the series. My favorite group of stories start around TARZAN THE UNTAMED and end around TARZAN AND THE ANT MEN. The Apeman as portrayed there is a complicated mixture of wild beast and English lord, he has a supporting cast and family he loves, and there is enough action and surprises in each book to make them enjoyable even if you had never heard of Tarzan. By TARZAN AND THE LOST EMPIRE, our hero is starting to drift down into a simpler characterization. He still patrols his territory with the fighting Waziri and his friend Muviro, there is a reference to his bungalow home and estates... but his wife and son (and grandson) are not even mentioned in a passing thought. Some sort of marital difficulties there, Lord Greystoke? 

After TARZAN AT THE EARTH`S CORE, the Apeman seems to decisively abandon his family and estates to wander carefree through the jungle with only his chums Jad-Bal-Ja and Nkima (who don`t place any responsibilities on him). He also seems much more sour and unpleasant in the later stories, with ongoing sermons about how awful the human race is. In this book, though, Tarzan still likes people enough to have friends he is glad to see, to go on a dangerous quest to rescue Erich von Harben, a young man he doesn`t know, and he is perfectly happy to stay with a family in the Lost Empire for weeks while learning the language and history. His strong curiosity is one of the things I llike best about the early Tarzan; he is always asking questions and snooping around for its own sake. We find that he went to the trouble on his own to learn how to read Latin and has read Virgil and Caesar`s Commnentaries. Pretty impressive, considering no one was making him do it. 

Yet the British peer who sat up at night in his srtudy with dictionaries and reference books about Roman history is the same man who kills yet another full-grown lion with only a knife. "The savage personal combat, the blood, the contact with the mighty body of the carnivore, had stripped from him the last vestige of the thin veneer of civilization. It was no English lord who stood there with one foot upon his kill and through narrowed lids glared about him at the roaring populace. It was no man, but a wild beast, that raised its head and voiced the savage victory cry of the bull ape, a cry that stilled the multitude and froze its blood." 

There`s that dual nature that makes Tarzan so interesting. He`s not a literal split personality; the wild beast side is much stronger and more the "real" Tarzan, but the sophisticated aristocrat who sat in the House of Lords and enjoyed Parisan art galleries and museums is not just an empty pose either. 

Oddly, there`s some talk at the beginning of the mysterious city as being a survival of the fabled lost tribes of Biblical history but this is quickly dropped. Instead, we`re dealing here with the surviving outpost of a Roman incursion into Africa, still keeping its society and customs amost completely unchanged after a thousand years with only slight influences from the native cultures (prettty darn unlikely, if you ask me). They still think there`s a Caesar ruling in Rome, they still have senators and patricians and all that. In effect, this is Tarzan dropping into a gladiator movie for an adventure. (Of COURSE, he ends up fighting in the Colisseum, it`s mandatory for an action hero to have at least on a Coliseeum scene in his career.) Long ago, a civil war resulted in a breakaway faction founding its own city, and now there is ongoing feuding between Castrum Mare and Castrum Sanguinarus. 

The pair of enemy outposts is part of the successful formula but it seriously weakens this particular story. There`s really no reason why Erich von Harben couldn`t be trapped in the same city as Tarzan without running into him, and the hopping back and forth between two very similar settings (complete with two pairs of struggling young lovers) is a bit confusing. Also, the exciting climax (which is vividly presented) with the oppressed populace marching in a bloody uprising, grim legionnaires slaughtering crowds, half a dozen of Tarzan`s great apes as a hairy commando squad (despite "their disposition to attack friend as well as foe"), the heroic Waziri doing their calvary charge... whew. All that big finale is diffused by having to then go back to the other city and see how von Harben is doing with his own lesser troubles. 

 TARZAN AND THE LOST EMPIRE introduces Nkima, the little monkey who takes on the traditional sidekick role for the remainder of the series. (Does Tarzan ever mention that he, like the rest of the great apes, used to eat tailed monkeys when they could catch them? Might dampen the friendship.) I like Nkima, he`s as much of a troublemaker as he is a help but he saves the day enough times to make his simpleminded chatter forgiveable. Every hero can use a bumbling pal to help with the plotting now and then. It`s interesting that except for Jad-Bal-Ja and NKima (and good ol` Tantor when they run into each other), Tarzan isn`t really friends with the wild animals. Despite his speeches about how admirable and noble the beasts are, he pretty much ignores them until he`s hungry. 

John Clayton, Lord Greystoke
Blue Book - October 1928 - Tarzan and the Lost Empire 1/5Blue Book: November 1928 - Tarzan and the Lost Empire 2/5
Blue Book: December 1928 - Tarzan and the Lost Empire 3/5Blue Book: January 1929 - Tarzan and the Lost Empire 4/5
Metropolitan First Edition DJERB, Inc. First Edition DJ
A. W. Sperry Frontispiece: There was a lightninglike movement; steely fingers gripped the wrist of the  Roman
A. W. Sperry Frontispiece: There was a lightninglike movement; steely fingers gripped the wrist of the  Roman

Tarzan and the Lost Empire
1930 Daily Strips by Rex Maxon
Read them all at:

Whitman Big Little Book: Tarzan and the Lost Empire: Jesse Marsh cover ~ Rex MaxonRobert Stanley cover: Dell paperback 1951Ruth Bellew: back cover map
Ace Books 1962: Frank Frazetta artBallantine 1963: Richard Powers artBallantine 1969: Robert Abbett art

Cover Art by Peter Peebles
Del Rey Doubles Series
Boris Vallejo Ballantine cover
Ballantine Books: November 1976
 Boris Vallejo cover

Four Square 1964 UKNel edition 1974 UKPinnacle editon 1958 UKTarzan and the Lost Empire: Japanese edition

Mark Goulden and W. H. Allen UK Edition ~ J. B. Walton Art

 Cassell and Co., London, 1931, 1st Colonial edition

Tarzan and the Lost Empire
Art by Motoichiro Takebe


Tarzan and the Lost Empire
Frazetta ACE cover painting (click)

Josh Kirby art for Tarzan and the Lost Empire

Promo Book Mark

Unauthorized 2007 Edition - discontinued

Gold Key Comics Adaptation (nos. 194 and 195)
From the ERB Comics Encyclopedia
Gold Key Comics Directory
Gold Key 194Gold Key 195
ERBzine 2594   |  ERBzine 4175

 Original Etched Copperplate. [New York: Metropolitan Books 1929].
Printing plate for frontispiece for Tarzan and the Lost Empire by A. W. Sperry (Metropolitan, 1929).
Illustration and caption etched in copper on the same plate.
Copperplate mounted onto pewter [?] base. Approximately 6 x 4 inches on base.

Read more about the artist A. W. Sperry

A. W. Sperry in ERB Artists Encyclopedia
A. W. Sperry Bio and Sample Art
Burroughs Bulletin 11: Barrett/Sperry Article

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ERBList Summary Project by Duane Adams
J. Allen St. John Bio, Gallery & Links
Edgar Rice Burroughs: LifeLine Biography
Bob Zeuschner's ERB Bibliography
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Burroughs Bibliophiles Bulletin
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Clark A. Brady's Burroughs Cyclopedia
Heins' Golden Anniversary Bibliography of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Bradford M. Day's Edgar Rice Burroughs: A Bibliography


Volume 0720

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