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Volume 0899
Bomba the Jungle Boy
Roy Rockwood (John Duffield)
An Analysis Noting Similarities to Tarzan
Part II: Bomba Titles 6-10
See Titles 1-5 at ERBzine 0897
by Steve Servello

The Mysterious Men from the Sky 
"Bomba the Jungle Boy on Terror Trail" begins the second half of the Amazonian Cycle. The central cast has already been established, with the exception of Gonibobo and his tribe of cannibals, introduced here in "Terror Trail." 

As in the previous five books, I'm reviewing the Clover Books edition and will do so for the next three Bomba books as well.

The tale related here is a simple one but an exciting good read none the less. Bomba and Gibo are returning to the molocca of Hondura, having just recently witnessed the death of Japazy, the half-breed, on the outskirts of the Abandoned City. As seems to the norm, wholesale destruction in the form of revolt (Sobrinini's Island of Snakes), floods ( Nascanora's village and Japazy's Jaguar Island) or (in this case) earthquakes (also Jojasta's Temple at the Moving Mountain), have destroyed wherever Bomba ventures . So the nature of the jungle is altered and the Jungle Boy  is more or less lost. 

The plot can be summed up as Bomba spotting his first airplane and later befriending its three occupants, Ramon, Carlos and Antonio, three Spanish explorers of the Amazonian Basin. A prolonged journey through an underground tunnel and a colopichi forest that threatens Gibo and Bomba with eternal sleep. Finally, captured by the cannibals of Gonibobo and prepared for a savage feast, Antonio, Gibo and  Bomba escape, with the former leaving the Amazon and the latter two returning to Hondura's village.

I do have a few observations to make on events and incidents contained within "Terror Trail." When Bomba's puma skin is first revealed on page 2, there is no mention of Geluk, though he is given credit later on page 53 when Bomba is attacked by a cooanaradi but saved by his puma skin.

The usual recap of key events in prior books takes place on pages 13-18 and is very detailed. I especially enjoy these here as it's been awhile since I read "Abandoned City" and I like this in the Tom Swift Sr. series as well. 

Bomba does two uncharacteristic things in "Terror Trail." He gives in to Gibo's whining and shortly after, fails in something he attempts. On page 26, Gibo begs Bomba to throw away that which the Jungle Boy had picked up (a cylindrical piece of metal) and carried after it fell from the plane. Gibo referred to it as Igmazil's tooth. At the bottom of page 26 and top of page 27, Bomba does as his native companion wishes, even if only bolster his courage for the adventures to come. Not only is this unusual for Bomba but I don't believe we ever find out what the object was. 

The second incident is that Bomba fails to escape from the hole into which he and Gibo had fallen into. Despite a gallant effort, he retreats when the passage out becomes impossible and Gibo asks why Bomba has returned (page 40). He was probably as shocked as I was at Bomba's failure!

However, this failure allows the two to traverse a series of underground caves and tunnels, a proven plot element in the Bomba series. In fact, this journey takes place from pages 32 to 73. All fifty pages were top notch adventure-filled!  Speaking of caves, Bomba and Gibo did find refuge from a storm in one, on page 28. It was really just "a narrow opening between two overhanging rocks, so narrow that they could squeeze into it only with difficulty." Still I suppose it qualifies as it did indeed provide the shelter required.

A Tarzan reference is made on page 64. Here, Gibo refers to Bomba as "the lord of the jungle," right after catapulting over a chasm in the afore mentioned tunnel. 

When Gibo speaks to Bomba of the cannibals and Gonibobo (page 103), I truly felt the horror imparted. Worse even than the head-hunters of Nascanora and Tocarora at the Giant Cataract and surely "spawn of the Evil One." A vision of nightmares and whatever else that terrifies the natives of the region. And who is the Evil One. Is there a Satan in Gibo's religion?

The cover art is derived from the scene on page 193 where a jaguar has hold of Polulu's shoulder and Bomba is waiting for the right moment to strike. It should be noted that the puma friend of Bomba is now past his prime and when faced with those jaguars and pumas that are at their physical peak, he needs help. This, even afyer surprising the jaguar who was in mid spring upon Bomba! Hmmm, I wonder if Polulu ever knew Geluk?

And lastly, the mystery of Bomba's parents advances yet another step, as Cody Casson reads from the torn (by an unnamed cannibal, shortly after Bomba's capture on page 155). Here (pages 200-203) we discover that Bomba's father's name is Andrew Bartow, as opposed to just Bartow and Laura was indeed the mother of Bonnie Andy or Bonny for short. Sobrinini, an Italian opera singer (Laura followed in her footsteps), became their friend. Cody Casson was (still is) Laura's uncle. All was well until ... Here the story from the torn book (written in Greek) ends, due to the ripped out pages. So we don't know why or how Bomba (Bonny), Cody and Sobrinini ended up in the Amazon and further, what roles Jojasta and Japazy played in this. More to follow in "The Swamp of Death." 

Thus far, books 2-5 have names of actual places in their titles: Moving Mountain, Giant Cataract Jaguar Island and the Abandoned City (although technically the last may not count as there was a native name for it). But Terror Trail simply refers to the dangers encountered on Bomba's and Gibo's journey from the Abandoned City to the molocca of Hondura. There is no specifically named Terror Trail and the term itself is never used in the book.

I will now continue my glossaries of People, Places and Animals. As before, I'll give descriptions to new entries only.

A Glossary for "Terror Trail"




The Sacred Alligators of Abarago 
I have previously named the first ten Bomba the Jungle Boy books as the Amazonian Cycle, due obviously to the locale where all of the action takes place. In a further division, I have bunched together the first five stories because each one involves a journey by Bomba to a land where people from his distant past ruled over local native tribes: Jojasta the Medicine Man at his temple on the Moving Mountain, Sobrinini on her Island of Snakes and Japazy the half breed of Jaguar Island and the Abandoned City. During this mini-cycle, the headhunters of the Giant Cataract acted as the enemy of all.

But with the advent of "Terror Trail" and for at least two books after, Bomba has no more people to run down but must now concentrate on learning more from the memory-challenged Cody Casson and Sobrinini. To that end, journeys to gain medicine and knowledge to help the pair of old friends regain their memory of Bomba's heritage. White explorers and cannibals combine to help and dog the Jungle Boys' efforts. 

In the previous novel (page 131), we learned of the cannibals of Gonibobo whose very name "was a synonym for all that was cruel and horrible." So where does this relegate Nasconora and his headhunters, to the cruel "wannabes?"

In "The Swamp of Death," we find yet another tribe of cannibals, those of Molotak-Aya and his Abaragos. Bomba describes (page 58) them  "Bomba has fought with the headhunters. They are evil men. Bomba has fought the cannibals of Goninbobos.They too are evil men. Bomba has never met the Abaragos, but he has heard they are the worst of all."

Curiously, neither the headhunters of the Giant Cataract or the cannibals of Terror Trail have a tribal name as do the Araos and Abaragos. And all four tribes seem to have avoided warring on one another though the headhunters have attacked the Araos on occasion. 

Before running into Dr. Pennfield, Bomba was on his way back to Terror Trail to find the ripped out pages to the book he had grabbed from Japazy, just outside the Abandoned City. But now it is to the Swamp of Death that Bomba must go, to collect flowers from the plant of death. Dr. Pennfield Yarrow, Mark Richardson and David Leeds join the expedition comprised of a contingent of Araos as well as Ashati, Neram and Gibo. 

Despite being captured by the cannibals and attacked by the swamp's sacred alligators, Bomba wins through with the needed flowers and the expedition returns in triumph to the maloca of Hondura. It is for the future to say whether or not the medicinal properties of the flowers of death will unlock the doors that hold the memories of Bomba's infancy. 

A few observations that caught my attention: The harmonica (page 68) given to Bomba back in the first book and soon lost, is still fondly remembered. 

Dr. Yarrow knows Gillis and Dorn (page 25) but does not recognize (pages 30 & 31) the famous names of Andrew and Laura Bartow.

Bomba does a Tarzan-like vine swing to the Island of Flowers (pages 148 & 149). 

A Glossary for "The Swamp of Death"

Dr. Pennfield Yarrow
- An American brain specialist. Pages 11, 16-102 & 204-210
Mark Richardson - Colleague of Yarrow and Leeds. Pages 41-102 & 204-209
David Leeds - Colleague of Pennfield and Richardson. Pages 41-102 & 204-209
Native Indians - Porters for Pennfield's expedition to the Amazonian interior. Pages 41, 43, 44 & 63
Lodo - An Araos warrior and sub-chieftain - Pages 48, 49, 63, 74-84, 101-107, 109-111, 114, 115, 122, 123 & 205
Araos - A party of 31, lead by Lodo,  escorts Bomba and the Pennfield expedition to the maloca of Hundura. Pages 47-49
Araos - In the maloca. Pages 49-63 & 209
Pirah - Pages 50, 51 & 209
Hondura - Pages 50, 51, 59-62 & 209
Sobrinini - Pages 51, 52 & 209
Cody Casson - Pages 52-55, 209 & 210
Pipina - Page 54
Araos - A party of about 15 on the expedition to the Swamp of Death. Pages 63-85, 113 & 115,
Ashati and Neram - Pages 63, 85, 98 & 99
Gibo - Pages 63, 92, 122-154 & 207
Notamba - Warrior of the Abaragos and nephew of Molotak-Aya. Captured by Bomba - Pages 109-115, 119-122, 175 & 208
Abaragos - Party of 30 that capture Bomba but Gibo escapes. Lead by Aloma. Pages 152-171
Matola - Warrior of the Abaragos. Helped capture Bomba. _age 162
Molotak-Aya - Abaragos chieftain. Mentioned but not seen as he was at another of the cannibal villages while Bomba was captive. Pages 163, 168, 169, 172-177, 179, 184, 188, 190 & 195
Aloma - Abaragos warrior that captured Bomba. Pages 164-177 & 207
Matuxa and Salura - Abaragos guards. Pages 172, 178 & 179
Abaragos - Villagers Page 171

- Pages 4-6
Polulu - Pages 4-7
Jaguar - Pages 11, 16, 17 & 88-92
Cooanaradi - Page 10
Venomous snakes - Page 157
Alligators - Pages 19, 20, 143-155, 157, 158, 180 & 199-202
Turtle Eggs - Page 27
Boa - Pages 38-40
Dogs - In the maloca of Hondura. Not mentioned previously. Page 49
Kiki and Woowoo - Pages 64-66
Doto - Pages 66-69
Tapir - Pages 69-71
Jararaca - Pages 93-95
Vulture - Page 102
Anaconda - Pages 134-140
Water snakes - Mentioned only. Page 143


Aloya River - Pages 3-36
Maloca of Hondura - Pages 49-63
Village of the Abaragos - Eight days journey from the Araos village. An hour's march in from the edge of the swamp. Pages 58, 100 & 171-189
River - Page 69
Swamp of Death - Pages 97-208
Flower Island - Where the flowers of death are located, within the Swamp of Death. - Pages 152-155

Daring Adventures in the Valley of Skulls 
As with the previous seven Clover editions, there is only cover art, no frontispiece or interiors. But these covers have been superb and this one no less than those prior. Taken from a scene on page 141, Bomba is brought forth to Don Mendonza for the first time and the Jungle Boy witnesses his cruelty to a charging mastiff. Curiously, these three figures make up the entire cover with no background details, only the color yellow. Yet, it works!

As usual, we have a recap of the series thus far and pages 15 to 20 encompass this.

Bomba is out hunting, soon after his return to the moluca of the Araos from the Swamp of Death. There, he had acquired medication from a rare flower that was slowly helping Cody Casson and Sobrinini regain their memories about Bomba's origins. It will work but not in time for this volume of Bomba's Amazon adventures. 

In fact, while the first five books in the series all added to Bomba's knowledge of his past, the last three (volumes six through eight), have been more or less treading water in this regard. That is not to say that Bomba's adventures among the cannibals of Gonibobo, the savages of Moltotak-Aya and in the Valley of Skulls aren't well written or exciting (they are indeed!), it's just that Bomba's quest recedes to the background almost and I find that disquieting.

But as I said, the action never slackens. While hunting, Bomba is attacked and chased by the headhunters of the Giant Cataract. Both Nascanora and Ruspak accompany this band and Bomba is fortunate to find (an inevitable) cave (pages 21-35) with a secret entrance to escape capture in. But this encounter is only the tip of the tropical ice berg, because it is soon found out that the Giant Cataract and Swamp of Death are about to unite in an assault on the molocca of Honduras. What? No cannibals from Terror Trail?

Awaiting the attack, Sobrinini predicts Bomba will find his father, and yet not. This, along with her vision of the headhunters and Abaragos reveal she has true insight to the future.

It appears that two such war-like tribes can't stay in alliance too long and soon, the Abaragos return to their swamp, leaving the assault to the headhunters. Bomba handles the village's defense and when Nascanora attacks, it is with a decisive defeat, yet again!

Fearing the worst, Chief Hondura had sent his daughter Pirah to safety with the friendly Mantanas tribe, along with Gibo, Ashati, Neram and Lodo. Whem Bomba goes to retrieve Pirah after the Araos victory, he stumbles across Lodo returning with a tale of ambush and capture by warriors from the Valley of Skulls, the Araks. Naturally, Bomba travels to this forbidden land to rescue Pirah and his friends.

The Valley of Skulls is another place of horror and legend (pages 80 & 87), along-side the Movinging Mountain of Jojasta, Jaguar Island of Japazy and Snake Island of Sobrinini. Yet all were occupied in the last score of years, enough time for legends to be formed?

Uncharacteristically negligent, Bomba is captured by the Araks, who guard the entrance to the Valley of Skulls. In their village, Bomba is interrogated by the half-breed Tom Paul and ultimately transported into the valley where the Jungle Boy meets Ashati, Neram and Gibo, plus the valley's master, The Boss Don Mendonza. 

The Boss pretends to be Bomba's father, based on the info the Jungle Boy had passed along to Tom Paul. Finally, Bomba realizes the fraud being perpetuated and arranges the escape of himself, his three friends, Pirah and the slaves of the valley. Speaking of slaves, Mendonza waffles on their status(pages 169 & 181). 

The Araks seek them out but when Tom Paul and Don Mendonza stumble into quicksand, they are quickly left to their fate by the Araks who discontinue their pursuit of the escaped captives and slaves. All's well for now, until Bomba's and Gibo's journey along the Underground River!

A Glossary for "Among The Slaves"

Headhunter scouts (Motulu & Mambu) -
Pages 7-15 & 20-24
Nascanora - Pages 10-15, 20-24
Headhunters - X 50 Pages 12-15, 20-24, 36 & 67-70
Ruspak - Pages 12-15 & 20-24
Lodo - Pages 77-87, 209 & 210
Gibo - Pages 172-174, 189, 190, 193, 197-201 & 208-210
Ashati and Neram - Pages 183-185, 197-201 & 208-210
Molotak-Aya - Pages 45-48
Abaragos - Pages 45-48
Pirah - Pages 49-51, 64, 193-201 & 208-210
Hondura - Pages 50-53, 64, 193-201, 209 & 210
Araos - Pages 53, 54, 64-73, 209 & 210
Sobrinini - Pages 54-57
Araos Scout - Page 58
Cody Casson - Pages 58-60, 72 & 73
Araks - Skull Warriors - Pages 103-140, 142-149, 187 & 201-207
Gobas Aral Guard - Pages 105 & 106
Molamba - Arak Chief - Pages 105-126, 135 & 202-207
Tom Paul - Half breed aid to the Boss - Pages 119-133, 139-144, 146-155, 171, 172, 175-177, 183, 189 & 201-207
Valley of the Skull Slaves - Pages 138, 139, 154, 169, 171, 192, 193, 197-201 & 208
Arak Crone - Pages 149 & 150
Don Mendonza - The Boss of Skull Valley - Pages 151-170, 175-177, 180-182, 191, 192 & 201-207
Arak Squaw - Pages 194 & 195

- Pages 1-4
Geluk (mentioned) - Page 3
Vultures - Page 37
Puma  - X 2 Pages 39-41
Jararaca - Pages 46-49
Kiki & Woowoo - Page 74
Doto - Pages 75 & 76
Jaguars  - X 3 Pages 92-96
Polulu - Pages 94-98
Piranahs Teeth & Goats (mentioned) - Page 106
Deer (mentioned) - Page 115
Anaconda - Pages 120-124
Dog (mastiff named Tara) - Pages 150, 151 & 158-161


Moloca of the Araos - Pages 49-73
Village of the Araks - Pages 101-136
Valley of the Skulls - Pages 137-208

 The Cave of Bottomless Pits
"Bomba the Jungle Boy on the Underground River" represents a significant title in this series by Roy Rockwood. When I first discovered these books, back in the late sixties, it was due to one of my friend's older brother. He found out I was into Tarzan and was aware of the Bomba movies. At first I balked, scoffing that these books would be something like a teen-age Tarzan rip-off. Well, they were but delightfully so! But my main point here is that I was able to borrow and read (several times), the first nine volumes (in Clover editions), plus oddly enough, "The River Demons." 

Soon I began to build my own Bomba collection. The Internet didn't exist back then and only one used book store was familiar to me and it was near Downtown Boston. I'd drop in once a month, taking the bus or trolley (street car) to Harvard Square from Belmont and then Downtown via the subway. I don't know if it was my imagination but I seemed to run into this guy Charlie, every time!

It took time but I had collected most of the twenty Bomba books by the late nineties and my using of the Internet. In fact, I never got to read how Bomba was reunited with his father in "Lost Explorers" until 8-3-98. So "Underground River" represented the pinnacle of Bomba's first group of adventures, the Amazon Cycle (as I named it). Therefore it has remained special to me.

This Clover edition has a publishing date of 1930 (Cupples & Leon) but also states that this book is a 1953 Edition. I like that kind of information. Other juvenile series should have utilized this simple system of edition statement.

The tale begins with Bomba, Gibo, Sobrinin and Neram on their way to the Underground River, following the Witch of Snake Island's instructions. For along its route lies a buried chest with specific information on Bomba's early childhood and how he ended up with Cody Casson deep within the bowels of the Amazon jungle. Strange that Neram is separated from his good friend from the Moving Mountain, Ashati.

Bomba seems to have aged a year from previous adventures, jumping from fourteen to fifteen. Though said to be "barely fifteen" on page 4, he is still listed as "at fourteen" on page 14.

The usual recap occurs early on (pages 15-18) and events from the first eight books are summarized. 

But following a devastating jaguar attack, Neram, Bomba's old friend from his visit to the temple of Jojasta the Medicine Man of the Moving Mountain, is injured and must return to the moloca of Honduras. Sobrinini too is injured, but fatally so. Before she dies though, she regales Bomba (and Gibo) with more information on the Jungle Boy and then performs an opera that rivaled those before the crown heads of Europe. Her death has remained imbedded in my mind as among the best writing in the juvenile series genre..

The story know thus far is as related by the Witch of the Island of Snakes on pages 9 & 10 and 25-31. Bomba's mother is Laura and his father Bartow. I can only guess that the reason Bomba's father first name is not revealed thus far is to help with the plotting in "Lost Explorers." Bartow was a painter known all over America and Europe while Laura was an opera singer and friend of Sobrinini. Japazy stole a painting of Laura by (Andrew) Bartow and it is that one which Bomba saved from the drowning of Jaguar Island.  Japazy (the half breed) had lusted after Laura and asked him to run away with him. She rebuffed his advances and alerted Andrew who challenged him to a duel, in which Japazy was wounded but not fatally so. Soon, he fled for refuge in South America.

Meanwhile, the opera company to which Laura and Sobrinin belonged to, journeyed to Buenos Aires and then Rio de Janeiro on their current tour. There, they and Andrew befriended the naturalist Cody Casson. Japazy kidnapped Bomba (Bonny) right out of the arms of his nurse and fled with the infant into the Amazon jungle. Though his parents offered great rewards and put the police to work, no word was ever heard. 

Cody was deep in the jungle when he stumbled upon Japazy and Bonny. This was before his reign on Jaguar Island and he lived in a cabin. There, Cody followed him and knocked him out, fleeing further inland with Bomba. Native Indian warfare prevented Cody fro seeking the coast and Bomba's parents until finally, one day his aged musket exploded while fending off the attack of an anaconda, thus depriving the naturalist of his memory and much strength. 

Sobrinini ends her recitation stating that Bartow and Laura are still alive. But how could she know that? Her powers over snakes (Azra in particular) and of prophecy seem real enough. She predicted her death (on legs of four, eight and twelve, representing the three jaguars) and events in the Valley of Skulls (finding his father but not), described in "Among the Slaves." 

Again, I must emphasize that though Sobrinini  knows Jojasta and that he is evil and suggests Bomba seek him out, his role is never revealed, at least thus far. An unusual plot thread to leave hanging...

Bomba conveniently recounts (page 45) several of the areas he has journeyed to in recent years: "the Giant Cataract, the Island of Snakes, the Moving Mountain, the Abandoned City, Jaguar Island and the cannibal haunts of Gonibobo." No mention of the Swamp of Death or the Valley of Skulls. Bomba was explaining to Gibo that his familiarity with these areas allowed him to utilize sanctuaries like caves but that the Trail of Ghosts leading to the Underground River was not among those he had previously traveled. 

After many adventures, Gibo and Bomba literally stumble into a deep and lengthy subterranean cavern through which the aptly named Underground River flowed. The action continues unabated as oddly enough, jaguars and anacondas find their way down but to attack what, I don't know. 

One of my favorite scenes (pages 149-163) is when the two warrior/explorers are caught in a flood and thankfully discover a series of stair-like shelves leading above the tunnel floor alongside which the river runs. Slowly, step by step, Bomba and Gibo climb the stairs as the relentless waters do likewise. Eventually they reach the top step and the water continues to pursue them rising to their knees before finally cresting and beginning a slow retreat. But the action doesn't end there as there is an anaconda to contend with before the two can move on. 

Speaking of snakes, it seems that the poisonous variety of the Amazon, desire to kill for killing sake and not for food or in defense or through fear. The jaracaca rattlesnake proves this on pages 172-179 and the cooanaradi on pages 47-50.

Though I generally find Gibo to be a real "downer" on Bomba's adventures, due to his natural pessimism and supernatural fears, the Jungle Boy's feelings for the native of Jaguar Island are profoundly revealed on pages 168 & 169 as he believes him dead. "Bomba could not have had a more faithful or courageous ally." Yet, if he breaks out in his death chant just one more time...

The two do find the buried chest and lo, it is not underground but alongside the river after it flowed out of the cavern. It's name was still the Underground River. Left unanswered was how Sobrinini discovered this isolated spot and physically buried the chest. In fact, just why she was in the jungle at all has yet to be satisfactorily explained. 

The brilliantly drawn cover art depicts the action on page 195 as Bomba battles a fresh water octopus of sorts. The eel and other fish seem to be enjoying the battle.

Sadly, Polulu has aged (page 85) in recent books and though he did help save Bomba from the attack of jaguars, he needed help in return.

By book's end, Bomba and Gibo begin the return trip to the moluca of Hondura where hopefully, Cody Casson can sort through the chest and reveal the final details of Bomba's life. I had to wait thirty years to find out!

A Glossary for "The Underground River"

Pages 1-66, 71-165 & 177-204
Neram Pages 1-15
Sobrinini Pages 1-40
Cody Casson & Pipina Mentioned on page 21

Kiki & Woowoo
Pages 5-7
Geluk Mentioned on page 4
Tapir Pages 7-10
Jaguars X 3 Pages 14-14 & 18
Jaguar X 1 Page 78
Jaguars X 2 Pages 83-86
Jaguar X 1 Pages 118-121
Tapir Pages 7-10
Carnivorous red flowers - Its poison is deadly to humans as well as insects. Pages 42 & 43
Cooanaradi Pages 47-50 & 180-191
Alligators Pages 68-74
Polulu Pages 81-89
Birds and beasts - Misc unnamed victims of a recent hurricane. A bird of gorgeous plumage was one such. Page 60
Anaconda Pages 157-163
Snake - Of unknown variety. Black and striped with orange. Probably a water snake of some sort. Page 108
Crawling things - Unknown things that slither through the slime on the floor of the cavern through which the Underground River flows. Page 96
Creature - Cross between a devilfish and giant centipede. Pages 111 & 112
Furry animals - Not much larger than rabbits and fighting among themselves in the cavern. Page 117
Jararaca Pages 172-191
Other deadly varieties of snakes. Unnamed. Pages 180-191
Fish - Unknown type within the Underground River. Page 170
Fly - Enters Bomba's nostril at a bad time. Pages 173 & 174
Octopus-like creature - In Underground River Pages 194 & 195
Jaboty Page 198

Unnamed river
Pages 7 & 8
Unnamed river Pages 76-78
Trail of Ghosts that leads to the Underground River Pages 46-63 & 67-91
Unnamed stream Pages 65-73
Unnamed mountain that marks the spot of the chest burial Pages 200-204
Twin mountains that guard the entrance to the Trail of Ghosts Page 67
The Underground River Pages 104-204
Subterranean tunnel that leads to and follows the Underground River Pages 92-197

 A Wonderful Revelation 
"Bomba the Jungle Boy and the Lost Explorers" holds a special place in my "reading heart." I had borrowed and read the first nine Bomba books in Clover editions, back in the late sixties but never got to read the conclusion to Bomba's search for the truth of his ancestry and the finding of his parents. That is, until August 3, 1998 when I received my G & D edition from a dealer. Though not Clover, the cover art (depicting the action on page 143) on the dust jacket is in exactly the same style as the previous nine. Here, we see a head-hunter from the Giant Cataract (real close up), despearately trying to fight off the anaconda (excuse me, a boa constrictor, for the first time), that has him in its coils. Bomba readies his bow...

Gibo and Bomba are returning to the molocca of Hondura, after their adventures on the Underground River during which Sobrinini died in glorious fashion. The pair carry the contents of Nini's chest they had uncovered along the river's bank, which will reveal most of the secrets of Bomba's past to the recovering Cody Casson. But this becomes a moot point as you shall see.

Escaping the dangers of a gale (complete with flood), savage animal attacks (of the usual assortment: jaguar, puma, anaconda , alligator, boa and cooanardi) and the inevitable head-hunters, Bomba and Gibo finally make it back to the molocca along with three explorers they had rescued en route. 

Some observations before I come back  to events that occur after that reunion in the village of the Araos. The Amazon jungle must be full of caves as Bomba makes use of a quasi-cave early on (to escape the effects of the gale) and later, roams through a true underground tunnel with Gibo, thus escaping the pursuing head-hunters. Even later, Bomba, Gibo, Andrew, David and Amory take shelter in a bona fide cave. They stay until the injured and semi-comatose Andrew Bartow is fit to be moved.

Speaking of Gibo, he remains a royal pain with all his mutterings that the gods, spirits or demons will turn their wrath on the pair as long as Bomba continues going where he's going, doing what he's doing or carrying what he's carrying. I would think that after their adventures and escapes in the five previous books, that Gibo might have starting putting some trust in Bomba. 

The term "lord of the jungle" is used on page 5 by Gibo in his reference to an approaching anaconda.

Gibo states that the head-hunters never raided Japazy's tribe on Jaguar Island, though I know both to be located on the same river. Strange that the bad guys of the Amazon (head-hunters, two tribes of cannibals, the Indians of Jaguar Island and Skull Valley), seem to avoid strife with one another but have no problem preying on the peaceful tribes.

Returning to the plot, one of the three lost explorers is Andrew Bartow, father of Bomba (Bonny), but he is unconscious for the most part and doesn't realize that his fourteen year hunt for his kidnapped son is over. But Bomba knows, yet must await his father's recovery before their reunion can be complete. Pages 193-196 reveal the extremely emotional moments of this event and Cody Casson gets in on the act as well. But then Nascanora and his head-hunters attack in there fiercest assault ever. They come close to overwhelming the Araos but Bomba turns the tide and the invaders from the Giant Cataract are decimated, almost to extinction, their power broken for generations. Even the head-hunters leadership is destroyed, with the deaths of Co-Chieftains Nascanora and Tocarora and the Medicine Men Ruspak and Ganyuk. 

To top it all off, Bomba's mother, Laura, is contacted by Andrew's two fellow explorers, and arrives at the molocca of Hondura on the penultimate page. Yea, that scene prompted a tear or two...

By books end, the family, with Cody and Gibo, prepare to leave for Rio de Janiero and then home in America. All is well and seemingly, the series is over but Bonny's last utterances are a hint of the adventures in Africa and Asia to come: "But some day the jungle will see me again. It is life to me. I cannot live without it."

Despite the happy ending, I was disappointed that the head-hunters of the Giant Cataract and the cannibals of the Swamp of Death and Terror Trail are left to cause mischief. I would have hoped for a crusade led by the Araos and allies to wipe out their threat to this region of the Amazon forever! And of course, we never see the farewells to Kiki, Wowo, Doto, Polulu, Pipina, Pirah, Hondura and Lodo, among others, deserving of our witnessing.

And what about Asheti and Neram, Bomba's friends from the Moving Mountain? They aren't even mention in "The Lost Explorers," but at least Jojasta is, however vaguely. I have commented before that the role of the Medicine Man of the Moving Mountain's role has never been explained, though he did recognize Bomba as Andrew's son and sent him to seek Sobrinini on Snake Island and Japazy on Jaguar Island for more information. You see, Jojasta was dieing, crusahed by a temple column diring a volcanic eruption in his realm. On page 208, the contents of Nini's chest "proved intensely valuable in piecing out many obscure points in the history of Jojasta, Japazy and others who had been instrumental in the villainy that had led to Bomba's immurement in the jungle." Nice word by the author, immurement.

Next up, Africa as Bomba journeys to a "strange land," but does the author mean America or Africa? And here is my last listing of the people, places and animals in the Bomba Books. Maybe one day I'll combine the data for all ten of first Bomba books. But I think I'd have to know there was any real interest in this before doing so... As usual, only new people, etc. are described in any fashion.

A Glossary for "The Lost Explorers"

Pages 1-35, 59-177 & 198-205
Head-hunters (first band) Pages 36-43, 59-62, 141-144 & 200-208
Head-hunters (second band) Pages 44-48 & 53-58
Matura - Head-hunter scout  Pages 46-48
Nascanora - Dead  Pages 37-43, 54-58, 181-185 & 205-207
Tocarora - Dead Pages 37-43, 54-58, 181-185 & 205
Ruspak - Dead Pages 37-43 & 49-55
Iduno - Head-hunter who captured Gibo Pages 60-62
Malota - Head-hunter who also captured Gibo Pages 60-62
Aluma - Head-hunter  Pages 141-144
Andrew Bartow - Father of Bomba. An artist. Pages 90-177 & 190-209
David Bromfield - Explorer with Andrew. Pages 93-177 & 206-209
Amory Larlett - The other explorer with Andrew.  Pages 93-177 & 186-209
Araos hunting party Pages 157-160
Lodo Pages 157-160, 168-177, 186-190 & 197-209
Araos villagers  Pages 160-177 & 197-208
Pirah  Pages 160, 161 & 206
Cody Casson  Pages 161-164, 170-174 & 194-208
Pipina  Pages 164, 170-174, 194 & 195
Hondura  Pages 164-168
Two allied tribes (unnamed)  Pages 169-174
Ganyuck - Head-hunter who replaced Ruspak as Medicine Man. Dead. Pages 181-185 & 206
Laura Bartow - Mother of Bomba. An opera singer. Page 209

Pages 4-7
Alligators Pages 10, 11 & 18-24
Puma Pages 21-24
Polulu  Pages 146-151
Tapir Pages 27 & 28
Ants - Surprisingly, not army ants.  Pages 60-63
Jaguars (X 2) Pages 90 & 91
Jaguars (Two others)  Pages 146-148
Tarantula - Hairy poisonous spider.  Page 97
Antelope  Pages 111 & 112
Kiki   Pages 128-131
Wowo  Pages 130 & 131
Capybara  Page 132
Coonaradi  Pages 133-135
Doto  Pages 137-139
Boa constrictor  Pages 142-144
Peccary  Page 146
Vultures  Pages 151 & 152

Pages 9-25
Tiny stream  Page 26
Small river  Page 27
Stream  Pages 63 & 64
Tunnel  Pages 66-71
City - Ancient & abandoned.  Pages 71-73
Quasi-cave  Pages 3-7
Black Swamp/river  Pages 74-81
Cave  Pages 94-109
Stream/pool  Page 111
Molocca of Hondura  Pages 160-177 & 186-210
Tapir Rock - West of a rushing river.  Pages 109 & 110

Bomba lived far back in the jungles of the Amazon with a half-demented naturalist who told the lad nothing of his past. The jungle boy was a lover of birds, and hunted animals with a bow and arrow and his trusty machete. He had a primitive education in some things, and his daring adventures will be followed with breathless interest by thousands.
    --- Cupples & Leon advertisement
1. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY; or, The Old Naturalist's Secret ~ 1926, Cupples & Leon
2. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY AT THE MOVING MOUNTAIN; or, Mystery of the Caves of Fire ~ 1926, C & L
3. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY AT THE GIANT CATARACT; or, Chief Nascanora & His Captives ~ 1926, C & L
4. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY ON JAGUAR ISLAND; or, Adrift on the River of Mystery ~ 1927, C & L
5. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY IN THE ABANDONED CITY; or, A Treasure Ten Thousand Years Old ~ 1927, C & L
6. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY ON TERROR TRAIL; or, The Mysterious Men from the Sky ~ 1928, C & L
7. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY AND THE SWAMP OF DEATH; or, The Sacred Alligators of Abarago ~ 1929, C & L
8. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY AMONG THE SLAVES; or, Daring Adventures in the Valley of Skulls ~ 1929, C & L
9. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY AND THE UNDERGROUND RIVER; or, The Cave of Bottomless Pits ~ 1930, C & L
10. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY AND THE LOST EXPLORERS; or, A Wonderful Revelation ~ 1930, C & L

11. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY IN A STRANGE LAND; or, Facing the Unknown ~ 1931, C & L
12. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY AMONG THE PYGMIES; or, Battling with Stealthy Foes ~ 1931, C & L
13. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY AND THE CANNIBALS; or, Winning Against Native Dangers ~ 1932, C & L
14. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY AND THE PAINTED HUNTERS; or, A Long Search Rewarded ~ 1932, C & L
15. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY AND THE RIVER DEMONS; or, Outwitting the Savage Medicine Man ~ 1933, C & L
16. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY AND THE HOSTILE CHIEFTAIN; or, A Hazardous Trek to the Sea ~ 1934, C & L
17. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY TRAPPED BY THE CYCLONE; or, Shipwrecked on the Swirling Seas ~ 1935, C & L
18. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY IN THE LAND OF BURNING LAVA; or, Outwitting Superstitious Natives ~ 1936, C & L
19. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY IN THE PERILOUS KINGDOM; or, Braving Strange Hazards ~ 1937, C & L
20. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY IN THE STEAMING GROTTO; or, Victorious Through Flame and Fury ~ 1938, C & L
Publishers: Cupples & Leon (First Editions) ~ McLoughlin Bros ~ Ward, Lock ~ Grosset & Dunlap.


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Volume 0899

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