Oct 1937 to Nov 1938
ERB's working title
Tarzan and the Forbidden City
First published
Argosy magazine, Mar to Apr 1938
Magazine title
The Red Star of Tarzan
First hardcover edition
ERB Inc, Sep 1938
Book illustrator
John Coleman Burroughs

The formulaic pattern of the Tarzan novels was firmly established by the time ERB wrote his twentieth story using the character.  The new story, which was completed in just over a month in 1937, contained the novel idea of an underwater city.  It also incorporated a lot of the old worn-out devices - Tarzan's startling resemblance to another character; two cities at war; Tarzan's inevitable assignment to the arena; and, of course, the inevitable altar scene with a priest on the verge of plunging a knife into the victim's heart.  Burroughs, did not pursue his regular policy of seeking the highest bidder and mailed the script to Argosy editor, Chandler Whipple.  Whipple offered $3,000 on the provision that they be able to "boil down" the first one hundred pages.  Again, uncharacteristically, Burroughs made no protest about the planned revisions and accepted the offer.  Argosy published it as a six-part serial during March and April 1938.  The end result was disappointing, Whipple's patchwork excisions compounding ERB's original defects.  Some knowledgeable Burroughs aficionados even doubted that ERB wrote the story.  Gore, arguing that ERB had succumbed to movie influence in his novels, states that this story "reads so much like a Johnny Weissmuller script that doubt was raised about its authorship".  ERB Inc continued to publish the hardcover novels and Ed's son, John Coleman Burroughs, continued to provide the illustrations for the book. (Porges & Gore)

Tarzan cared little for the fate of adventurer Brian Gregory, drawn to the legendary city of Ashair by the rumor of the Father of Diamonds, the world's hugest gem.  But to the ape-man the tie of friendship was unbreakable, and Paul d'Arnot's pleas moved him to guide the expedition Gregory's father and sister organized for his rescue.  The enigmatic Atan Thome was also obsessed with the Father of Diamonds, and planted agents in the Gregory safari to spy out its route and sabotage its efforts.  Both parties reached their goal, remote Ashair... as prisoners of its priests, doomed to die in loathsome rites. (1981 Ballantine paperback)

Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Man Who Created Tarzan by Irwin Porges, 1975, Brigham Young University Press
Tarzan of the Comics essay by Matthew Gore in The Comic Book Jungle by Bill Black, 1999, Paragon publications
• Boris Vallejo cover from the 1981Ballantine Books paperback edition is from my personal collection
• R van Giffen cover from the 1968 Dutch Witte Raven paperback edition was pilfered from an eBay auction item
• John Coleman Burroughs cover from the dustjacket of the 1938 ERB Inc hardcover edition was pilfered from an eBay auction item
• Unknown artist cover from the 1948 French Hachette edition was pilfered from an eBay auction item
• The full text of this novel is available on-line from Project Guttenburg's Tarzan and the Forbidden City page
• Read a summary of this novel at Tangor's Tarzan and the Forbidden City Summarized page
• Colourful paperback covers are at Nick Knowles' Tarzan and the Forbidden City page
• Bag yourself a copy of this novel at Amazon.com's
Tarzan and the Forbidden City page or try eBay

Tarzan© is the property of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., Tarzana CA.
This independent, non-profit, fan-based analysis of the Tarzan material is copyright © 2002-2007 Paul
This page updated July 2006