Monday, September 17, 2012

Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan, by Robin Maxwell

This is one book when it's perfectly fine to judge a book by its cover. The pages between take the reader on a trip back into time, with a portrayal of Jane that is fresh, captivating, and spirited. I realized about half way through that I've never read the original Tarzan book(s) and only know the story from comics, hearsay, and the movies. I'm curious now how close to the original this book flies, especially with the ending (which seemed like something out of an old Hollywood adventure.) 

Robin MAxwell's Jane is intelligent and willful, determined to pursue her interests in anthropology, biology, and archaeology, even if such interests deny her a husband, and leave her tottering on the edge of spinsterhood at age 20.  Yet despite all the objections of society (and her mother's despair), she leaves with her father to head into Africa in search of the bones of missing link between apes and humans.  What she finds instead is treachery, adventure, some pretty cool learning curves to climb, and a glimpse of various societies that give her much to ponder. Oh, and she also find this perfect specimen of manhood that seems to fancy her, too. Not bad for the jungle.

Actually, the meeting occurs after Jane has been mauled by a panther, and is saved by Tarzan. As he nurses her back to health, the two begin to build a common language and understanding. Together they try and make sense of some mysteries in their world, and together, they must face not one, but two evils.

I was pretty captivated up until the very end, when the novel moved into some realms of big screen adventure film stuff.  That's why I'm interested to know if that bit was in the original book, or movies (I can't remember. Indiana Jones has clouded my mind.) This particular novel was authorized by the Edgar Rice Burroughs Estate, so I guess the ending fits into something somewhere in the Tarzan lore. It wasn't bad, just not to my taste: a little too over the top/fantastic/tomb raider-ish. It by no means diluted my sheer enjoyment of the first 3/4 or more of the novel, and definitely lived up to the cover.

Sent to me by Tor books.  Thanks!

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