Number nineteen in the twenty-four book series. In 1935 it appeared as “Tarzan And The Immortal Men” in The Blue Book Magazine. Some may not think it belongs in the SF category but it is about the discovery of a substance that can prolong life forever. Maybe because it revolves around a mysterious African tribe instead of a mad scientist in the English or American countryside is the reason to hesitate to call it SF. That element isn’t really explored so the SF part is minor but it’s there. The best place to put this would be Jungle Fantasy Adventure.
The first book in the series is “Tarzan Of The Apes” (1912) and #24 is a collection of three novellas called “Tarzan And The Castaways.”
Tarzan is trying to find the elusive Kuvuru tribe. They’ve been kidnapping girls between the ages of fifteen and twenty. They’re being used to create a substance that prolongs life. The tribe is well hidden and many rumors have spread about exactly what they look like. The Bukena tribe captures Tarzan and hold him prisoner. They’ve never seen him before and think he’s a member of the Kuvuru tribe who are deranged white savages.
While all this is going on, Jane along with Princess Kitty Sborov who is married to the younger and cowardly Prince Alexis, their French maid Annette and English butler Tibbs are all heading to Africa. Kitty heard about the immortality serum and is obsessed with looking younger. The royal couple hired a man named Brown to fly them there. He’s an American gangster. During a bad storm over the jungle Brown runs out of gas and has to land somewhere. He manages to put down in a tree.
The Prince is constantly trying to be in charge and decides to fire Brown and Jane is sick of his complaining. She doesn’t have a clue as to where they are or how to get word to Tarzan about their location. He knows she’s on her way but that’s it.
The book goes between the two storylines. Tarzan has the help of his chimp companion Little Nkima and his friends the Waziri tribe along the way. He also saves the life of a Kuvurtu warrior who now owes him a debt. Lots of action in the Tarzan segments.
The story about Jane and her group have a lot of humor as Alexis becomes more and more despicable. Brown wants to kill him and Jane acts as a reluctant peace keeper. Things get ugly when Kitty is murdered and Alexis becomes seventy million dollars richer. Jane has had it when after only a few hours he makes his moves on her.
The storylines merge after Annette is captured by the Kuvuru and then….they get Jane. The original swinger goes into overdrive.
This is one of the best of the twenty-four Tarzan books. No need to read them in order to get to this one.