Sunday 19 August 2012

Sunday Spotlight: Tarzan: The Jungle Warrior by Andy Briggs

My new Sunday Spotlight feature (which actually bears a striking similarity to my old Saturday Spotlight feature) will showcase some of my favourite recent books reviewed for the superb Bookbag site.

Spoiler warning as usual when I review sequels – if you haven’t read the excellent Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy then carry on at your own risk.
Rokoff, the world’s most notorious hunter is in Africa, to snatch a baby gorilla from its family. When he does so, it’s left to Tarzan to chase across several countries to rescue the youngster, Karnath. But there may be danger closer to hand – can all of the wild man’s friends be trusted?
The Andy Briggs reboot of Tarzan is one of the best updates I can recall seeing of any classic series. He takes familiar characters such as Tarzan and Jane, places them in a modern African setting, and creates a really compelling story. The first book was excellent and this one is just as good – there’s some stunning action sequences as the chase to get Karnath back heats up, and some nice development of the strange relationship between Tarzan and Jane.
In addition, I’m really impressed by the way Briggs has made the characters so well-rounded. Tarzan is clearly the hero but uses methods which are brutal – does the end, of protecting the animals and rescuing Karnath, justify the means? Jane’s friend Robbie is a really intriguing character, on the run from legal problems in the States because he’s wanted for the attempted murder of his stepfather. Desperate to earn money, he’s now trying to help his boss Clark get evidence of Tarzan’s existence. He’s not necessarily a nasty character, but he’s clearly got some difficult moral decisions to make. Similarly, Jane’s father, who’s involved in illegal logging but actually seems to be a fairly pleasant person, is very well-drawn.
Throw in a strong environmental message which never threatens to dominate at the expense of the action, and a stunning ending which left me absolutely desperate to read book 3, and this is one which young and old alike will love.

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