The Land that Time Forgot (plus 2) – Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Land that Time Forgot began a series of three linked ‘Caspak’ novels set on a mysterious island in the Pacific populated by extinct species.  The sequels The People that Time Forgot and Out of Time’s Abyss.  I obtained all three from a Kindle collection and enjoyed them all.

The start of the series is interesting because it starts on a freighter in the North Atlantic during WWI. (!)  The Hero, Bowen J. Tyler and his dog are travelling to England when the freighter is sunk.  He survives with the lovely Lys La Rue, and are rescued by an English tug.  The Tug encounters a U-boat as well and is also sunk, but the crew manages to capture the vessel.  Sadly, they still are attacked by the Royal Navy and cannot land, so they sail away from England, holding the German crew prisoner.

The Germans overcome them and sail even farther afield, into the Pacific.  (this U-Boat has a heck of a range!).  The allies manage to take the sub back, but their attempt to land on the West Coast of the US is folied by the sabotage of a Communist traitor and they are lost in the South Pacific with their supplies poisoned.  Their only hope is to land on the mysterious land they find there, only accessible by a submarine through an underground river.  There they find a land stuffed with extinct species.  Soon while the crew explores, the German crew revolts and sails away, leaving them stranded. Then primitive tribesmen attack the camp and carry off Lys, and Bowen heads off to the rescue.  He manages to do so, and tosses the manuscript into a bottle in the sea.

In the second book, the manuscript reaches Bowen’s family and a friend, Tom Billings, heads a rescue expedition.  Tom himself is flying a small plane over the land when it is attacked by a Pterodactyl and he crashes.  He meets up with a fully human native girl Ajor, saving her from death.  He decides to get her back to her tribe and then look for his friend.

On the way Tom finds out about the odd biological system on the island.  Every critter is more or less immortal, and evolves upward through the evolutionary stages itself.  If they live long enough they become advanced enough to give birth to regular kids rather than spawn fish eggs like most females do.  One unmentioned consequence is that in fact everyone on the island is killing and eating their own babies and relatives.  Ick.

During the adventure Tom meets several human tribesmen who wake up and realize that they belong to the next, more advanced tribe down the valley and ‘move on up’ the evolutionary chain.  Tom finds his friend and the rescue party scales the cliffs and everyone leaves – except Tom who stays with his lovely lady on the island.

The third book follows the remainder of the crew, one of whom (Bradley) is snatched by a race of winged men that have evolved on the island and are trying to perfect their race by snatching advanced humans from the regular tribe for their breeding program. There he meets a lovely human girl and rescues her from the winged men.  They meet up with the rescue party from Book 2 and escape to the outer world.

All in all a trio of pretty faced paced, interesting books.  This series has a little less of the ‘crap, Princess Dejah is in trouble again’ plot line that got a bit tiring in the second and third John Carter books.  I hadn’t read any Burroughs before these six books and I enjoyed them all.

 

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