Sunday, 29 May 2016

The Land That Time Forgot (Caspak Book 1) - Edgar Rice Burroughs

Title: The Land That Time Forgot
Author: Edgar Rice Burroughs
Genre: Science-Fiction
Published: 1918
Formats: Hardback/Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
Amazon UK

“The Land that Time Forgot” by Edgar Rice Burroughs is a classic novel set during WWI in which a group of people from both sides of the conflict find themselves stranded in a strange and mysterious land called Caspak. They soon find that Caspak’s seclusion from the world means that there are prehistoric animals and vegetation still surviving there alongside some primitive human tribes. It soon becomes obvious to this group of both allies and enemies that they must face many dangerous adventures if they are to one day return home.

The story is told at a decent pace and I thoroughly enjoyed the initial portions of the novel which covers the capturing of a German U-Boat by the Brits and Americans. This section of the novel was written wonderfully by Burroughs and I found the plot to be quite interesting and engaging. However, once the novel moves onto Caspak itself, the story soon descends into a rather pulpy adventure fantasy which jumps from one crisis to the next. Yes, it is action packed and moves along quickly, but the plot itself just becomes rather flimsy and lacking in depth as Burroughs becomes more interesting in giving the reader action and adventure. For me, the sections of the story set on Caspak were only made bearable due to the wonderful setting itself which Burroughs does make quite atmospheric and I also found the evolutionary aspects of the human tribes quite interesting to observe.

The characters themselves seemed rather too rigidly defined with an obvious hero, love interest and villain there to see. There are no surprises with any of them and to be honest they are all quite lacking in detail. There are no complicated, multi-facetted characters here; they are more or less caricatures that exist just to ensure there is someone there who can be used to fit the various plot points.

My final gripe, is in regards to the ending itself. It is very abrupt and we don’t really get a proper resolution. It feels like an attempt at creating a cliff-hanger to make sure we read the next book, but it just didn’t feel like a truly natural ending to the novel which was a bit disappointing.

Overall, this is an action packed adventure that is interesting enough but it feels rather dated with a rather pulpy plot and quite uninspiring characters. I will probably read the sequel just to find out what happens next and whilst I expect it to be competently written, I am not expecting anything more than a light pulpy fantasy adventure.