Have you always wondered how Carl Denham was able to transport the thirty-foot tall King Kong halfway across the world, from Skull Island to New York City? Well, wonder no more.
Author Will Murray not only answers all those questions but manages to make the "King Kong Story" even better. The book begins when Kong is knocked unconscious by the gas bombs and tranquilizer darts the ship's crew brought with them. He's taken aboard the ship and chained to the lower deck, where he pretty much remains in a sort of coma. Although he's been cared for by Penjaga, a native woman from Skull Island who worships Kong, the ape begins wasting away from lack of food. So they decide to make landfall in Africa and replenish supplies. Of course, this is when Kong awakens and flees into the African jungle. It's a very strange environment for him and he causes havoc, from snapping giraffe necks to eating hippos. This brings the attention of some of the jungle denizens, including the monkey Nkima. He's concerned and tells the Lord of the Jungle about this. Tarzan follows the trail of carnage and meets the giant creature-something that's not quite an ape, not quite a human. In fact, a local tribe of Great Apes meet Kong and start worshipping him as a god.
Meanwhile, Denham also wants to recapture Kong. He and Jack Driscoll do not get along but agree that the ape must be captured. Penjaga and Driscoll want to return Kong back to Skull Island and Denham wants to make money off him when he returns to NYC. They eventually meet up with Tarzan and we find out this isn't the first time the ape man has encountered Denham-and he does not like him one bit. He agrees to help capture Kong only if they return him back to his own land. Denham agrees but you know he has something else planned...
What surprised me about this story is that Ann plays a very small part-she spends most of the time on the ship, in her room, recovering from the trauma she experience on Kong's island. The main interactions are between her and love-interest Jack Driscoll. Also, it's made very clear that Kong is very different than the anthropoids Tarzan has encountered, a carnivorous, ferocious creature he can't easily communicate with.
KING KONG VS TARZAN is one of the coolest books I've come across in a long while, not only because it features two of my favorite fictional characters-Tarzan and King Kong-but because it does it so so seamlessly. Highly recommended.