Review of 'Lord Tyger'

Lord Tyger by Philip José Farmer

lord_tyger.jpg Ras (Lord) Tyger is a young man living in the jungle on top of a plateau having been raised by his parents Mariyam and Yusufu. They are watched over by “Igziyabher” (literally “God”) who lives at the top of a tall black stone pillar in the middle of a lake. Periodically a “Bird of Igziyabher” with it's fast spinning circular wings living on top of the pillar come in for a closer look at what Ras is up to including scaring him off when he breaks the rules. Igziyabher him/herself is no where to be seen though influences Ras through the rules and information communicated to him through his parents who appear to be in regular communication with Igziyabher.

As Ras grows into a man he is captivated by the Wantso, a primitive tribe of native people living some distance away. In particular he is attracted to the pretty “Wilda”, a girl very similar in age to himself. Tired of simply observing Ras starts taking an active role by creeping into the Wantso village at night to have sex with not only Wilda but also the village woman who are unsatisfied with their circumcised husbands. His exploits do not go unnoticed by the village men…this will not end well for anyone.

When Eeva, a mysterious woman unusually wearing a covering of animal skin, as opposed to Ras' basic loin cloth, arrives on the plateau she fills Ras' mind with thoughts of what is beyond the small world of his plateau this leads to him questioning what he has long believed to be true. But does Igziyabher want his subject to be enlightened? Indeed, what is it that Igziyabher actually wants?

An obvious modern retelling of the Tarzan story by Edgar Rice Burroughs this is an altogether much dark version with frequent explicitly visceral violence as well as frequent (also explicit) sexual activity. It is likely Burroughs would be rolling in his grave reading “Lord Tyger”. The connotations of a boy kept like an animal (without giving anything away) and how it effects him mentally is very much front and center told in a way that is perhaps much more believable than the original. I can't say the results of the situation is a person that is particularly likeable but he is certainly, at least initially, an innocent. This innocence, as in the original, quickly becomes corrupted by circumstance and the sexual drives of manhood (though the later unlike the original). Ras' story ends up becoming one of vengeance as the blood starts flowing…As the hero of this story Ras does a lot of fairly nasty things but in the context of his world these seem to flow relatively logically from continual reinforcing by those around him of his superiority. It is with this that he seeks to master his world and those in it.

Certainly not one for the faint of heart “Lord Tyger” is the struggle of a maturing young man, the world in which he lives and how he deals with the hand which fate has dealt him. I can't say I particularly enjoyed the story but it was interesting.

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2018-11-18

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Titan Books

Publication Date: 2012

ISBN: 9780857689665