Well, we’ve gotten to a book in the Indiana Jones series that feels epic in scale enough to be a story worthy of a film, instead of feeling more like a television episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. Not that the smaller feeling stories before this were bad but it’s nice getting to something that feels more in tune with what I was hoping from these books from the get go. Also, this fills in the time from the young Indy era to the movie era, so slowly building towards bigger adventures actually works kind of well.
This is also a jungle adventure, which we haven’t gotten in the novels yet. It starts off with a great treasure hunt in Guatemala then travels to New York City, giving us the first appearance of Marcus Brody in the novel series, then it goes on an ocean liner from NYC to Rio de Janeiro, other cool parts of Brazil and then deep into the Amazon.
Probably the most interesting thing about the plot is that it actually continues the romantic subplot of the previous novel and even brings back the same girl. In fact, Indy and Deirdre get married in this novel. Sadly, by the end of the adventure, Deirdre dies and Indy is left with the emotion of that, which I’m sure will be a big part of the novel that follows this one.
I’d like to think of these novels as canon as I do the Star Ears Expanded Universe books despite Disney fucking that up. So with that being said, it’s now clear to see why Indy seems to have commitment problems with the women he meets from film-to-film, never truly settling down until the end of the fourth film, which takes place about thirty years after this novel’s setting.
What I like about these Rob MacGregor Indy books is that each one connects in some way to the one before it. He wrote the first six out of these twelve books and I hope the stories continue to have these tiny threads connecting them, even after other authors step into the series in the back half.
This one connects to the Celtic legend of the previous book and ties Celtic lore to the ancient magical lore of South America. In fact, Merlin even reappears in this and you learn more about what Merlin actually is on the bigger stage of the world outside of just the United Kingdom and its nearby lands.
Out of the first three books, all of which I have enjoyed, this one really takes the cake and is my favorite thus far. The characters move around a lot, there isn’t a dull moment, it’s action packed, energetic, fun and it feels like an authentic Indiana Jones adventure.
Pairs well with: other Indiana Jones novels from Bantam Books’ run in the ’90s.