Book Review: ‘Indiana Jones and the Interior World’ by Rob MacGregor

This was the last Indiana Jones book written by Rob MacGregor and also the sixth of the twelve ’90s novels published by Bantam Books.

I was kind of excited going into this one, as it featured Easter Island, a place that has always fascinated me. With that, I hoped it had some Tiki flavor and tapped into that stuff, which it did to a point, but then this gets more focused on what lies beyond the surface… literally.

The book also spends some time in South America and it draws some comparisons to my favorite MacGregor Indy book, The Seven Veils. But sadly, this didn’t match that one in quality.

I thought that the first few chapters in this were really good and it built up my hopes further, as I wanted to see MacGregor go out with a bang. However, it just kind of gets duller and duller as one reads on.

Overall this book turns into an acid trip and it doesn’t really embrace what makes the Indiana Jones franchise so beloved and that’s adventure.

I like that MacGregor ties his books together and the characters and MacGuffins bleed into other works but I just feel like the guy was out of steam here. Maybe he had a six book contract and he was just trying to get it over with, I don’t know. This just feels rushed and severely lacking.

Being that I’m now halfway through the ’90s Indy novels, I am going to take a bit of a break. I will review the other six in the near future but honestly, this one was just tough to get through and I have so many other books in my stack on my reading desk.

Rating: 5.25/10
Pairs well with: other Indiana Jones novels from Bantam Books’ run in the ’90s.

Book Review: ‘Indiana Jones and the Unicorn’s Legacy’ by Rob MacGregor

This is the fifth of the twelve Indiana Jones novels of the Bantam series from the ’90s. It is also Rob MacGregor’s second-to-last installment.

I found the previous book to be the weakest of the series from what I had read so far. Luckily, this one gets back on track fairly well and I enjoyed it more than its predecessor.

The setting of this book is primarily the American southwest. It also goes to Rome for the last few chapters but I liked the American setting and it gave the story a sort of western vibe and also drew some comparisons to the great opening of the 1989 film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

MacGregor wrote the novelization for that film and maybe he was inspired by that opening and wanted to write something larger in that same geographical region.

The story revolves around Indy and a beautiful art historian colleague looking for the horn of a mythical unicorn. A villain from Indy’s past is also looking for the relic for sinister reasons. We also get Indy’s best bud, Jack Shannon, and my favorite Indy character that isn’t Indy, Marcus Brody.

As the story progresses, we learn that the girl might not be a love interest, as Indy had hoped, and that she might have her own nefarious reasons for wanting the horn. Additionally, all of this comes to a head when we learn of a conspiracy involving the Catholic Church and the possible overthrow of Italy’s fascist prime minister, Benito Mussolini.

The story has good action sequences and it’s well paced and there really isn’t a dull moment, even with some of the slower scenes.

I thought that it wrapped up really well with a solid conclusion and I hope this momentum carries over into MacGregor’s last Indiana Jones novel.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: other Indiana Jones novels from Bantam Books’ run in the ’90s.

Book Review: ‘Indiana Jones and the Genesis Deluge’ by Rob MacGregor

This is the fourth book out of the twelve in the original Indiana Jones novel series from the ’90s. This is also my least favorite of the books so far.

Written by Rob MacGregor, who wrote the three before this one, I feel like he was sort of stuck in a creative rut after he told a pretty good, larger story arc that bridged the first three novels.

Before this, Indy had three adventures that were connected, as well as a girl he met in one book and then married and lost her in the next one. He was in a dark emotional place when this story starts but it also felt like he and the creative direction of the series had become a bit directionless. For one book, I can tolerate that, I just hope it picks back up in the next installment.

Additionally, the real international adventure doesn’t even start until the mid-point of the book and then it felt somewhat rushed, even though this is the thickest of the Indiana Jones books, thus far.

The first half of the story dealt with Indy returning to America, Chicago to be exact, meeting up with his friend Jack Shannon, a character throughout the series, and getting caught up in his family’s personal feud with Al Capone. It’s kind of an interesting thing to happen in an Indiana Jones story but it also made this feel like two separate books merged into one where neither story got as much time as it needed to be something solid.

The second half has to do with Indy, Jack and some others going to Turkey to investigate a site that is believed to have the surviving remains of Noah’s Ark. While I did enjoy this for the most part, as well as the Russian villains and their part in the story, it still felt rushed through.

I guess every book in this long-running series can’t be consistently good and stuff like this is typically rushed due to schedules. Still, this was decent enough and it didn’t wreck the Indiana Jones novel series. I just hope the fifth book gets back to the level I came to enjoy with the first three.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: other Indiana Jones novels from Bantam Books’ run in the ’90s.

Book Review: ‘Indiana Jones and the Seven Veils’ by Rob MacGregor

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.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: other Indiana Jones novels from Bantam Books’ run in the ’90s.

Book Review: ‘Indiana Jones and the Dance of the Giants’ by Rob MacGregor

This second book in the ’90s Indiana Jones novel series was better than its predecessor and Rob MacGregor seems to have found his groove a bit more with this one.

Like its predecessor, it feels more like an episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, as opposed to feeling like a story as epic as the film series. That’s fine but I hope these start to get more grandiose in scale.

This book also goes to less places than its predecessor, as the entire story is confined to the United Kingdom, only seeing Indy in London, rural Scotland and Stonehenge.

That being said, if you ever wondered what it’d be like for Indy to have a story take place around Stonehenge, well… this is it!

Even more than the first book, I liked the characters in this a lot. Especially, Indy’s returning college buddy, who got to be much more involved this time around. I also liked the love interest and her role in the bigger picture.

What I really liked, though, was the villain. He was a young, ambitious but evil member of British Parliament. He had his eyes set on unlocking the secrets of Stonehenge and Merlin in an effort to rule the world.

This story takes place after Indy has left college as a student and started his first teaching job in London. This aspect of the story was cool, as you get to see him uncomfortable and a bit out of his element, even though it’s well-known that he becomes a successful archeology professor. It’s these parts of the books I like though, as they serve to enrich the character and fill in some of the blanks from his long, adventurous life.

All in all, this was a lighthearted and exciting read.

Rating: 6.5/10
Pairs well with: other Indiana Jones novels from Bantam Books’ run in the ’90s.