Indiana Jones Books
In 1991, I discovered a new series of books that expanded upon the universe created in the three original Indiana Jones movies. Author Rob McGregor, who had written the novelization of The Last Crusade, returned to write six more adventures from 1991 to 1992. Martin Cadin wrote two books in 1993 and 1994. Max McCoy then took over and wrote four books from 1995 to 1999. One more book was written by Steve Perry in 2009.
The novels begin with Indiana Jones finishing up his college education. Being a fan of history and mythology I loved the setting of the Oracle of Delphi. I loved that Indiana Jones had a mystical vision that would guide him throughout his career. Anyway, then he went to Stonehenge, another favorite. In the 3rd book he went to the jungles of South America and married Deidre Campbell. She dies shortly after they are married. I loved that Indiana was once married. This meant a lot to me and made a lot of sense for the character. The Dance of the Seven Veils is Rob McGregor’s favorite book and mine as well.
Though Indiana Jones and the Genius Deluge was McGregor’s most popular book, it failed to strike a chord in me. I found Indiana Jones and the Unicorn’s Legacy a bit more interesting. Indiana Jones and the Interior World seemed the most fantastic of all McGregor’s books, but maybe that is why it fascinated me. The Interior World connected to two of my favorite cartoons growing up—The Mysterious Cities of Gold and Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea.
I lost interest in the series when Martin Cadin took over. He just didn’t seem to have the right tone or feel for the Indiana Jones world. I do not own either of his books. Then Max McCoy took over and I found myself enjoying the series again. McCoy failed to capture the magic of the original six that McGregor wrote, but he was able to keep my interest and entertain me nevertheless.
I didn’t read Indiana Jones and the Philosopher’s Stone until after Harry Potter came out, so I couldn’t help but compare the two. Perhaps the coolest part of that book was the reference to the real live Voynich Manuscript. The manuscript was written sometime in the early 15th century. It is written in a language that no one can translate, so its contents remain a mystery.
Indiana Jones and the Dinosaur Eggs felt like Indiana had crossed over into Jurassic Park territory, which didn’t really grab me. Indiana Jones and the Hollow Earth seemed to be treading on ground that was a bit too familiar. I am not sure why he wrote a book that echoed McGregor’s, but it wasn’t different enough for me to latch onto. There was something about Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Sphinx that I really liked though. That is probably my favorite out of all the McCoy books. I think that it was a return to the mysticism in Indiana Jones that I appreciate.
The new movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull came out in 2008. The Crystal Skull motif had been briefly visited in McCoy’s novels. Ironically, McGregor had written novel about the Crystal Skull previous to his employment writing about Indiana Jones. Perhaps they should have hired him to write the script. I liked the plot, but felt the writing was flimsier overall. After a 19 year hiatus, it just didn’t have the same feel as the original three. I liked it, but it still felt like it underperformed.
The McGregor’s books follow a fairly coherent timeline that doesn’t contradict the brief descriptions of Indy’s past given by the first three films. While I certainly tuned in to watch The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, which ran from 1992 to 1995, I found them difficult to reconcile with the books. If you tried to write out a timeline for Indy’s life with all the various parts of the franchise, the TV show stretches the suspension of disbelief too far for fans. Meeting all those historical figures in addition to all the mystical adventures is just too much.
So even though I liked The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, I tend to focus on the books for Indiana’s history. It is fair to say that both the movies and the books influence my own writing. Back in 1989 I attempted to write an Indiana Jones sequel of my own called California Jones and the Lost Testaments. It involved Indiana’s adopted daughter searching for the lost book of the bible. Later I moved away from fan fiction and created my own world with The Purple Rose and then Peruvian inspired fantasy Tuykame.