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Old 10-25-2013, 09:01 AM   #1
Lyain
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WORST Indy novel?

I have something of a collection of Indiana Jones novels -- mostly the stuff by Max McCoy and Rob MacGregor, but I also have Sky Pirates and White Witch both by Martin Caidin, and lastly Army of the Dead by Steve Perry. I haven't read MOST of them; Sky Pirates, Secret of the Sphinx, and Seven Veils are all about the ones I've managed so far. I really had to drop Sky Pirates because it was so dry and non-Indyesque. Although, it did have a FEW kinda-good lines from what I remember from reading it a bajillion years ago -- well, besides something about Indy's glasses making him look like a mongoose, I don't remember anything else about it, but neither can I say it didn't have ANY redeeming qualities whatsoever. Never read White Witch because of that, and I didn't touch any of the others because I just haven't had time! But there are tons more Indy books out there. I'd really like to know which ones you guys think are the worst.

Obviously, in my opinion, it's Sky Pirates! But I've got a limited knowledge -- I'm sure there's an Indy novel out there that's worse!
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Old 10-25-2013, 08:42 PM   #2
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Army of the Dead is hands-down the worst Indy novel I have EVER read. I was really excited when it was announced, because we'd been without new IJ literature for over a decade, and I optimistically predicted that it would launch a whole new series of Indy books. Anyway, I picked up the book the day it hit the stores, but shelved it for a long airplane flight I was taking a few months later. Well, thanks to Steve Perry's complete lack of research, the flight turned out a lot longer than it seemed. I literally had to force myself to finish the story because of how awful it was. Don't get me wrong, Perry is a decent writer in the Star Wars universe, but completely out of his element in the world of Indiana Jones. I will almost guarantee that he didn't bother reading at least one book in the original series to get a feel for the material. There were a few Indy-esque moments, but it was a monotonously tortuous slog to the finale, which I greeted more with relief than suspense. Needless to say, I immediately disposed of the novel at a used bookstore the week I returned from my trip. So, by all means, steer clear of this one!
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Old 10-26-2013, 12:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whipwarrior
Army of the Dead is hands-down the worst Indy novel I have EVER read.

Oh, without question. The Caidins at least had some interesting character work here and there, and were informed by the author's expertise in what is a legitimately prominent pulp element. White Witch dealt with a major artifact and gave us time on the Graf Zeppelin, and Sky Pirates had a team of commandos, one of whom was killed by a stuffed bear.

But Army of the Dead was, as whipwarrior says, a "monotonously torturous slog" offering few interesting diversions and even fewer action set pieces. I read Perry's book much more recently than the MacGregor, Caidin, and McCoy entries (each of which I've read twice, if memory serves), and could tell you of only three incidents within the thing, one of which I only remember because I checked my prior post on the subject first. Indy dealing with zombies in the Caribbean is a good idea. The German and Japanese commanders having their own portions could have been interesting, but just contributed to the sense of the adventure as a whole being rather slight and brief, since many moments in time were recounted 3 or 4 times. Truly disappointing.
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Old 10-26-2013, 12:45 PM   #4
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I need to drag them all out and finish reading them. I've read quite a few, but not all yet. When we moved, I packed them away with my other books and never got them back out.
The worse so far in my opinion, was Genesis Deluge. It was boring. I dread reading Sky Pirates and White Witch.
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Old 10-26-2013, 05:23 PM   #5
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Caidin's books are okay if you're in the right frame of mind and have more than a passing interest in aviation, but Army of the Dead hasn't one redeeming quality whatsoever.
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Old 10-27-2013, 01:16 PM   #6
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Caiden's books definately are the weakest that I've read, but I haven't read Army of the Dead yet. From the comments in the thread, I think I'll extend that 'yet' to 'ever'.
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:17 PM   #7
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"You have chosen... wisely." Believe me, that book was 6 hours of my life that I'll never get back.
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:49 PM   #8
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I haven't read many of the novels, but IMHO Army of the Dead wasn't the worst. Unlike the other novels which I have read, I could imagine watching the core story of Army on screen. As others have pointed out there is far too much padding and narrative for the secondary characters - much like the movie novelizations will break from the action seen on screen and dive into inner monologues.

I guess that's my criteria for a good Indy story - I'd like something I could imagine filmed. Since screenplays are far shorter than novels, some padding needs to take place. The alternative is wedging Indy - a pulp film character - into a more traditional novel structure... which I find dilutes the character.

Let's see, I've read:
  • Peril at Delphi
  • Seven Veils
  • Unicorn's Legacy
  • Sky Pirates
  • Dinosaur Eggs
  • Army of the Dead

Honestly, they were all terribly forgettable. Delphi tried too hard to be an origin story. Veils spent too much time building up a world and secondary characters in MacGregor's arc. Unicorn was a boring slog. Sky Pirates was a completely different genre and was Indy even in it? And so forth.
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Old 05-01-2018, 12:26 PM   #9
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I purchased all the Bantam novels over time at half price books and (unfortunately) the last two I've read were written by Martin Caidin.

So I had to revive this thread because I just finished up with Sky Pirates and man was that a stinker!

Should've been called Gale Parker and the Airplane Instruction Manual. Indy is a shoehorned James Bond who is outshined by his eclectic team mates. The only thing that doesn't outshine Dr. Jones is the 200 pages dedicated to the author telling us how much minutia he knows about flying airplanes.

I'm currently in the middle of Gale Parker and the White Witch which is just slightly better because only the first chapter (as far as I'm aware) has been dedicated to the trivial details of how to fly a plane. And Caidin has a way of sucking the mystery and wonder right out of a tale with dry scientific explanations almost from the outset. He makes Indy sound more like Bill Nye the Science Guy than an archaeologist.
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Old 05-02-2018, 09:41 AM   #10
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I need to go back and re-read Army of the Dead again. I don't remember it being great but I thought it was okay, though I haven't read it since 2009. Sky Pirates still stands as the weakest for me.
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Old 05-03-2018, 11:51 AM   #11
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Just finished up Gale Parker and the White Witch and yeah, that was pretty sucky too.

Both Caidin books were awful. Just awful.
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Old 05-04-2018, 10:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deepermagic
He makes Indy sound more like Bill Nye the Science Guy than an archaeologist.
Without commenting on what Indy should sound like, I must note that this is what most archaeologists really sound like.
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Old 05-04-2018, 11:47 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Finn
Without commenting on what Indy should sound like, I must note that this is what most archaeologists really sound like.

True. And I'm sure his descriptions of how to fly a plane are accurate as well.

Still boring as hell.
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Old 05-07-2018, 08:58 PM   #14
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Favorite Indy novels

To be honest, as a HUGE fan, the only ones I was not dissapointed in were the first three Max McCoy ones. I really felt MacGregor's were just OK. And McCoy's last one: Secret of the Sphinx, had a lot of potential but had some weirdness going on with Indy having random memory problems. I understand there was a time-travel element that was edited out after the draft was submitted to Lucasfilm and McCoy didn't get a chance to go back and refine the story without that subplot.
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Old 05-09-2018, 10:24 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by punisher5150
To be honest, as a HUGE fan, the only ones I was not dissapointed in were the first three Max McCoy ones. I really felt MacGregor's were just OK. And McCoy's last one: Secret of the Sphinx, had a lot of potential but had some weirdness going on with Indy having random memory problems. I understand there was a time-travel element that was edited out after the draft was submitted to Lucasfilm and McCoy didn't get a chance to go back and refine the story without that subplot.

Interesting. I didn't know about that bit of background
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Old 06-16-2018, 06:15 AM   #16
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Darn, I would really like to respond on this thread's topic but I feel because I came in later into the book series that I had very different expectations than a lot of you guys (and girls) when you started to read the books back in the 90s.

In general I just did not enjoy the Indiana Jones books. There were moments I thought were very cool but which I found the general storyline and execution lacking.
In comparison I enjoyed some of the Indy comics by Dark Horse a lot more.

Still there are a couple of books of which I can say that I liked them.
Like another poster here I also preferred the Max McCoy books over the Rob MacGregor ones. I did not even bother with the Martin Caidin ones after I read here and on various book sites that they were very un-Indiana Jones like.

I would like to be able to tell why I did not like the Rob MacGregor ones. It has to do with the more personal stories or human stories in them, sometimes about Indiana Jones himself but often about the side characters.
Quite often I did not find any of these characters that interesting at all that I really wanted to follow their threads and development.
The stories at least at the start also lacked any of the excitement of the movies. Later on MacGregor seems to put more action into it but it didn't work for me.

When it comes to which book I dislike the most then I would have to pick "Indiana Jones and the Interior World". I felt it was to fantastic even for Indiana Jones, suddenly having this inner world with its own human communities/tribes, internal politics, magic, some madman who wants to align with Hitler.
I know the idea of there being some hidden world inside the Earth was a popular theory or myth in the early 20th century but I just did not like this story.

The same kind of goes for Max McCoy's "Indiana Jones and the Hollow Earth", it at some people becoming to overdone fantastic to the point I could not take it serious. (interesting enough I do like the Aetherium in Infernal Machine, go figure)
Not so much the part with the statues or the engravings in the wall that came to life to attack Indy and the others, but rather what came after it.

I think this storyline also shared some other similarities with Interior World such as Indy's memories of these places being erased.

Oh and there was this segment in Hollow Earth in which a love interest of Indy dies and he gives the main antagonist a speech that I felt was so un Indiana Jones like. I would have to look it up again in order to tell what it was.


Of the MaxMcCoy books I think Indiana Jones and the Philosopher Stone was the best.
Indiana Jones and the Dinosaur Eggs had an interesting premise but it never seemed to live up to it. I kind of had hoped that Indiana Jones would indeed have found a lost world with many dinosaurs.
I also did not find the antagonists that interesting.

Indiana Jones and the secret of the Sphinx was sort of the same for me, an interesting premise that lacked the execution it needed to be exciting for me.


I have also bought the Dutch versions of the Wolfgang Hohlbein books this year. I was not very impressed with many of these either.
Some of them I have not finished yet such as "Indiana Jones and the Lost People", but stories such Feathered Snake, Gold of El Dorado, and Secret of Easter Island felt underwhelming.

This is more personal but when I was reading Indiana Jones and the Ship of the Gods I was waiting for that flying saucer to appear which was previously mentioned on the book description here on the Raider and when it did not I was rather disappointed.
No, not that I wanted Indiana Jones to meet aliens. I more had hoped for a scene in which Indy and his companions watch as the iceberg breaks up and a flying saucer appears which then flies off into space, leaving the characters guessing what they just saw and how it was connected to what they experienced during the adventure.

Of all of Hohlbein's books I think Indiana Jones and the Labyrinth of Horus was the best.
A lot of the story was rather slow at times but I really enjoyed the revelation or surprise at the end when it was revealed that there a strange non human entity trapped in the labyrinth that sought to escape its prison.
We did not learn much about the creature itself but through its actions it was clear that having this thing loose in the world would not be good for humanity. Best not to reveal more.


I did get Army of the Dead despite a lot of the negative reviews on Amazon because it was an Indiana Jones book and I wanted to check it out. But I have to agree with a lot of the people who wrote the review because the boo was a slog to get through and I can barely recall any of it.
A shame because a storyline in which Indy has to face an army of resurrected warriors or an army of zombies could have been really awesome. Such a disappointment that Dark Horse never made Indiana Jones and the Dance of Death, I would have liked to have seen the Fourth Horseman and the zombies it created.


Indiana Jones and the Mystery of Mount Sinai was okay though some of it felt like a copy of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis regarding the mcguffin.
One of the highlights for me was Helmut von Mephisto and his electrical bolt firing robot arm. Okay he is a damn over the top villain but after being rather disappointed with the previous antagonists Indy has faced he was a welcome change even if he is a stereotypical evil Nazi.
One thing I did find unnecessary was Indy dragging those kids that aided him in Italy with him to Egypt.

I skipped Indiana Jones and the Pyramid of the Sorcerer. That one was okay but nothing special.


Truth be told if Disney decides to declare all the books non canon (I doubt that they are canon to begin) I would not actually have such a big problem with it as long as any new books that would be written would be of superior quality. Otherwise it would not really matter.
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Old 06-16-2018, 05:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDutchGhost
Darn, I would really like to respond on this thread's topic but I feel because I came in later into the book series that I had very different expectations than a lot of you guys (and girls) when you started to read the books back in the 90s.

In general I just did not enjoy the Indiana Jones books. There were moments I thought were very cool but which I found the general storyline and execution lacking.
In comparison I enjoyed some of the Indy comics by Dark Horse a lot more.

Still there are a couple of books of which I can say that I liked them.
Like another poster here I also preferred the Max McCoy books over the Rob MacGregor ones. I did not even bother with the Martin Caidin ones after I read here and on various book sites that they were very un-Indiana Jones like.

I would like to be able to tell why I did not like the Rob MacGregor ones. It has to do with the more personal stories or human stories in them, sometimes about Indiana Jones himself but often about the side characters.
Quite often I did not find any of these characters that interesting at all that I really wanted to follow their threads and development.
The stories at least at the start also lacked any of the excitement of the movies. Later on MacGregor seems to put more action into it but it didn't work for me.

When it comes to which book I dislike the most then I would have to pick "Indiana Jones and the Interior World". I felt it was to fantastic even for Indiana Jones, suddenly having this inner world with its own human communities/tribes, internal politics, magic, some madman who wants to align with Hitler.
I know the idea of there being some hidden world inside the Earth was a popular theory or myth in the early 20th century but I just did not like this story.

The same kind of goes for Max McCoy's "Indiana Jones and the Hollow Earth", it at some people becoming to overdone fantastic to the point I could not take it serious. (interesting enough I do like the Aetherium in Infernal Machine, go figure)
Not so much the part with the statues or the engravings in the wall that came to life to attack Indy and the others, but rather what came after it.

I think this storyline also shared some other similarities with Interior World such as Indy's memories of these places being erased.

Oh and there was this segment in Hollow Earth in which a love interest of Indy dies and he gives the main antagonist a speech that I felt was so un Indiana Jones like. I would have to look it up again in order to tell what it was.


Of the MaxMcCoy books I think Indiana Jones and the Philosopher Stone was the best.
Indiana Jones and the Dinosaur Eggs had an interesting premise but it never seemed to live up to it. I kind of had hoped that Indiana Jones would indeed have found a lost world with many dinosaurs.
I also did not find the antagonists that interesting.

Indiana Jones and the secret of the Sphinx was sort of the same for me, an interesting premise that lacked the execution it needed to be exciting for me.


I have also bought the Dutch versions of the Wolfgang Hohlbein books this year. I was not very impressed with many of these either.
Some of them I have not finished yet such as "Indiana Jones and the Lost People", but stories such Feathered Snake, Gold of El Dorado, and Secret of Easter Island felt underwhelming.

This is more personal but when I was reading Indiana Jones and the Ship of the Gods I was waiting for that flying saucer to appear which was previously mentioned on the book description here on the Raider and when it did not I was rather disappointed.
No, not that I wanted Indiana Jones to meet aliens. I more had hoped for a scene in which Indy and his companions watch as the iceberg breaks up and a flying saucer appears which then flies off into space, leaving the characters guessing what they just saw and how it was connected to what they experienced during the adventure.

Of all of Hohlbein's books I think Indiana Jones and the Labyrinth of Horus was the best.
A lot of the story was rather slow at times but I really enjoyed the revelation or surprise at the end when it was revealed that there a strange non human entity trapped in the labyrinth that sought to escape its prison.
We did not learn much about the creature itself but through its actions it was clear that having this thing loose in the world would not be good for humanity. Best not to reveal more.


I did get Army of the Dead despite a lot of the negative reviews on Amazon because it was an Indiana Jones book and I wanted to check it out. But I have to agree with a lot of the people who wrote the review because the boo was a slog to get through and I can barely recall any of it.
A shame because a storyline in which Indy has to face an army of resurrected warriors or an army of zombies could have been really awesome. Such a disappointment that Dark Horse never made Indiana Jones and the Dance of Death, I would have liked to have seen the Fourth Horseman and the zombies it created.


Indiana Jones and the Mystery of Mount Sinai was okay though some of it felt like a copy of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis regarding the mcguffin.
One of the highlights for me was Helmut von Mephisto and his electrical bolt firing robot arm. Okay he is a damn over the top villain but after being rather disappointed with the previous antagonists Indy has faced he was a welcome change even if he is a stereotypical evil Nazi.
One thing I did find unnecessary was Indy dragging those kids that aided him in Italy with him to Egypt.

I skipped Indiana Jones and the Pyramid of the Sorcerer. That one was okay but nothing special.


Truth be told if Disney decides to declare all the books non canon (I doubt that they are canon to begin) I would not actually have such a big problem with it as long as any new books that would be written would be of superior quality. Otherwise it would not really matter.

So that makes Interior World, Hollow Earth AND Seven Veils as being works in which his memories were erased? How does a protagonist grow as a character with the convenient amnesia at the end?
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Old 06-17-2018, 07:03 AM   #18
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Hello The Fedora,

If I recall correctly Indy does remember most of the adventure, just not how it ended and how he ended up back on the surface.

It is a rather convenient way out of Indy saying something like "This reminds me of another adventure that took me to an inner world" excuse.

But yeah I agree, this is bad and it borders to much on a "It was all a dream" which is a big "no no" in writing.
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Old 07-19-2018, 09:42 AM   #19
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Hey Dutch Ghost.

Glad to see someone else on here who is trying to get through the Hohlbein novels!

So far I quite liked Erfenis van Avalon and Gevederde Slang. Het Godenschip left me a little underwhelmed.

When I have read the other Hohlbein novels I will have read all the Indiana Jones books.

But the worst I personally indeed find the Army of the Dead.
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Old 07-21-2018, 09:16 AM   #20
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For me it was Sky Pirates, I didn't even have the patience to start on White Witch after, skipped in favor of starting Max McCoy's novels.

Haven't read Army of the Dead yet though.
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Old 07-21-2018, 08:17 PM   #21
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Spare yourself the agony and don’t ever touch that book. You’ll thank me later.
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Old 07-21-2018, 09:56 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whipwarrior
Spare yourself the agony and don’t ever touch that book. You’ll thank me later.
Army of the Dead can't be as terrible as the Rinzler story Mystery of Mount Sinai, could it?
The story's main villain was a poorly-written, hilariously stereotypical Nazi who shot lightning from his arm. At a certain point, it felt more like a terrible Star Wars novel that stuck Indy in it before it was vomited out onto shelves.
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Old 07-26-2018, 12:57 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by TheFirebird1
Army of the Dead can't be as terrible as the Rinzler story Mystery of Mount Sinai, could it?
The story's main villain was a poorly-written, hilariously stereotypical Nazi who shot lightning from his arm. At a certain point, it felt more like a terrible Star Wars novel that stuck Indy in it before it was vomited out onto shelves.

The Rinzler book is fun if not a bit silly. Both the Scholastic books at least have a sense of adventure with good set pieces. Army of the Dead has none of that. The horrible slog comments are too kind— that novel is atrocious.
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Old 07-26-2018, 11:12 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThrowMeTheWhip
The Rinzler book is fun if not a bit silly. Both the Scholastic books at least have a sense of adventure with good set pieces.

Going to have to disagree with you there. The plots interlinking the two books are pretty atrocious, rehashing the whole "creepy ancient influences from space" that KotCS highlighted, characters are often useless and push the story back instead of contributing to anything (the two Italian kids, Isabella and Giovanni, were pretty much the Jar-Jars of that novel), and the villains were poorly thought out and described (whenever we meet Mephisto, he states he's a Nazi and member of Himmler's group over and over again, while also referring to Indy as a subhuman untermensch-we get it, he's a Nazi, and he's not even frightening like Toht or Vogel could be, but instead completely ridiculous). Just because a book is aimed towards a younger audience doesn't mean it has to be taxing on my brain cells.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThrowMeTheWhip
Army of the Dead has none of that. The horrible slog comments are too kind— that novel is atrocious.
Never read it before, but I'll take your word on it.
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Old 08-12-2018, 04:18 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Joosse
Hey Dutch Ghost.

Glad to see someone else on here who is trying to get through the Hohlbein novels!

So far I quite liked Erfenis van Avalon and Gevederde Slang. Het Godenschip left me a little underwhelmed.

When I have read the other Hohlbein novels I will have read all the Indiana Jones books.

But the worst I personally indeed find the Army of the Dead.

Apologies for not responding, I don't visit this forum very often and I forget that this forum does not give any update when there is a response to a thread I participated in.

Yeah Ship of the Gods was rather disappointing for me as well like I described in the post. Feathered Snake was okay but never really lived up for me so far I can recall.
I think the last one I read was Secret of Eastern Island. After that I just lost interest in reading more of Hohlbein.

From how you write I assume you find it a challenge as well to get through these books? I hate to say it but I found some rather underwhelming or even boring.

Recently I have been checking out stories of a pulp hero somewhat similar to Indiana Jones called Athena Voltaire. It is not as strong as the Indy stories when they are on their best but it is a good alternative if you have read all the Indy comics.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFirebird1
Army of the Dead can't be as terrible as the Rinzler story Mystery of Mount Sinai, could it?
The story's main villain was a poorly-written, hilariously stereotypical Nazi who shot lightning from his arm. At a certain point, it felt more like a terrible Star Wars novel that stuck Indy in it before it was vomited out onto shelves.

I actually kind of liked Mephisto even if he is over the top, I found him a lot more iconic than a lot of the other villains in the books even if he is a cartoonish stereotype.
The arm is rather Science! than real science but I could accept it.

The plot was indeed a retread of elements from KOTCS regarding by suggesting aliens/advanced alien technology again, and even a little Fate of Atlantis regarding the metal or material the Nazis were looking for, this time a source of anti gravity instead of energy.

Still I would not mind if Indy faced Helmut von Mephisto again.

In general I enjoyed the Scholastic Young Adult books more than a lot of the regular books.

Last edited by TheDutchGhost : 08-12-2018 at 04:24 PM.
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