Secret of the Sphinx was the last Indy book or comic published, in 1999. It's the shortest of McCoy's novels but took 2 years to appear. (You may remember the seemingly unbearable drought.) McCoy says "Things became more restrictrive as the books progressed, however, and I have to shoulder my share of the blame. I blew deadlines. I had personal problems." The restrictions might have been because "I had written a time-travel sequence for the last book, but only portions of it survived. Nobody was thrilled with it." Recall several characters observe Indy aging rapidly, but there's no explanation.
Anyway, I have a theory. I don't know how far along the Indy 4 script was seven years ago, but I suspect the Eden plot was at least a serious contender. This places several artifacts off limits: tree of life and its fruit, remains of Adam, flaming sword, book of life, etc. McCoy used the last, and called it the Omega Book. Maybe he changed the tree of life to the staff of Aaron, which produced almonds and not fruit, I dunno. But McCoy is the most likely suspect to have possibly trespassed into Lucas's personal story development, and inadvertently collapsed the expanding Indyverse.
Location: The Host City of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Australia
Originally Posted by Viper
2. I'm not sure if Indy was hiding this, or if McCoy made an error, but in The Secret of the Sphinx, Indy says he was never married, but he was married to Deirdre in one of the books Rob Macgregor wrote, until she died in the very next one.
Indy just didn't want to talk about it. Remember he never says it in the movies, even when GL could have added it into the digitally remastered DVDs. Remember: Cairo marketplace:
MARION: Why haven't you found a nice girl to settle down with and have nine kids like your friend, Sallah?
INDY: Who says I haven't?
This means that either Indy after a point never wanted to talk about it with anyone ever again and kept it to himself or he knew Marion and had the affair with her before Deirdre however the timeline would be screwed because Indy and Marion had the affair in 1926 and Indy was married to Deirdre in 1925 so you would think that Marion would know and felt sympathy and fell in love with Indy.
When I read The Secret of the Sphinx I noticed that Max McCoy lives only about an hour and a half from me (I live in Shawnee, KS he lives in Pittsburg, KS). Today for reading class we got to read our favorite part from a book, and I chose TSOTS, and when I announced the author, my teacher (who's husband has a Boba Fett outfit for conventions, and they even had a Star Wars wedding) said she knew him, and that her husband is a friend of his, and often play(ed or s) cards with him. Pretty cool, huh?
Right, as anyone browsing the literature section over the last few weeks will know, I've been reviewing all the novels as I read them, mostly for the first time. You can find my McGregor reviews here http://raven.theraider.net/showthread.php?t=5858&page=2
and my Caidin ones here http://raven.theraider.net/showthread.php?t=9915&page=2
By the way these reviews contain spoilers, but since the books are almost all over a decade old I didn't think anyone would mind.
As times gone on my reviews have seemingly become more elaborate and lengthy, so I'm not sure whats gonna happen here. Anyway, I'm finally onto Max McCoy and Indiana Jones and the Philosophers Stone
After the very talky Caidin books Philosophers Stone felt like something of a homecoming, here, finally was Indiana Jones again. The action was first rate, the plot was intriguing, the sense of time and place were first rate, with references to the depression serving to ground it somewhat in the realities of the 1930s. There was also a lot of humor, something lacking from the last two books, I especially enjoyed the completely random rescue of our hero and Alicia by some random old couple, terrificly bizarre. Also lacking from the last two books was Indy making mistakes, be it frantically trying to breach the Crystal skulls case in an Italian Museam, or picking the wrong entry way at the lost city of Cozan.
The Book opens with a very Raiders esque, booby trap laden trip through the great temple at Cozan, its described very efficently and tactiley, so its very easy to see Indy desperately trying to stop his deadly slide as hes once again in over his head, but it really stood out to me after finishing White Witch the day before, Indy was actually acting before he had time to think, which for me is the be all and end of Indiana Jones, and this aspect of Indy's character provides some of the best moments in this book. For example, his mad clamber up the outside of one of US navy's dirigibles, as it takes to the skies, very Indiana Jones, also his dialogue was spot on, repeating things like 'Snakes' or 'Fascists' when theres really no need, its sorta an Indiana Jones trademark. And quite funny.
So yes, Indy's character is spot on, in fact at one point as he wandered the streets of new york, I suddenly felt I could connect him right back to 'My first adventure' (I haven't actually mentioned it, but this novel reading excursion is an extension of a Young Indy Marathon I've been engaged in, should finish Crusade just in time for Crystal skull, or if not I can always squeeze fate of atlantis in) it suddenly felt like the Indy who fought in the trenches, had chased the peacocks eye, had worked on broadway, had found the omphalos of Delphi, and wandered amid the seven veils. However that section was written, I could feel the years on him.
However, continuity sorta of took a back seat from then on, Indy for instance can't understand Italian, which I found strange as the last two books had Young Indy references in them, so I thought his knowledge of language would have filtered through. One glaring Geographic error also was placing Lybia next to the red sea (in fact this is how indy ends up there) When it is in fact far across Egypt and most of the sahara from that little stretch of water. Also I was dissapointed by Sallah's sudden appearence late in the novel, don't get me wrong, its good to see the opera loving Arab, and his dialogue was at times hilarious; its just seeing him on the cover I expected the story to detail how Indy first encountered Egypt's best digger.
Great Cliffhanger when Indy;s about to be executed, even if it is a bit reminicent of 'The Living Daylights' I hear some people are dissapointed by the ending, but having the Philosophers stone being a cooling rod in some sort of ancient Nuclear reactor was an interesting twist, and I enjoyed the challenges they had to pass to get to that point. Sarducci was a good villian, nice and insane, while Indy's belief in the curse of the Crystal Skull probably needed something to trigger it narratively.
Oh, and Indy as the pariah of respectable archaeology was much more welcome then his international hero status of the last two books, that and his trangressions in British Honduras suddenly make me aware I'm swiftly approaching the time frame of the movies. Only two years to Temple of Doom!
So yeah, a great fun rollicking book, Good research on the Voynich Manuscript, which is always interesting, good series of locations and some great impulsive action sequences. Heres to the Dinosaur eggs then! And my favourite Indy cover of all!
I especially enjoyed the completely random rescue of our hero and Alicia by some random old couple, terrificly bizarre.
They're not as random as you think...they were the couple mentioned earlier in the book who'd supposedly discovered immortality. That scene was meant to imply they had, since they knew what was going on with Indy and Alicia, etc.
Great review!! Perfectly sums up how I felt about the book (I only recently finished it and Dinousaur Eggs...currently reading Hollow Earth). I've enjoyed your other reviews as well. They definitely echo my opinions of the book series, in a much more well written way than I could ever do it. Great job, man, very well done!
Nicholas Flamel, the old guy, who is said to have achieved imortality, is also mentioned in the first Harry Potter book actually.
I also like the way McCoy, includes historical characters in his books (like in Young Indiana Jones). In this book for example there were: Vilhjalmur Stefansson (the Explorer's Club Manager, who is disgusted by Indy, assuming he's a tomb robber), Italo Balbo (the aviator, who is portrayed as a good man in the novel), John M. Manly (who visits Indy in the beginning at the University), Charles R. Morey (Leader of the Archaeology Deparment of Princeton, who Indy meets in the Vatican) and Nicholas Flamel (who was born in the 1400s and was supposed to be imortal.)
I'm glad you enjoyed McCoy's novel Jeremiah. I also like them pretty much, but my absolute favorite is Labyrinth of Horus, a Hohlbein book, which really manages to hit Indy's character spot on.
Bit of a delay posting this review; I'm have way through hollow earth by now, but I was away for the weekend, out of internet coverage, but here we go any way, its: Indiana Jones and the Dinosaur Eggs
I loved this book, the title kinda sounds a bit silly, but the cover is probably one of my all time favourite Indy covers for anything, it just looks so cool, and they even get the dog in.
Now I've always wanted to go to mongolia, and I will some day, I've always been fascinated by the place, the ruggedness of its inhabitants, the sheer legendary remoteness it and Timbocktou inhabit in the popular consiousness, its just great. Therefore its the perfect setting for an Indiana Jones novel, and Max MCcoy makes great use of the country here.
First of all character. Indiana Jones seems to have evolved somewhat in this book from the last McCoy entry, and I'm guessing it some of it is due to the changes from the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles filtering down. Here, unlike Philosophers stone, Indy can speak different Languages, Russian and Chinese, and his inability to understand some people is explained due to the dialect, rather then Indy not being very good at languages. Also Indy is far more Altruistic in this novel, agreeing rather quickly with Starbuck about the fate of the Dinosaur, and going out of his way to help the dog. This seems to make sense with the Young Indy interpretation of the character, but I wondered wheather we should have seen a bit more of the fortune and Glory Indy of two years later in Doom. Also, I was quite surprised when starbuck made the moves on him, and Indy declared he was a one woman man, perhaps he'd learned that particular lesson from 'scandel of 1920' but it did seem a bit too morally aware. However despite this, Indy's dialogue and character is really pretty much spot on.
The story opens with a bang with the first appearence of Belloq in a rather brief encounter in the sillily named Chateau MalEvil, after an entertaining sequence with some Nazis Indy escapes to break up with Alecia from the last book, while the nazis attempt to blow up Belloq, which is one thing I'm not overly sure of, but I guess it makes sense.
The whole Dinosaur plotline introduced by unortodox Nun Starbuck,(who is well written enough to clearly NOT be a nun from the way she goes on) is done so in an intriguing and rather realistic way. In fact, as a macguffin, Dinosaur eggs work surprisingly well, with their existence built up slowly, and in such a way to make the idea somehow seem plausible in a H.G. Wells sense.
Wu Han and Lao Che are also introduced, and while Lao Che was left back in Shanghai in his club, where he seemed a bit 2 dimensional, Wu Han I could immediately see as the actor from doom in how he talked and acted, and while I was dissapointed that he wasn't in the novel more, it was clear the debt he owed Jones, and I finished the novel regretting his untimely death at the hands of Lao Che's son.
The Granger plot was realistic and slow burning, a gradual build towards crisis point, and though how it was dealt with was well handled, I had some doubts about Granger's sincerity to keep the new born Dinosaur secret.
As usual the action sequences were flawless, especially the fight on the Whale in the natural history museum which provided a couple of great comedy moments, such as when it lurched towards a terrified school group.
Special mention must go to Indy's faithful canine companion, the same breed as Indiana, Loki was a well written character, who I initially feared would be a bit cutesie but proved to be quite the opposite. I was very glad he didn't die in the end, as he feared he had to.
I like the inclusion of both the Dali and anti - dali llama, and the discussion of their roles, though I'm not sure about the reality of the anti - llama, I appreciated the dicotomy. Also I found the cannabalistic bandit leader in Mongolia quite unnerving in his heart eating tendencies. Good villiany. Indeed when Indy broke free from the Anti-LLama's evil influence and threw a spear through his torso, the Indiana Jones fanfare was pretty much audible to anyone near as it played in my head. One thing that bugged me though was how Indy finally found Professor Starbuck, after escaping from the bandits, they just walked over, and one wonders why they hadn't done so before? Or why they had never been attacked with their llama citadel so close to the bandit lair.
The ending also was a great cliffhanger as the quest for the crystal skull continues.
So yeah, great exciting Indiana Jones book, and the next one is going pretty well too. Almost done..
Its my penultimate review, spoilers abound, its Indiana Jones and the Hollow Earth
Another very good Indy adventure from Max Mccoy, and one that is fairly heavy in continuity that might annoy first time readers. Overall I came out of this novel with a good impression, although there are a few structural problems I have with it.
First let me talk about Indiana Jones. Indy's Characterisation in this book is, for the most part, great, you can really hear him saying the dialogue. However like in Dinosaur's Eggs, Indy at times comes across as a little too altruistic; he leaves behind all that aphace gold, though in little more then a year he;'ll be in India muttering about Fortune and Glory, also I don't think he would have turned down Ulla's offer of intimacy, I know he loves Alecia, but this is Indiana Jones, he just seemed a little bit too 'nice'. Although for the most part he was very Indy, and I'd rather this portrayal to the one in Volume one of the Indiana Jones adventures, where I found him to be a little bit too far in the other direction, a little bit too mercenary.
I liked how the Alecia plot strand ended, tragic and shocking, though I was never really convinced that he loved Alecia as much as he does, don't think she was made out to be as amazing as she needed to be in Philosophers stone, for her to have the effect on Indy that she does here.
As I said the structure is a bit odd, we have the classic 'someone comes to Indy for help' opening, then indy starts getting caught up before heading off on his own mini adventure in Mexico and New Orleans before finally getting back on plot. I think possibly it would have been better if it was revealed beforehand why Indy was going to Mexico, however I really liked these booby trap scenes, and its always great to see Belloq, though for some reason I always have difficulty picturing him in my head.
The middle of the book was something like Sky Pirates, albeit a better written, shorter, more exciting version. It actually seemed relatively normal that Indy was working so closely with the military. I loved the near Collision with the Graf Zepplin, although I'm not exactly sure why Indy insisted on keeping the German Messerschmit in one piece, as he didn't really do anything with the crashed plane.
It was odd that indy never even thought about his last adventure in the Interior world, but I suppose hes relegated that to a dream he once had. However, as a concept its handled much better, and as the book reaches its conclusion it really felt like an Indiana Jones movie, especially the bit where he first encounters the Nazis inside the tunnel, in my head it seemed similar to the Donavan confrontation in the Grail Temple of Crusade. Also the helter scelter dash through the tunnel systems was great, real sense of desperation. However I think the interior chamber world could have been described a little more spectacularly, it would have been nice if they could have stayed there a little longer.
As usual all the action sequences and the humour are great, I especially liked the random bit where Indy stopped the gangster bank robbery.
So yeah, again I could hear the Raiders march in my head as I read this, maybe it was because I was interrupted reading it as I was camping and filming a World War one movie and had to stop half way through the first section of the book but I didn't love it as much as the other Mccoy books. Solidy great though and reccommended.
Here it is, my final book review, its Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Sphinx
Great book, Indy seems to behave far more like Indy in this book then the others. A bit more ruthless, maybe its because of what happened to Alecia. So yeah, his character is written well, his jokes, his fear of snakes, getting the crap beaten outta him as usual.
This book pretty much covers all bases when it comes to Macguffins, the tomb of Chin shi huangdi, check, the staff of aaron, check, the omega book, check check and check, its almost as if Mccoy wanted to use up what archaeological mysteries as quickly as possible. I love the bit in the Emporers tomb though, one thing that always annoyed me about the game was that it didn't represent the amazing legends of the tomb, with its scale map of china with rivers of liquid mercury and a sky of diamonds, even though the Lucasarts game website pre release described this. Well its all present here, and its great, though I wish it had been more central to the plot and that he'd spent more time there.
As for the staff of Aaron, it makes a great quest item, so much so that this novel will soon be doubly contradicted by another game and novel, while already its space in continuity has been made difficult by Emperor's tomb. How many times can Indy go after the same thing? Oh wait, I just read on wiki that mose's rod is a seperate thing, the Nehushtan, still Emperor's tomb contradicts this (and dinosaur's eggs as well) but I prefer Indy's adventures here to those in Emperors tomb, so I know what 'happened' in my personal continuity.
The Omega book was a cool artefact too, the possibilty of knowing how life will turn out is a great one, though the trap of not being allowed to read ones own entry could easily be avoided by simply bringing a friend.
The storm sequence was great though I was disappointed the new Zealander died so quickly, I liked that character. Imperial Japan made a good enemy to chase Indiana, nicely different to the Nazis.
I thought the sequence where Indy and Sallah explore the tomb beneath the Sphinx was great, real indiana Jones, I could picture that section clearer then any, maybe its because I've been in tombs and subterranean passages like that myself, or maybe because it was so similar to Raiders. I liked all the references too, Sallah's kids popped clearly into my head in a way I hardly expected them too considering their two second screen time in Raiders. Sallah refering to the gang as 'Raiders' was a nice touch, so too was the use of his brother in laws car and Marcus approaching Indy about the remains of Nurhaci (though why Marcus would come on behalf of Lao Che is unclear).
The supporting characters too were refreshingly different, although without the lack of eligible females Indy once again continued his romantic drought that seems to be a hallmark of MCcoy novels, hell the man has only barely kissed a girl in the last two and a half years. However I liked Faye and the oddly named Mystery, more then I thought I would.
Now, the Problem, the aborted Time Travel plot, I really don't see why, once it was excised, all references to Indy's apart aging couldn't have been erased. As it stands its fairly confusing and my head kept changing Indy from his Raiders youth to his Crystal skull bulkiness in my head as it went along. I really would like to know what happened to make him go back in time, and where the 'real' Indy is at that moment, if what we are seeing is an Indy from the future, though judging by some passages it seems that its actually present Indy who has aged (i.e when he sees himself in the mirror) Indeed the references are so numberous, and so blunt, as to make parts of the book somewhat unsatisfactory, and the ending is very strange indeed with Indy seemingly back in time at Cozan for no particular reason, and then talking to Einstein about it. Its unfortunate, but it can only be seen as a weak ending to an excellent series of books.
Some other issues crop up, like Indy claiming never to have been married, but then again he could have been lying to put Faye off, after all at this stage is was almost a decade ago.
So thats it, wheather this book is still part of an official Indiana Jones Chronology remains to be seen, but it was still a very vivid and enjoyable read.
So thats it from my Indiana Jones book reviews, I hope they have proved enjoyable in whatever way reviews can consider themselves to be so, they've certainly helped me refine what I think of the books in my head, as well as express that inalienable need we all have to talk about the things that excite us. Now its onto rewatching the Trilogy, re reading the comics, completeing Atlantis and Infernal Machine again, all that in time for the Region 2 release of Crystal skull, then finally Stoo might get around to uploading the rest of the Old Indiana Jones Chronicles to YouTube and my 4 month old Indy Marathon may finally come to an end. So. Adios, Auf Wiersien, Ciou, Fare well and Asallam Allakuum
I think Mc Macoy should have written Crystal Skull.
I have yet to read the novel, so i cant complain about the quality but it felt right for caidin to write it since indy was looking for a crystall skull in his adventures and now he found one (it could have been another (expanded universe though) reason to look after the skull in the story) And also when he explains to mutt about them he could have mentioned his previous search for it.
...and its always great to see Belloq, though for some reason I always have difficulty picturing him in my head.
I've been cautiously following your McCoy reviews - avoiding spoilers - because I'm reading them myself. For the three I've read, I think you're spot-on with your reviews. Well done, sir.
I love the characters and the depth. That's to be expected though, because a novel can often times flesh-out a story much more thoroughly than two hours of film. McCoy certainly has his finger on the pulse of all things Indiana Jones. Great characters. I am particularly fond of Alecia. I think she's perfect as a damsel in distress, as well as a muse for Indy later.
My point with jumping into your reviews now is the sentence you posted above. I also can't seem to picture Paul Freeman as Belloq when I'm reading the novels. For reasons I have no explanation for, Belloq comes across as looking and sounding like the actor Vincent Cassel.
Even stranger to me is the fact that I have seen Cassel in only one film, in a small role, and know absolutely nothing about the guy. He just seems to be the way McCoy describes his attitude and behavior - particularly during the New Orleans portions of the story.
I very much prefer the McCoy novels to Temple and Crusade. Moving forward - Philosophers Stone, Dinosaur Eggs, & Hollow Earth will be my go-to Indiana Jones stories when I'm not watching Raiders or Kingdom. I suspect Secret of the Sphinx will join them.
Anyway, I look forward to starting Secret of the Sphinx after Christmas and will check back on your thoughts on that one as well.
Just looked Vincent Cassel up on google, and you're right! Far sleazier looking then Freeman, if thats the right word.
Glad you're enjoying the reviews. Just re read some of them there, it nice to have comments after so long. As I mentioned in one of them, it was a good way of concreting what I felt about the novels, that and I felt reviews were one thing this site missed. They're good old books though, great fun. So secret of the sphinx eh? Enjoy.. and remember to share your thoughts
I just finished reading the Genesis Deluge. I must say that I have really been enjoying Max McCoy and is writing style when it comes to Indy. I just hope the rest of his books are as enjoyable. From the reviews I've read so far, it does not look like they will disapoint.