Indiana Jones and the Hollow Earth (1997) – Max McCoy

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This week’s book shelf sees me continuing to seek out adventure with one of my favorite heroes, Indiana Jones, in the third novel by Max McCoy.

Having previously enjoyed McCoy’s two previous forays into action with the globe-trotting archaeologist, I was quite looking forward to some Nazi punching and delving into hollow Earth theories as Indy takes on this latest quest.

Unfortunately, McCoy spends so much time wrapping up the Crystal Skull arc from the previous two novels, and Indy’s involvement with Alecia Dunstin, that the hollow Earth part of the adventure doesn’t kick off until almost two thirds through the novel. And that’s unfortunate.

As much as the arc through the books has been entertaining, it definitely overshadowed a lot of what should have been happening in this book. he arc necessitates appearances by both Brody, and Belloq (and the French archaeologist isn’t used very well, and a little too melodramtically).

I don’t want to say I was disappointed by this one, but it is definitely the weakest (and the longest) of McCoy’s Indy novels.

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There is so much legend and mythology around the Hollow Earth story that it definitely deserved the full attention of the novel, and making Indy in a race to find it before the Nazis do, and the strange macguffin known as vril, which Hitler and his officers were truly interested in finding as well as any other occult objects that they could get their hands on.

So while the Alecia/crystal skull thing gets resolved, everything else feels a little less than, and nowhere near as riveting as the events in McCoy’s previous books. Which is upsetting, as I was quite enjoying his run with the series. He only has one more entry before the timeline jumps ahead to post-Last Crusade, pre-Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

In terms of dialogue and pacing, McCoy still has it down fairly well, but I keep circling around to the could have been with the story. Gah.

Most things with Alecia could have been tied in with the story, as McCoy does two thirds of the way through the book, and if it had started there, and rocketed on from that as a starting point, we wouldn’t have had some of the silliness between Indy and Belloq.

Honestly the sequence with the Frenchman left me disappointed in this portrayal of the character. Rene Belloq deserved better here, of course as interesting as it was to see him in the previous novel as well, he needed to portrayed a little better there as well.

Oh well, we’ll see what Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Sphinx brings us in a couple of weeks time. And strictly as an aside, I love all the Drew Struzan covers!! So good!

And remember. If adventure has a name, it must be… Indiana Jones!

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