MacGregor, Rob

About the Author:

 

Rob MacGregor is an Edgar-winning author who has been on the New York Times bestseller list.

 

AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:

3 out of 5

(4 books)

Indiana Jones And The Dance Of The Giants

This, the second book of the series, is set in 1925 when Indiana Jones has become a Professor of Archaeology in London.  He becomes entangled with his mysterious boss and her alluring daughter on a dig in Scotland where the academic search for a mythical golden scroll is actually a life or death hunt for the power to rule the world, a hunt which will end in the enigmatic ruins of Stonehenge.

The Indy portrayed here is much close to the Harrison Ford version from the films than he was in '...The Peril At Delphi' and the overall pacing is far more exciting for the reader.  The inclusion of Stonehenge as a major location helps to recapture the sense of ancient mystery that made the films so captivating.

Unfortunately the otherwise enjoyable story is held back by three things, the first of which is that it's too much of a stretch that the Omphalos discovered in Greece in the last book has a link to the investigation of the legend of Merlin here.  The second issue, continuing on the subject of stretching believability, is the not-terribly-interesting character of Jack Shannon, who just happens to move to London at the same time as Indy (after being his roomate in Chicago, moving to Paris at the same time and then following Indy to Greece).  He then, for no discernable reason, follows Indy to Scotland.  It's as if the author feels that by shoe-horning him in he can make his creation as endearing a recurring character as, say, Sallah.  He fails.

My final gripe with this book is Doctor Jones' relationship with Deirdre.  Sure there's only five years or so between their ages and it is the 1920s, but it's still definitely not cool to have your Professor main character enter into a sexual relationship with one of his students.

Followed by 'Indiana Jones and the Seven Veils'.

3 out of 5

 

Indiana Jones And The Genesis Deluge

Book four of the series, set in 1927.  Haunted by the pain of losing his beloved wife, Doctor Jones quits his teaching job in London and returns to Chicago.  There he becomes embroiled in his friend Jack Shannon's links to organised crime before the two of them join a unique expedition in order to escape.  Led on by the allure of a beautiful Russian woman, Indy and Jack find themselves travelling to Turkey in search of Noah's Ark.

It's somewhat fitting that the first book of this series to really capture the spirit of Indiana Jones' big screen adventures happens to be one in which he's on the hunt for a lost ark.  MacGregor finally delivers us an Indy story worthy to be called such, where the character is every bit the rogueish, charming cynic that he should be.

The author also manages to steer clear of his previous mistake of making every single supernatural thing on Earth somehow linked to both the Celts and the Greek Omphalos.  There were a couple of time that I worried he was about to go in that direction, but they turn out to be knowing nods to how unlikely it would actually be.  MacGregor's other favourite recurring element, Jack Shannon, also manages to be a boon to this story rather than a hinderance.  Here his recent involvement in organised crime actually makes him a lot more savvy than he has been before and a worthy ally for Jones.

It's not all good, naturally.  One annoyance for me was how shoe-horned in Al Capone was.  Sure, I liked the fact that Capone's racketeering was part of the threat in this story, but to have the man himself turn up just to beat up Indy really stretched belief.  (Not to mention the fact that in the Young Indiana Jones TV series, Indy and Al meet in 1920.  Surely there'd be some recognition only seven years later?  Not the author's fault, of course, but still an annoyance).

The other let-down, and something you will see criticised in many reviews of this book, is that the Ark itself barely appears in the story and is glossed over very quickly.  I know the journey and the adventure is more important than the prize, but considering that they do actually find Noah's Ark, I would've liked a bit more time spent on that.

Followed by 'Indiana Jones and the Unicorn's Legacy'.

4 out of 5

 

Indiana Jones And The Peril At Delphi

Set in 1922, this is the first book of the series of novels following adult Indy's adventures.  Here, whilst studying Linguistics in Paris, Henry Jones Junior is given the opportunity to accompany a seductive and charismatic woman to Greece in order to begin a new career in archaeology.  He soon discovers, however, that he is caught between a number of shady factions all vying for control of the prophetic powers of the famed Oracle of Delphi.

Although MacGregor does a good job of capturing the beginning of Indy's transformation from bumbling but courageous youth to cynical adventurer, it should be highlighted that this is only the beginning of that journey.  The Indy featured here is not very worldly, is the student instead of the teacher and seems to be dragged around rather than taking charge of the situation himself.  This less confident Indiana Jones is occasionally hard to reconcile with the hero of the movies.  But as I said, this is a solid beginning.

To be honest, the two biggest downsides to this book are that the mystical Omphalos is a somewhat vague and confusing supernatural Macguffin and the fact that the plot never actually seems that perilous.

Followed by 'Indiana Jones and the Dance of the Giants'.

3 out of 5

 

Indiana Jones And The Seven Veils

The third book of the series, set in 1926.  Doctor Jones and his lover Deirdre Campbell are sent to South America by Marcus Brody to search for the missing explorer Colonel Fawcett.  Their journey leads them afoul of gangsters, a jealous rival Professor and cannibalistic natives until they finally discover a mysterious lost civilisation deep in the Amazon jungle.

The book starts really well, with Indy facing deadly booby traps among the ancient ruins of Tikal, Guatemala.  These early scenes do a really great job of capturing the feel of the beginning of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' and finally MacGregor gives us the Indiana Jones we know and love.

Unfortunately, it's all down hill from there.  Deirdre rapidly becomes tedious and one-dimensional and whilst the author has done a great job of plotting out the advanced civilsation of the city of Ceiba, it simply doesn't sit right in the Indiana Jones mythos, making the last half of the book jarring to read.  Then the death of an important character is handled badly and very briefly (if you've seen Cyclops' death in 'X-Men 3', you'll know what I mean) before Indy loses his memory of everything that's happened.  This ending cheats the character of any development gained through the course of the book and leaves you wondering why you bothered to read it at all.  It may as well have ended with '...he woke up and it was all a dream'.

Followed by 'Indiana Jones and the Genesis Deluge'.

2 out of 5

Read more...

Indiana Jones (here)