Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, starring Harrison Ford as Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr., was a blockbuster sensation when it hit theatres in 1981. It was followed in 1984 with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989. The end of the original film series prompted a television series that aired between 1992 and 1993 entitled The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (released on DVD as The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones). Simultaneously, adult novels based on the series were released, the first six of which were written by Last Crusade novelisation author Rob MacGregor.
MacGregor’s books follow the early career of Indiana Jones as he finishes his doctoral programme at London University and begins his adventures as an archaeologist. Although each book is largely independent, they do contribute to the next book in the series. All of the Indiana Jones books were released in chronological order with the first beginning in October 1922. Unfortunately, MacGregor’s stories were written before the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles aired and, therefore, contain a number of minor contradictions, especially relating to Indy’s experiences during World War One and his university years. However, this problem is not glaring and should not negatively impact your enjoyment of the books.
Warning: The following previews include minor spoilers for all six books!
The first novel in the series, both chronologically and in release order, is Indiana Jones and the Peril in Delphi. Indy is a doctoral student in Linguistics at the University of Paris when his archaeology professor invites him on a field trip to the Temple of Delphi in Greece to help with an excavation. But things are not as they seem and Indy finds himself desperately trying to escape, fighting both zealots and the government in the process. Filled with excitement, intrigue, and a bit of archaeology, Peril in Delphi sets the stage for the many adventures that will come.
Two years after Delphi, Indy finds himself in his first teaching position at London University in Indiana Jones and the Dance of the Giants. His star student, Deirdre Campbell, daughter of his department head, immediately becomes an intriguing romantic interest, but when they head off together for an archaeological dig to find evidence of Merlin in Scotland, nothing goes according to plan. Dance of the Giants will make you look at Merlin, Stonehenge, and Indiana Jones through a new and enlightening lens.
A year has passed and Deirdre and Indy are ready to take their relationship to the next level, but the disappearance of the famous explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett leads them on an unexpected journey into the heart of the Amazon rainforest in search of the lost city of Z. Indiana Jones and the Seven Veils follows their adventure, their discoveries, and the perils of seeking people who don’t want to be found.
Another two years have passed and Indiana Jones is ready to move out of Europe and back to the United States. He reunites with his university roommate, Jack Shannon, only to discover that Jack's family is involved with one of the many rackets controlling the liquor trade in Roaring Twenties Chicago. Only tragedy is able to bring them together and out of their dangerous predicament, but their journey to Turkey in search of Noah’s Ark proves to be just as dangerous a proposition in Indiana Jones and the Genesis Deluge. This book is undoubtedly the best of the six and adheres the closest to the style of the Indiana Jones films.
Indy reunites with an old flame, Mara Rogers, in the New Mexico desert in Indiana Jones and the Unicorn’s Legacy, which takes place a year after the previous book. Unicorns may have gone extinct in Noah's Great Flood, but evil people are nonetheless willing to kill to get their hands on a unicorn’s horn, rumoured to be imbued with god-like powers. Indiana Jones must do his utmost to keep it away from them, but first he needs to find the mythical relic. This novel is high-speed chase through the desert, with Native American culture and history providing a unique backdrop.
Indiana Jones and the Interior World, the final book written by MacGregor, continues the storyline of the previous book in that an enemy is trying to find the unicorn horn to help a young Adolf Hitler take over the world in the spring of 1929. Readers begin by finding Indy on an excavation on Easter Island, but he is quickly transported to Chile where he is forcibly dragged into the Interior World by the daughter of one of its quarrelsome kings. Things go from bad to worse and Indy is forced to fight enemies both above ground and below. Will he restore the balance between the worlds? Will he escape the Interior World?
MacGregor stopped writing Indiana Jones books after this, leaving the task for two other authors: Martin Caidin and Max McCoy. He was hired again in 2009 to write a novelisation of the video game Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings, but the completed book was never released. MacGregor has written dozens of books over the years including The Lost Tribe series, the Nicholas Pierce Mysteries, and a non-fiction series about synchronicity.