Sunday, August 24, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Philosopher's Stone

Indiana Jones and the Philosopher's Stone
By Max McCoy (Author's Website)
Publisher: Bantam Dell (USA)
Published on May 1995/
Reissue May 2008
(Mass paperback edition)
ISBN-13: 978-0-553-56196-8
293 pages

BLOOD FROM A STONE. For centuries the lust for wealth and immortality has driven men mad. Now Indiana Jones is called to London to recover an ancient alchemist’s manuscript rumored to contain the formula both for turning lead into gold and granting its owner eternal life. Certain that a missing British alchemist and an insane Renaissance scholar are involved in the theft, Indy—along with the alchemist’s beautiful sister—travels to Rome, and straight into the hands of Mussolini’s fascists.

The mad scholar Sarducci has stolen the Voynich Manuscript, all right. But that’s only half the story. The manuscript is really a map, leading into the desert and the most ancient and magnificent crypt in the world, where Indiana Jones will either witness an astounding miracle of alchemy—or become the tomb’s next inhabitant. - Synopsis found in the back cover

Page 31: "There are so many hungry people in the world. I doubt the woman selling apples there cares in the least for what happened a thousand years ago, or even yesterday. Yesterday, at least, the sun was shining."

That was Indy contemplating and being philosophical about his profession as an archaelogist in his conversation with Marcus Brody, the director of special acquisitions for the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Brody is one of Indy's closest, long-time friends and also the one who funds most of his expeditions. "We each have our part to play" was Brody's response to Indy. I agree with the museum director. The reason I included that exchange is because Indy has been fired from his job as a professor in the Princeton University. That leads him to the latest (reluctant) adventure of finding the stolen Voynich Manuscript, an ancient alchemist's manuscript. Coincidentally, Alistair Dunstin, the world's leading authority on alchemy also disappeared at the same time the manuscript was stolen. In all of Indy's stories, there's sure to be a beautiful female character. In this case, it's the intriguing red-haired Alecia Dunstin, a shy librarian and "reluctant psychic". She is Alistair's twin. Together, they head off to Rome and straight into terrible danger (hot on their trail is the Mussolini's fascists) to find the manuscript and Alistair. Indy pulls off lots of stunts in this instalment leaving me near breathless and wondering what he'll do next.

Once again, Max McCoy did a wonderful job. I mixed up the reading sequence because I read The Dinosaur Eggs before The Philosopher's Stone. As always, Indy's sense of humour is getting better and better under the good hands of McCoy.

Other Indy titles I've read: