Indiana Jones and the Seven Veils
Today, as I continue to explore the “Indyverse,” I’ll take a closer look at the 3rd in the book series, Indiana Jones and the Seven Veils. This book was also written by Rob McGregor, and published in late 1991 — making that quite a busy year for both Indy and Rob McGregor!
As with all of McGregor’s Indy books, this one picks up shortly after the previous one left off, and continues to explore the early years of Indy’s career, with his first adventures.
This one involves a famous real-life personage, the explorer Percy Fawcett. His dogged search up the Amazon for the “Lost City of Z” has been the subject of numerous books, and was recently made into a movie. It also forms the basis for this Indiana Jones adventure.
The book starts in Tikal, Guatemala, where Indiana Jones is acting as the foreman of a dig run by Victor Bernard, a fellow archaeologist. With Indy is his girlfriend Deirdre Campbell, whom we met in the previous book, Indiana Jones and the Dance of the Giants. They are falling in love, and end up getting married later in the book. After a harrowing situation inside the ruins involving Prof. Bernard, Indy and Deirdre meet Marcus Brody in New York, where he is presenting some archeological findings at a museum. Brody tells them of the esteemed Percy Fawcett’s disappearance, saying he was convinced there was a lost city in the Amazon settled by Celtic people!
Indy and Deirdre head to Brazil, getting married on their ship during the voyage. There are several scenes involving spies that let Indy know someone is well aware of his quest, including one on a high peak overlooking Rio de Janeiro.
At last, he and Deirdre make it deep into the jungle and eventually learn more about the lost city, and the titular “seven veils.” I won’t give anything away, but they have to do with the mysterious mental abilities of the denizens of that lost city.
Of these early books, this one is probably my favorite. It had the most Indiana Jones-like action, from the trapped ruins in Tikal, to the fight on the ship, to the perilous scene involving the cable car, to a plane crash in the jungle. It does get a little weirder than I’d have liked, though. I don’t mind some supernatural in Indiana Jones — it’s been in there since the beginning, in Raiders of the Lost Ark, after all — but in these stories it works best when it is subtle, isolated, and minimalized.
Canon or Not?
One thing to consider is that these books came out before the Young Indiana Jones TV series, which offers a very different view of Indiana Jones’ late teenage years. In the TV show, Indiana Jones went off to fight in WWI at 17, and didn’t get to college until a little later. Here, Indy went directly to college (presumably) after high school, and no mention is made of his service in the Belgian Army, or really any mention of WWI at all.
There also isn’t any mention of Deirdre in any of the movies, or anywhere else, which does make it hard to consider it “canon,” because it seems that Indy being a widower would have come up somewhere. I’m not sure how I feel about her inclusion in the canon, but I like her character.
Anyway, I’ll count this as canon.
Read It or Skip It?
For its adventurous scenes and “Indyness,” I’d definitely recommend it to Indiana Jones fans. If the rest of the books had been like this one, I think I’d have appreciated the series a little more. I’d say read it.