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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr


Indiana Jones: The Feathered Serpent Indiana Jones
The Feathered Serpent
Written by Wolfgang Hohlbein
Cover by Berni

(Page numbers come from the mass market German paperback edition of Indiana Jones und die Gefiederte Schlange, 7th printing, 1990)

Indy has an adventure against the fanatical followers of the Mesoamerican god, Quetzalcoatl.


Notes from the Indiana Jones chronology


This novel takes place in 1932.


Didja Know?


This is a study of the German novel Indiana Jones und die Gefiederte Schlange (Indiana Jones and the Feathered Serpent). It has never been published in English. This study omits the first chapter of the book (the chapters are not actually numbered), as that chapter, set in 1929, has been covered in the study titled "Indy vs. the Volcano".


The "Berni" referred to as the cover artist is Italian artist Oliviero Berni. 


The description of the novel on the back of the book is not very accurate of the story therein. See the English translation of the description at the Indiana Jones Wiki.


Notes from The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones


The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones is a 2008 publication that purports to be Indy's journal as seen throughout The Young Indiana Chronicles TV series and the big screen Indiana Jones movies. The publication is also annotated with notes from a functionary of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation, the successor agency of the Soviet Union's KGB security agency. The KGB relieved Indy of his journal in 1957 during the events of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The notations imply the journal was released to other governments by the FSB in the early 21st Century. However, some bookend segments of The Young Indiana Chronicles depict Old Indy still in possession of the journal in 1992. The discrepancy has never been resolved. 


The journal as published skips over this adventure, going from a reference to 1926 events in The Seven Veils to 1933 and the repercussions of events in The Philosopher's Stone. Quite a large gap and a number of un-journaled adventures.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this story


Palladium owner (mentioned only)

Indiana Jones

Jose Perez

poker players

Greg Swanson (mentioned only, deceased)

Joana Swanson




cab drivers

Anita Perez

hotel clerk

shadowed figure

blonde girl

Mary (lawyer's receptionist)

Dr. Marten

Henry Jones, Sr. (mentioned only)

Indiana (dog, mentioned only, deceased)

New Orleans police

old couple

hotel clients

three porters

harbor masters

Cessna pilot

Professor Norten (dies in this novel)



USS Saratoga crewmen

U.S. Navy lieutenant

Commander Bentley Norten (dies in this novel)

U.S. Navy guard


Mayan warriors



Didja Notice?


The story opens in New Orleans at the Palladium, a kaschemme. "Kaschemme" is a German term for run-down pub. Palladium appears to be a fictitious pub for the city.


On page 25, schadenfreude is a German term, now used in English as well, for the experience of pleasure or joy at the misfortune of others.


In a poker game at the Palladium, Indy loses the gold Mayan amulet given to him by Greg Swanson in 1929 in "Indy vs. the Volcano". After losing it, Indy reflects that he's been looking for Swanson's missing daughter ever since, as per his promise to the dying man.


Page 33 reveals that Indy is on semester break from his teaching position (which school is not indicated; at this point he is likely at either Barnett College or Princeton University, as he seems to bounce around between schools, as discussed in the study of "The Curse of the Invincible Ruby"). Mostly likely this is the spring semester break, around end of March and beginning of April, 1932.


On page 34, Indy has a Bank of America letter of credit.


On page 44, Dr. Marten pulls out a Dekla watch and looks at it.


The story of Indy's expedition with Greg Swanson on pages 49-50 was told/intimated in "Indy vs. the Volcano".


On page 54, Indy, regaining his senses after taking a beating from the large Indian, feels as if Attila's Hun riders had galloped over him. Attila the Hun was a notorious 5th Century warlord.


On page 56, Indy and Joana realize that she had had a pendant of Quetzalcoatl exactly like the one her father had given to him to give to her before he died. Quetzalcoatl is an Aztec god whose name means "feathered serpent". He was the god of life and wisdom, and lord of the day and the winds.


On page 61, Indy gets the idea to use a trick he learned from a Sherlock Holmes story by Conan Doyle. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was creator of the legendary fictional detective Sherlock Holmes and wrote 56 short stories and 4 novels about him. Indy met Doyle as a youth in The Titanic Adventure.


On page 65, Indy doubts that the porters at the nicer hotel across from Jose's hotel would give him any information about the possible shooter who shot into his room either willingly or for baksheesh. Baksheesh is a Persian term for a "charitable gift" or, in slang terms, a bribe.


On page 75, Indy is said to swing like Tarzan on his liana on the steel cable in the elevator shaft. Tarzan, of course, is the world-renowned character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1912, a British boy who was lost in the African jungle and raised by apes.


On page 81, the taxi is a Ford of unstated model.


On page 86, Indy sees that Guzman and the captive Joana are headed in a boat towards a Cessna seaplane on the bay. However, Cessna's first seaplane, the C-37, was not introduced until 1937.


On page 94, Indy realizes, from Joana's retelling of what her father had told her about him, that her father had made Indy sound like some kind of Superman. Superman, of course, is a flying, super-strength superhero character appearing in titles published by DC Comics. Thing is, the character did not make his first appearance until 1938, in Action Comics #1!


Page 99 claims that Indy's current teaching position is in Cincinnati! This is the first and only time it is said he has a position there.


On page 103, the smitten, teenaged Joana sourly asks Indy how old a woman has to be before the famous Indiana Jones gets involved with her and he responds, "At least of legal age." It's not quite clear in general what age of a woman Indy considers appropriate for a romance. Different Indiana Jones published sources have stated that his former flame Marion Ravenwood was either 25 or 27 at the time of Raiders of the Lost Ark, which would have made Marion 15 or 17 years old when she and Indy had their previous liaison 10 years earlier. "Legal age" or "age of consent" for sexual activities vary widely between countries and even between the states of the U.S.


Indy and Joana take their stolen seaplane to Havana, Cuba.


Page 110 mentions Mexico City.


Inside Professor Norten's museum in Havana, Joana is almost bitten by a snake Indy identifies as a green mamba. He wonders what it is doing in Havana considering it is native to Central Africa. He also muses that if it had bitten Joana, she would have been dead in two or three seconds. Green mamba species inhabit Central as well as Southern, Eastern, and Western Africa. The speed of its venom is greatly exaggerated here, but it has been rumored to kill in as little as 30 minutes.


On page 116, Consuela catches Indy and Joana in an innocent-but-compromising position and begins to scold them in Spanish. Indy does not understand what she says and must rely on Joana to translate. But, when he was stationed as a spy in Barcelona in "Espionage Escapades", he already knew how to speak Spanish.


On page 117, Indy, needing to bandage Joana's injured arm, says to the suspicious Consuela, "Bandage, capito?" Capito is Italian for "understand".


On page 118, Consuela brings a Red Cross box to tend to Joana's wound.


On page 119, Indy tries to convince Consuela he is from New York University, though it's untrue.


On page 121, Joana tells Indy that Professor Norten's hacienda is directly on a river, so they can take the seaplane and land there. Indy is encouraged that they should do so before Consuela "comes up with the idea of calling the Inquisition and having me burned." This refers to the Spanish Inquisition, a Catholic inquisition allegedly meant to identify heretics within Catholicism that lasted from 1478-1834. It has come to be widely considered as corrupt and prejudicial against converts from other religions, Jews, women, non-Europeans, homosexuals, freemasons, critics of the king or church, et al.


Norten's ranch is called Hacienda de la Torro. This essentially means "Bull Ranch" in Spanish. We later learn that Norten keeps several thousand head of cattle on the ranch's acres.


On page 127, Professor Norten wears a Panama hat. A Panama hat is a brimmed straw hat that became popular in the 20th Century when immigrant California gold miners picked them up while passing through the Panama Canal to the U.S., though the style actually originated in Ecuador.


On page 130, Professor Norten carries two long-barreled Colt pistols (probably referring to the Colt Single Action Army service revolver).


On page 180, Professor Norten has guided the seaplane to a U.S. Navy warship, the USS Saratoga. This was an actual aircraft carrier of the time (although the fact that it was an aircraft carrier goes unmentioned in the novel; Indy thinks it's a cruiser or a battleship and even the commander calls it a battlecruiser later in the novel).


Commander Norten tells Indy that Jose was born and raised in Piedras Negras, Yucatan. This is a fictitious town that appeared in "Indy vs. the Volcano".


Encountering a gigantic rattlesnake on page 202, Indy reflects fearfully that it was not much less toxic than the green mamba he'd faced at the museum. However, rattlesnake venom, while nothing to sneeze at, is significantly less  toxic than that of a green mamba.


On page 212, Indy discovers a Mayan coat of feathers hidden in a tarpaulin under Jose's bed on the navy ship. Within the coat is a bundle of threads with knots tied into them at various lengths. Indy interprets these as the knots used by the Aztec, the descendants of the Maya, as ways of keeping records. But, it is normally believed by scholars that these types of knotted threads were used by the much older Inca culture rather than Aztec.


On page 213, seeing Indy's discovery of the feather coat, headdress, and knots under Jose's bed, Norten tells Indy that Jose must believe he is the reincarnation of Mossadera, the most famous high priest of Quetzalcoatl in Aztec history. As far as I can find, Mossadera is a fictitious personage.


    On page 234, Indy is shocked to learn that the commander has taken the Saratoga to Mexico without the knowledge of Washington. This refers to Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States and seat of its government.

    Norten reassures Indy that they don't intend to enter the three-mile zone if that was what he was afraid of. From the 18th Century to around the mid-20th, many nations of the world considered three miles from their shores to be territorial ocean waters, into which another country's ships could not enter without permission (since then, territorial waters are generally considered to begin 12 miles from shore).


On page 252, Anita essentially uses the Jedi mind trick on the man looking for Indy! Call it a Mayan mind trick, I guess.

"You don't need to search this room," she said.
"We don't need to search this room," he said.
"Dr. Jones is not here," said Anita.
"Dr. Jones is not here," the man repeated.


On page 254, Indy compares in his mind the winding alleys and gaps of the small of the white houses of Piedras Negras with the Minoan labyrinth. In Greek mythology, a complex labyrinth is said to exist beneath the Minoan city of Knossos to hold a minotaur there.


On page 258, the old Indian who confronts Indy is the same one Indy recalls from three years ago. This was in "Indy vs. the Volcano".


Inside the mammoth volcanic cave, Indy discovers a Mayan pyramid and he reflects on page 274 that it is not made of red sandstone, but of black lava rock. Actual Mesoamerican pyramids are generally built of limestone, not sandstone as implied by Indy here.


On page 281, Indy sees that Jose, in his garb of a Mayan priest, stands in the middle of a living carpet of crawling snakes, and he thinks, Why did it have to be snakes? This is likely an intentional callback by the author to Indy's line in Raiders of the Lost Ark, when he sees the carpet of snakes in the Well of the Souls.


On the last page of the novel, Mossadera reveals that Anita is his daughter.


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