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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr


Indiana Jones: Secret of the Sphinx Indiana Jones
Secret of the Sphinx
Written by Max McCoy
Cover by Drew Struzan

(Page numbers come from the mass market paperback edition, 8th printing, April 2008)

Indy helps a mother and daughter magician act in a global quest to find their husband/father who went missing while in search of the Omega Book, said to contain the records of every person on Earth from the beginning to the end of humanity.


Read the "Spring 1934" and "Summer 1934" entries of the It’s Not the Years, It’s the Mileage Indiana Jones chronology for a summary of this novel


Notes from the Indiana Jones chronology


This novel takes place in Summer 1934.


Didja Know?


In this novel Indy has a position at Princeton University


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 does not mention the events of this novel, containing some notes from May 1933 relating to the Crystal Skull of Cozán from The Philosopher's Stone, followed by the edges of four pages torn from the journal, with the next existing entries being from 1935 and Indy's adventures as depicted in The Temple of Doom.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this novel



Indiana Jones

Tzen Khan (mentioned only)

Japanese soldiers

Japanese squad leader

Japanese guards

Second Lieutenant Musashi (dies in this novel)

Warrant Officer Miyamoto (dies in this novel)

Master Mishima Sokai (dies in this novel)

prison guards

Chinese refugees

motorcycle soldier

Faye Maskelyne

Mystery "Mysti" Maskelyne

Chinese translator

Kasper Maskelyne (mentioned only, deceased)

Japanese sergeant

Captain Snark

Dr. Montgomery Bryce (dies in this novel)

2nd Japanese sergeant

Si Huang (mentioned only, deceased)

Marcus Brody

Divine Wind first mate

Divine Wind engineer

junk captain

Clement Wragge (mentioned only)



leper colonists

Alecia Dunstin (mentioned only, deceased)

Pan Am crew

Ed Musick

Japanese embassy guards

Atlas Hotel desk clerk

Jadoo (dies in this novel)


Mr. Hyde

PT6 pilot

Sheikh Ali Azhad

Sheikh Adda (mentioned only)

Sallah's children

Sallah El-Kahir


Jasmin El-Kahir

Moshti El-Kahir

Sallah's father (mentioned only, deceased)

trench digger


snake charmer


Francois Malevil (mentioned only, deceased)

Roman soldier (mentioned only, deceased)


herpetologist (mentioned only)

Cozán natives

Cozán queen

Cozán high priest 

Albert Einstein


Didja Notice?


The book opens with a quote from the Bible's Book of Exodus about Aaron's rod and the magicians of Egypt. This is an actual passage from Exodus.


Chapter 1: The Tomb of Terror


The story opens at Mount Hua in Shaanxi Province, China. This is an actual mountain in China, one of the Five Great Mountains of the country, considered sacred for having a long history of the religion of Taoism.


Page 2 states that Indy met Lo when he first arrived in the village of Lintong three days previous. As far as I can find, Lintong is a district in the city of Xi'an. Possibly, it was considered a separate village at one time before being absorbed by the larger city.


Lo has told Indy he knows of all the important tombs of the Wei Bei plain. The Wei Bei plain appears to be fictitious.


Indy is out of breath after the climb up the mountain and wonders why Lo is not. Lo tells him Americans breathe too shallow and one must breathe all the way to the stomach to feed chi, the life force. In East Asian culture and religion, chi is believed to be a vital force of life that exists in all living things.


The information about the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and the city of Xi'an presented on page 4 is essentially accurate.


Page 5 explains that Indy is in China trying to locate the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, which is said to be Mount Hua in the inscription of an ancient heirloom given to Indy by a descendant of Genghis Khan during an expedition across the Gobi (though, in the real world, the tomb is located at Mount Li, Xi'an). This trasnfer occurred in The Dinosaur Eggs. Qin Shi Huang (259–210 BC) was the first emperor of China. "Genghis Khan" (Great Emperor) was the title given to Temujin, the son of a 12th Century leader of the Mongols, who went on to found the Mongol Empire by uniting many of the nomadic tribes of the region and building a powerful army from them. The Gobi Desert is a large, cold desert region of northern China and southern Mongolia.


On page 7, Indy remarks that he got some information about the tomb from a book he found in Cairo.


Busting into the tomb, Indy appears to have found the Terracotta Army. The Terracotta Army is a huge real world collection of statues found guarding the tomb of Qin Shi Huang that were discovered by farmers digging wells in 1974. Each soldier's face is different from the next, just as Indy notices here. Terracotta is an earthenware, clay-based ceramic most commonly used worldwide for making pottery and bricks.


On page 16, inside the tomb, Indy sees miniature representations of the Great Wall, the Yangtze River, and Peking (Beijing). He half imagines that he is asleep in his bed at home in Princeton. He is said to step Gulliver-like into the miniature scene. "Gulliver" is a reference to the classic 1726 novel Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, in which Gulliver, the survivor of a shipwreck, finds himself on the shore of the land of Lilliput, where the denizens are less than six inches tall.


On page 19, Indy recognizes symbols in the tomb that are from the I Ching, the Book of Changes. The I Ching is a classic Chinese book of divination, cosmology, and philosophy. The words "I Ching" translate to "Book of Changes".


On page 20, Indy is faced with choosing one out of five levers in the tomb that may open a way out. The others will probably open a deadly trap. He figures lever 3 or 5 would the best choice, as they were probably considered divine by Qin and the builders of the tomb. Frankly, all the numbers 1-10 have unique divinations associated with them in eastern (and other) religions, so I'm not sure why Indy would settle on 3 or 5 as the most likely choices here.


Escaping the tomb, Indy falls into the hands of Japanese soldiers. He tells them, "Ohio gozaimash'ta." This is Japanese for "Good morning."


When the Japanese squad leader asks him his name, Indy responds, "Babe Ruth." George Herman "Babe" Ruth Jr. (1895–1948) was an American Major League baseball player, playing for the Boston Red Sox from 1914–1919.


Once again, Indy carries his Webley revolver into his expedition.


The Japanese squad leader chides Indy for having strayed in Manchukuo. Manchukuo was a territory seized by Japan during the invasion of Manchuria. Japan set up the territory of Manchukuo in eastern China as a puppet state and it existed from 1932-1945.


Chapter 2: Master Sokai


On page 27, Master Sokai smokes a cigarette "with such practiced nonchalance" that Indy is reminded of a Hollywood leading man in a film. Hollywood is a neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA, famed for its production of film and television.


On page 28, Master Sokai pulls out a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes. Lucky Strike is an American cigarette brand founded in 1871.


Sokai tells Indy he works for the foreign office in Tokyo, is Nippon's top spymaster, a fighter pilot, and a chutai leader with the Sentai of the Imperial Army Air Force. "Nippon" is the actual name of Japan in their own language. Chutai is Japanese for "squadron". Sentai is the Japanese term for multiple squadrons.


The Ki-10 Type 95 biplane fighters mentioned by Sokai on page 30 were actual Japanese fighter planes designed and manufactured by Kawasaki, but they were not flown until 1935. The stats Sokai gives for the plane are roughly accurate.


Sokai tells Indy his father was a gaijin and his mother a geisha and that he he himself was born in 1904 on the day his father was executed as a spy during the Russo-Japanese War. Gaijin is Japanese for "foreigner" and geisha is a Japanese female performing artist and entertainer of traditional dance, music, and singing (and sometimes sexual pleasures).


On page 31, Bushido, meaning "way of the warrior", is a moral code adhered to by the Japanese samurai of the Edo period.


On page 36, hai is Japanese for "yes" and sensei is an Asian term for "master".


Second Lieutenant Musashi is armed with a 1914 Mauser pistol. Mauser was a German firearms manufacturer founded in 1811 as Königlich Württembergische Gewehrfabrik that went defunct in 2004, spinning off into the two new firearms manufacturers, Mauser Jagdwaffen GmbH for civilian weapons and Rheinmetall Waffen Munition GmbH for military.


Chapter 3: The Rope Trick


   Faye Maskelyne tells the assembled crowd in the public square that she and her daughter are renowned for their magic act in London. The mother-daughter duo appear to be fictitious magicians.

    Faye and her daughter, Mystery, are performing their act while searching for clues to the location of the missing Kasper Maskelyne, Faye's husband and Mystery's father. The novel's author likely based Kasper's name on the real world magician, Jasper Maskelyne (1902-1973), a British magician in the 1930s and '40s best known for his tales where he alleges to have developed illusions and tricks to aid the British military against the Nazis during WWII.


Faye tells the crowd that her husband disappeared while searching for a fabled book told of by the ancient Arab scholar Ibn Battuta, the Omega Book, which records the lives of every living soul who will ever live on Earth. Ibn Battuta (1304-1369) was an Arab explorer and scholar. The Omega Book appears to be fictitious as far as any connection with Battuta, but is similar to the Akashic records, said in the religion of theosophy to be a compendium of everything that has ever happened, is happening, or will happen, to everything in the universe, living or dead.


Faye goes on to say that the Omega Book can only be found with the aid of the Staff of Aaron. The Staff of Aaron (also called Aaron's rod) was the walking stick used by Aaron, brother of Moses, in the Torah. The Bible says that Aaron's staff was endowed with healing power.


The story Faye tells of Moses turning the staff into a snake, etc. on page 48 is accurate to the Bible depictions.


As stated by Faye on page 49, Ibn Battuta reported on a rope trick similar to the one she performs for the crowd, during his China travels in 1346.


Faye tells Indy he is in Luchow. This is a Chinese city (now mostly spelled Luzhou) in Sichuan Province, and is a port at the confluence of the Tuo and Yangtze rivers.


Captain Snark's ship is the Divine Wind. In Japanese, this is Kamikaze Maru, kamikaze for "divine wind", and maru for "circle", a convention in Japanese ship names.


Captain Snark allows Indy to come aboard the ship with Faye and Mystery, under the cover story that he is a crewmember named Smith who got in a fight at the Orchid. The Orchid appears to be a fictitious bar in Luzhou for the time.


Dr. Bryce, the New Zealander doctor on the ship, carries a bottle of Gordon's gin in his pocket.


Taking care of Indy's gunshot wound and seeing the scars of all his past injuries, the doctor remarks that Indy has "more holes in him than a screen door," and Indy responds sarcastically, "Thank you, Albert Schweitzer." Dr. Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) was a world-renowned French physician, musician, philosopher, theologian, and humanitarian. Indy met Dr. Schweitzer in "Oganga, The Giver and Taker of Life".


On the ship, Faye and Mystery dress up in male outfits and Indy asks if they're dressed for a Halloween party. They respond it's to avoid being associated with the sex worker cargo often carried aboard to be sold around Asia as slaves. Halloween is a holiday observed on October 31 in a number of (mostly western) countries, spun off from the Christian tradition of All Hallows' Eve, a time of feasting in celebration of saints and the faithful departed. In modern culture, Halloween is often associated with the supernatural, the macabre, and with celebrants dressing up in costume as well-known figures or characters. Presumably, Indy was joking about "Halloween party" as it is the spring months in the novel.


Page 62 indicates that Indy does not know much of the Japanese language.


On page 64, Snark says domo arrigato to the sergeant when the man agrees to leave Faye on board as a future prostitute. Domo arigato is Japanese for "Thank you very much."


On pages 64-65, Dr. Bryce mentions the International Hotel in Tokyo, along with the castle of the emperor Hirohito across the street. As far as I can tell, the International Hotel mentioned here is fictitious. The emperor's castle is the Imperial Palace. The doctor remarks here that he thinks Emperor Hirohito would rather be a gardener. Hirohito was a dedicated botanist (and marine biologist).


Bryce remarks on his own cyanotic skin. This refers to a blue pallor to the skin, due to a heart condition allowing some unoxygenated blood to circulate with the oxygenated blood through the body.


Dr. Bryce tells Indy he got his degree at Oxford.


On page 69, Captain Snark tells Faye the Divine Wind does not have radio and, shocked, she begins, "I thought that after 1912--" but Snark interrupts her with the statement that that is in her (western) world, and that the Titanic did not make a great deal of difference in his world. They are referring to the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912, which soon resulted in most western nations requiring wireless radio communications on most ships leaving their ports. Indy was aboard the Titanic, escaping with his tutor Miss Seymour and a few others just before it went down in The Titanic Adventure.


The ship's first mate grabs up a Browning Automatic Rifle when the Japanese biplanes begin torpedo runs on the ship.


On page 73, Captain Snark reveals his home is in Nagasaki.


Chapter 4: Ty Fung


The chapter's title, "Ty Fung", is an Asian term for "typhoon".


The junk that picks up Indy, Faye, Mystery, Bryce, and Musashi is headed for the port of Shanghai.


The narrative on pages 84-85 states: Driven by the wind and attended only by the sound of the water and the sails, the junk made for a timeless scene that could have taken place during any of a thousand previous Septembers. Yet, this novel supposedly opens in spring, not in September.


On page 86, Bryce mentions that typhoons are called hurricanes in the Atlantic, willie-willies in Australia, and el baguio in the Philippines. This is true.


Bryce wonders what his friend, Aussie weatherman Clement Wragge, will name the typhoon that is now building in the East China Sea, commenting that he has taken to naming storms after women he admires or politicians he dislikes. Wragge (1852-1922) was a British-born Australian meteorologist. He named storms for various personages, including gods and politicians. I've been unable to confirm whether he necessarily named them for politicians he disliked or women he admired. Since Wragge died in 1922, Bryce should not be speaking of him in the present tense since it's supposed to be 1934!


On page 88, Sokai sits in sezen form. Sezen, usual spelled "seiza", is the traditional Japanese sitting form, kneeling on the floor with legs folded underneath the thighs, and resting the buttocks on the heels.


The damage caused to Sokai's face by the nutcracker torture device are said to have changed his matinee idol good looks into "something more Karloffian." "Karloffian" refers to English actor Boris Karloff (1887-1969), best known for playing monsters in film, such as the Frankenstein monster, the Mummy, and various malignant-looking characters.


I have been unable to confirm the meaning of boon ki as "the reason, the essence, the true meaning" as stated on page 88.


Sokai's master was Okinawan. Okinawa is prefecture in Japan.


On page 88, Dharuma is the Japanese name for Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism in the 5th or 6th century CE. The mythology of Dharuma described on page 89 is accurate to the mythology surrounding him.


The Songshan Shaolin Temple is an actual temple in Henan Province, China.


Chapter 5: Lazurus Island


On page 96 Henri tells Indy and his group, "No entrez," as they seek shelter in the monastery on the island. This is French for "Do not enter."


Pascal explains that the island is Lazarus Island, a leper colony. This is an actual island of Singapore that served as a leper colony at the time. It is now uninhabited.


Pascal tells the group that he will try to radio the USS Augusta to see if it can pick up the castaways, explaining that it is a ship of the American Atlantic fleet which has been showing the flag in the region for weeks. This was an actual American naval cruiser of the time that was actually patrolling those waters from June-September 1934.


On page 103, Indy finds that only two English books are located on the shelves in his room at the monastery, the Bible and the memoirs of U.S. Grant. Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) was the victorious Union general in the United States Civil War and, subsequently, the 18th president of the United States. He wrote a two-volume memoir that was published posthumously to great success.


Indy has dreams that night of searching for Alecia. Alecia Dunstin was a woman he'd met and fallen in love with in The Philosopher's Stone, but their relationship was complicated at best and she was killed by a Nazi gunshot in The Hollow Earth.


On page 104, Indy tells Faye he's never been married. Uh, he forgot about Deirdre Campbell already? He married her in 1926 in The Seven Veils, but she was killed a few weeks later.


Faye's description of the powers said to have been exhibited by the Staff of Aaron on page 108 are accurate to what is said in the Bible


A Pan American Sikorsky S-42 flying boat lands in the sea and comes into the lagoon of the island in response to the call for help. Pan American Airways was an American airline from 1927-1991. The pilot of the plane is Ed Musick (1894-1938), an actual Pan Am pilot who was the first to survey many of the routes Pan Am would eventually use to fly across the Pacific to the Philippines and to Australia and New Zealand.


Musick tells Indy's group that he'll drop them off in Calcutta, where they should be able to get passage back home.


Chapter 6: Jadoo


The title of this chapter, "Jadoo", is the Hindi word for "magic".


On page 113, bustees is Hindi for "colonies".


On page 114, Faye remarks on the poor state of Calcutta and comments she had thought Oklahoma was rough after the Depression hit. She is referring to what has since become known as the Great Depression, a worldwide economic downturn starting in 1929 and running through much of the 1930s that resulted in high unemployment and poverty rates.


Indy says, "Sayonara," to Musashi at the gates of the Japanese embassy in Calcutta on page 114. Sayonara is Japanese for "goodbye".


Indy telegrams a message to Marcus at the American Museum of Natural History for money from a Western Union office in Calcutta.


Indy asks at Travelers Aid about a safe place to stay the night and is directed to a run-down but respectable hotel called Atlas House. Travelers Aid is an international organization dedicated to helping stranded travelers; many airports have Travelers Aid desks manned by volunteers. Atlas House appears to be fictitious.


The desk clerk at the Atlas House tells Faye that her husband stayed there a few years previous, checking in on Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day, named for the Christian Saint Valentine, is a celebration held yearly on February 14. Originally a Christian feast day, it has, in modern times, become a commercialized day of love and romance around the world.


On page 117, "Bengali" seems to be the name of a street in Calcutta, but I can find no evidence of such an avenue. The city of Calcutta does exist in the Indian state of West Bengal.


The office of the man called Jadoo is located at the address 707. Spiritually, 707 is said to be a number that aligns with one's true purpose, similar to boon ki above.


Jadoo tells Indy's group that when Kaspar had visited him in 1930, he had been searching for ancient texts, including the Omega Book, and Jadoo had been able to tell him a little about Sanskrit. Sanskrit is an Indian language at least as old as the second millennium BC.


The historical and mythological information delivered on pages 126-129 by Jadoo and Indy is more-or-less accurate, though some of it is derived from controversial pseudo-historical sources. I cannot find a citation that Plato visited the temple of Neith, but he does say that his ancestor Solon did. And I can also not find any reference to the Yezidis having a particularl connection to the Staff of Aaron.


    On page 127, Jadoo remarks, speaking of great archaeological finds, "It is amazing, isn't it, how many discoveries involve three persons--a rogue archeologist, his sponsor, and a teenaged daughter of one of the principals?" and Indy responds with the examples, "The tomb of Tutankhamen or the Crystal Skull of Lubantuun." The tomb of Tutankhamen was discovered by British archeologist Howard Carter, accompanied by his sponsor Lord Carnarvon and Carnarvon's daughter (though she was not a teenager anymore, being 21 at the time). In "My First Adventure", Indy met Howard Carter; and in Tomb of Terror, Indy was in the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1913, years before its official discovery by Carter in 1922. The Crystal Skull of Lubantuun was allegedly discovered by Anna Mitchell-Hedges, the teenage adopted daughter of British adventurer, F. A. Mitchell-Hedges, in 1924, though I'm not aware of a sponsor present.

    Of course, Indy's current party is made up of himself (a rogue archeologist), Faye Maskelyne (Indy's sponsor here, of a sort), and Faye's teenage daughter, Mystery.


Marcus transfers some funds for Indy to the British Mercantile Bank. This was an actual bank chain at the time. 


On page 133, the phrase "Every Good Boy Does Fine" is a mnemonic used by many music students to remember the notes on the lines of the treble clef.


On page 136, Mystery objects to Indy being taken to the local Calcutta jail, saying, "You know what they call the jail here? The black hole. People go in and never come out." The Black Hole of Calcutta was a small dungeon (14' x 18') at Fort William in Calcutta, India in which a large number of British prisoners were held during a skirmish with Indian forces in 1756. Although standard jails/prisons in India are not so bad as the "black hole", they are known for overcrowding, poor health care, undernutrition, and generally not up to international standards.


On page 138, Jadoo tells Sokai and Musashi that Indy and his companions are on their way to Baghdad after receiving money from New York.


Indy tells the Maskelyne girls that Pakistan and Iran belong more to the Middle Ages than the Twentieth Century. The Middle Ages traditionally refers to the European Middle Ages, about 500-1500 AD, a period of relatively high superstition, low technology and lack of cultural output.


Indy tells Faye that when people cross the desert through Pakistan and Iran, they still go in caravans just like they did a thousand years ago on the old Silk Road. The Silk Road was a system of ancient trade routes linking Asia to Europe and nations in between, named for the lucrative trade in silk from China.


Chapter 7: Children of the Devil


As the chapter opens, Indy's group lands in the Upper Plains of Iraq in a PT6 transport plane from Standard Oil (now Chevron) powered by a 360 horsepower Wright radial engine. Presumably, the plane is a Cunningham-Hall PT-6 with the passenger cabin modified as a cargo compartment, though the modified version did not appear until 1938. Wright Aeronautical was an American aircraft and aircraft engine manufacturer from 1919-1929 (now Curtiss-Wright).


The Indus River mentioned on page 146 is the river that now forms the border between Pakistan and India.


Indy has two Indian motorcycles (one with a sidecar) packed in the plane's cargo hold for he and the Maskelynes to continue their journey to the Yezidi territory. The sidecar has "Property of British Geologic Survey" painted on the side.


The PT6 pilot points the way to Lalesh, saying it's about 100 miles north. Lalesh is a mountain valley and home of the holiest temple of the Yezidis.


The Tigris River mentioned on page 147 flows through Turkey, Iraq, and Syria.


On page 150, Indy's group pulls into the excavation site of Nineveh on the motorcycles. Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city at the site of the modern day city of Mosul, Iraq. The information Indy relates about it to Faye and Mystery is accurate.


On page 151, Indy tells Sheikh Ali Azhad he speaks a little Arabic.


The Yezidi village of Sheikh Adda appears to be fictitious.


As pointed out on page 153, "Shaitan" is, essentially, the Arabic word for "Satan".


"Allah" is the Arabic word for "God".


On page 154, Indy remarks that some have claimed the Yezidis have a direct link to the religion of the Sumerians and that, while that has not been proven, they can be traced as far back as the mystery religions. The Sumerian civilization is the earliest known one, dating to the sixth and fifth millenniums B.C. in the historical Mesopotamia (Iraq). The "mystery religions" are those of the Greco-Roman era, in which initiates were subject to ritual and practices that were not to be revealed to outsiders.


Ali tells Indy that it is unknown how and when the Staff of Aaron came into the possession of the Yezidis, but there is a story of the staff and the Ark of the Covenant being stolen from Solomon's Temple. The Ark of the Covenant is a wooden, gold-covered chest that carries the Ten Commandants, as stated in the Bible. Of course, Indy will chase after the ark a couple years later in Raiders of the Lost Ark.


After the staff is stolen by Mystery, Ali tells Indy he doesn't want to have to torture him for its whereabouts, that his people are peaceful, and Indy retorts that Hitler says the same thing. Adolf Hitler, of course, was the evil Chancellor of Germany 1934-1945, during WWII.


On page 167, Indy's foot is seemingly healed by the staff after Ali had begun to flay the flesh from it "like it was a Thanksgiving turkey." Thanksgiving is a holiday for giving thanks for one's blessings in various countries. In the U.S., the holiday is often associated with a feast headlined with a freshly cooked turkey.


At the end of the chapter, Ali remarks, "...our lives are but dreams while Allah sleeps and Shaitan plays. Our prayers are merely supplications to Allah to continue sleeping, for when he awakes--the world vanishes." As far as I can find, this is not a belief of the Yezidis.


Chapter 8: Snake Charmers


As the chapter opens, Indy and the girls pull into the Muski, the ancient section of Cairo. The Muski is a market street and one of the older sections of modern Cairo. Sallah and his family are revealed here to live in the Muski.


On page 173, Sallah remarks that Indy looks like a ghost of himself, as if Indy's ka has come to visit on its way to the underworld. The ka is the vital essence or life force of a person in Egyptian mythology.


Sallah tells Indy that the Service des Antiquités has been making it difficult to obtain permits for excavations at the more famous monuments. The Service des Antiquités (French for "Antiquities Service") was the antiquities department of the Egyptian government at the time.


Sallah remarks that his people call the Sphinx the "Father of Terror". This is true.


On page 175, ostraca is a Greek word for shards of pottery or stone with writing or symbols on them.


On page 177, a piastre is a generic term for a unit of currency. In the Middle East of this time, piastre became a term for currency of debased value.


Two of Sallah's nine children, 10-year old Moshti and 4-year old Jasmine, are first introduced (chronologically) in this novel. They appear again in Raiders of the Lost Ark.


On page 182, Sallah comments on thinking the world would come to an end when he lost his father. According to Tomb of Terror, Sallah's father died in 1912.


Chapter 9: Jackals


As the chapter opens, Indy's group drives to the Giza plateau in an old Ford owned by Sallah's brother-in-law and park near the Nile. The Giza Plateau is the site of the Great Pyramids and the Great Sphinx. The Nile River runs alongside it. Tomb of Terror established that Sallah has a number of extended family members who do him favors.


On page 196, Indy remarks on first seeing the Sphinx when he was a boy. This occurred in "My First Adventure".


On page 197, Indy explains that Thutmose IV cleared the accumulated sand away from the Sphinx about 25 centuries ago and repaired it and placed the stele in front of it (the Dream Stele), seemingly attributing the Sphinx to the pharaoh Khafre. This is all accurate.


Mystery remarks that she heard that Napoleon shot off the Sphinx's nose for target practice and Indy corrects her, saying it was disfigured by an Islamic zealot in the 14th Century. The Napoleon explanation is a popular tale that is demonstrably untrue since there are paintings and writings from well before his time that depict the nose already missing. Indy's explanation is one of the theories, but there is no proof of exactly what happened and who might be at fault. Napoleon, of course, was the high general, First Consul, and Emperor of France from 1799-1814.


The three pyramids named on the Giza plateau on page 200, Khufu, Khafre, and Menkure are the names of the pharaohs for whom most Egyptologists believe the three Great Pyramids were built.


As they pry open a tomb buried near the Sphinx, Mystery remarks she feels like one of the jackals out in the desert and Sallah confirms, "We are jackals. It is not a bad thing, it is the order of nature. My family has been scavenging these tombs for generations. We are simply human jackals. Raiders."


Chapter 10: Father of Terror


This chapter is titled for the name of the Sphinx by the indigenous population, as mentioned earlier in this novel.


On page 204, the goddess Nut is painted on the ceiling of the tomb, with lines of stars running down her sides. Nut is the ancient Egyptian goddess of the cosmos, stars, and sky.


As the narrative states on page 205, hieratic is a cursive form of Egyptian hieroglyphics.


On page 205, Indy reads from an old papyrus script that this tomb dates from the time of Rameses II, thirteen hundred years before Christ. Rameses II (~1303-1213 BC) was the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty. Jesus Christ was a first-century Jewish preacher who became the central figure of Christianity, whom later Christians believe was the son of God and the awaited Messiah (the Christ) prophesied in the Old Testament.


Indy also reads from the papyrus that this spot is the location of the First Time. This is also known as Zep Tepi in the Egyptian cosmology.


On page 207, the descriptions of the gods of the Egyptian pantheon are accurate.


Many Egyptian tombs feature a so-called Chariot Hall, similar to the one Indy and Sallah find here.


As stated on page 211, Menes was the founder of the First Dynasty of Ancient Egypt (c. 3100-2900 BC).


The Great Pyramid, which Indy believes he and Sallah are now under in the tomb tunnels on page 212, is the largest of the pyramids on the Giza Plateau, said to have served as the tomb of pharaoh Khufu.


On page 214, Sallah claims to have some Bedouin in him. The Bedouin were a nomadic Arab ethnic group of the deserts, now mostly settled in the modern cities of the Middle East.


Climbing up a vertical shaft in the tomb, Mystery discovers a beam made of iron. Indy argues it can not be iron because all the structures of Giza were built before the Iron Age. The Iron Age is the last of the three historical Metal Ages, following the Copper and Bronze Ages. The Iron Age was from about the centuries between 1300 B.C. and 600 B.C. The Giza plateau structures were built from about 2600 and 2500 BC.


On page 220, Indy tells Mystery the next chamber they enter in the tomb should be the Hall of Truth. The Hall of Truth (usually called the Hall of Two Truths) was a place where a person's soul (ka) would go after death to proclaim to Maat, the goddess of truth, justice, and cosmic balance, that they were innocent of worldly sins.


The Ancient of Days Indy speaks about on pages 221-222, is a name for God in the Book of Daniel, an account of the visions and doings of a Babylonian Jew. It is contained in the Hebrew Bible, but not in most Christian Bibles since the 16th Century. Indy's comment that some people say the description of the Ancient of Days giving bread to the Israelites sounds like a Stone Age people's attempt to describe an automobile! This may be the author of the novel trying to inject a bit of Von Daniken "Chariots of the Gods" or "ancient astronauts" into the mythology.


Mystery crumples up one of the strange, colored sheets she and Indy find in the Hall of Truth and when she sets it down, it unfolds itself back into a perfect, uncreased page. This may be a nod by the author to the alleged pieces of extremely thin material that could be crumpled and would uncrumple itself in the same way from the alleged UFO crash near Roswell, New Mexico in June 1947.


The Omega Book and Hall of Truth depicted here seem to be an allusion to the "Hall of Records" predicted in 1933 would be found under the Sphinx by American clairvoyant and prophet Edgar Cayce.


From the Omega Book, Indy reads of a French farmer named Francois Malevil and a Roman soldier who died at Actium. Malevil is a fictitious person, as far as I can tell. Actium was a town in ancient Acamania (in western Greece) at which Octavian, founder of the Roman Empire, won a major victory over Antony and Cleopatra in 31 BC.


Page 226 reveals that Kaspar Maskelyne was born in Leeds on July 16, 1893.


Chapter 11: Miracles and Mayhem


On page 241, Jadoo mentions Charles Fort's Book of the Damned. The Book of the Damned is a 1919 book by Fort (for whom the term "Fortean" was coined) about anomalous phenomena.


The four "plagues" Faye unleashes around the environs of the Sphinx with the staff on pages 240-242 are four of the ten deadly plagues (or disasters) that God is said to have rained down upon Egypt in the Book of Exodus of the Bible.


Chapter 12: The Crystal Skull


On page 247, Indy returns to his fourth floor office of McCormick Hall at Princeton University. McCormick Hall is an actual academic building on the Princeton campus. (Photo of McCormick Hall from the Princetoniana Museum website.)


Page 249 implies that Faye and Mystery live in Claremore, Oklahoma.


Indy receives a job offer in the mail from Barnett College. This is the school at which Indy is seen teaching in The Last Crusade. It is a fictitious institution.


On pages 249-250, Indy reflects on finding the Crystal Skull of Cozán and the adventures he'd had in losing and reacquiring it since. These adventures occurred from March 1933 to now (in 1934) beginning in The Philosopher's Stone. Indy thinks of these adventures as taking place over years, but it's only been a little over a year for him (probably an indication that this novel was originally meant to take place later than 1934, but was changed for some reason).


On page 253, Marcus asks Indy if he's heard of the ashes of Nurhachi, and he responds in the affirmative, but adds that he'd like to rest before going to Shanghai to chase after them. Nurhachi (1559-1626), also known as Emperor Taizu of Qing, was the founder of the Jin dynasty of China. Indy will soon chase down the urn containing the ashes of Nurhachi in 1935 and trade them to one of the emperor's descendants for the Peacock's Eye diamond in Shanghai in Temple of Doom.


Chapter 13: Time Out of Joint


On page 256, a herpetologist is a zoologist specializing in the study of amphibians and reptiles.


Finding himself walking in the past of the great city of Cozán, Indy sees its native inhabitants, clad in tunics made of plant fiber, hurrying about and glancing up at the sun as if anticipating a major event, wearing the same expression as a businessman on Wall Street glancing at his wristwatch. Wall Street, of course, is the name of the major thoroughfare of New York's financial district.


On page 266, Indy thinks to himself, Fascists. I hate these guys. This is a play on Indy's line in The Last Crusade, "Nazis. I hate these guys."




The old professor Indy talks to on the Princeton campus is unnamed, but is certainly Albert Einstein, who taught there from 1933-1939. Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was the renowned theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity in physics.


Unanswered Questions


Indy seems to undergo a sort of brief astral time travel near the end of the novel. He will also experience a more "solid" time travel event in The Dial of Destiny. Are the two types of travel related?


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