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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr


Indiana Jones: The Mountain of Fire Indiana Jones
The Mountain of Fire
Written by William McCay
Cover art by Vince Natale

During the early days of WWI, Indy and his father are sidelined in Hawaii, where they stumble across a German plot to attack Pacific shipping.


Read the "Early October 1914" entry of the It’s Not the Years, It’s the Mileage Indiana Jones chronology for a summary of this book


Notes from the Indiana Jones chronology


This book takes place in October 1914.


Didja Know?


The Young Indiana Jones original novels (not to be confused with the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles novelizations) are a series of juvenile novels written from 1990-1995. Though numbered 1-15, they do not take place in chronological order and cover the years 1912-1914. Young Indiana Jones and the Mountain of Fire is book #13 in the series.


Indy is reunited with Lizzie Ravenall yet again in this adventure. They first met in The Plantation Treasure and again in Curse of the Ruby Cross. "Aunt" Mary Jones also makes a return appearance from the latter book.


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 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. The FSB 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 time in Indy's life. In fact, it goes from August 5, 1912 to March 9, 1916...a period of about 3.5 years! Are we to believe that Indy made no journal entries that entire time? Perhaps the entries were excised by the Russians for some reason when it was in their possession?


Characters appearing or mentioned in this story


Indiana Jones

Mrs. Hagedorn

Henry Jones, Sr.

China Maid first mate

China Maid captain

Sgt. Nat Warrick

China Maid crewmen

pilot of Honolulu launch

Mary Jones

Lizzie Ravenall

Constanze (Stanzi) Rademacher

German sailors

Mike Halani

Leutnant Kurt Messer (dies in this novel)

Herr Rademacher

Sidney Pilkington

Uncle George


hotel stable boy

Hilo stable boy



Kapitän zur See Heinrich Schlageter




Didja Notice?


As the book opens, Indy and his father are on the steamship China Maid out of San Francisco.


Pages 5-6 give a very brief rundown of the events of WWI in Europe from it's start at the end of July into early October when our story takes place.


The brief modern history of Hawaii discussed by Indy and his father on pages 7-8 is accurate.


On page 8, Indy muses on how his father is a specialist on the (European) literature of the Middle Ages and probably thought Columbus had spoiled things by discovering the New World. The Middle Ages is the period in Europe from about 400-900 AD. Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) was an Italian explorer who accidentally discovered the American continent in 1492 while sailing a hoped-for western passage to Asia for Queen Isabella I of Castile; the continent was widely known afterwards as the New World.


Indy remarks to his father that Honolulu is the only American city that has a royal palace. That would be ʻIolani Palace, built in 1879. Honolulu means "sheltered bay", just as Lizzie explains on page 34.


On page 17, the China Maid is off the Hawaiian island of Oahu, near the lighthouse at Makapuu Point. This is an actual lighthouse on Oahu.


The captain of the China Maid remarks to a quizzical passenger that the Hawaiian Islands stretch 1500 miles, similar to the distance from Boston to New Orleans. This is true.


The captain tells a passenger that the boat usually takes on fresh coal at Hilo on the big island of Hawaii. Hilo is the largest city on the island and, for some reason, does not have its own website.


On page 18, the captain mentions Shanghai, China.


Aboard the China Maid, Indy meets an old soldier named Sergeant Warrick. Possibly, the Warrick name was borrowed by the author from that Wicket W. Warrick, a character in Lucasfilm's Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Sgt. Warrick is seen again in Face of the Dragon, and is given the first name Nat.


Sgt. Warrick recalls a time he passed through Honolulu in 1898 on the way to the Philippines. The definitions of the Hawaiian words wahines and lei are basically as described here, "women" and "flower necklace". On page 84, a Hawaiian native uses the wahine term for Lizzie.


   As the boat comes into Honolulu harbor on page 19, Sgt. Warrick points out a rocky crater called Diamond Head, where the goddess Pele is said to have lived. Diamond Head (British-given name, Hawaiian name is Lēʻahi) is an actual volcanic cone, inactive for the past 150,000 years. However, actual local legend of the goddess of volcanoes and fire, Pele, is that she lives in Halemaʻumaʻu crater of Kīlauea Volcano on the big island of Hawaii. Later in the book (page 35), Mike Halani says Pele traveled to each of the islands and dug a crater with her magic digging stick, but the sea put the fires out until she finally reached the big island of Hawaii.

    Warrick goes on to say if you got Pele mad, she'd burn you up. Pele does have a certain reputation in the legends for throwing lava atop those who've angered her.


Finding out their prepaid coal has been stolen by an imposter ship, the captain of the China Maid demands the Honolulu pilot to ferry them into a berth and fetch the harbor authorities and someone from the Farron coal yards. As far as I can tell, the Farron coal yards are fictitious.


Stuck in Honolulu while the China Maid's situation is sorted out, Indy's father books them a room at the Moana Hotel, but they end up staying at the mansion home of Constanze Rademacher's parents instead.


Page 25 implies that Professor Jones has moved himself and Indy back to Princeton by the time of this story. Presumably, he's recovered enough from the death of his wife in 1912 to return to their Princeton home.


On page 25, Indy reflects that he learned about the Norman kings of Sicily due to his father's influence. This occurred in Curse of the Ruby Cross.


Lizzie remarks that she met and befriended Constanze while they were both attending Barnard College. Barnard College is a women's college of Columbia University in New York. Lizzie was seen attending it in Curse of the Ruby Cross.


On page 29, Indy is disappointed at how like a normal American city Fort Street looks. This is an actual road in Honolulu.


Page 30 mentions a thriving Chinatown district in Honolulu. This is true, it covers several blocks along the harbor and north and east of it.


On page 30, Indy learns the Hawaiian terms mauka, makai, ewa, and waikiki, basically meaning what Lizzie informs him they mean. Ewa was actually an old Hawaiian district before the islands became a U.S. territory, now making up the Ewa Villages of Oahu. Waikiki is a neighborhood of Honolulu, famously known for Waikiki Beach.


Lizzie's definition of aloha on page 34 is essentially correct, meaning love and compassion and often used in Hawaii as a friendly hello or goodbye.


On page 34, Lizzie points out to Indy the Outrigger Canoe Club on Waikiki Beach, where she describes surf-riding to him. Now more commonly known as just "surfing", the sport has been part of Polynesian culture for centuries or millennia and is believed by some to have originated in Hawaii.


Lizzie refers to the German Kurt Messer as Leutnant. This is German for "lieutenant".


On page 39, Halani tells Indy he surfed well for a malahini. As stated in the book, malahini is Hawaiian for "newcomer" or "stranger".


Punchbowl Crater mentioned on page 40 is an actual extinct volcanic cone in Honolulu.


On page 43, Messer bitterly mentions British spy Sidney Reilly and his exploits right before the Russo-Japanese War. Reilly was a Russian-born British émigré who worked as a spy for Scotland Yard's Special Branch and as a double-agent for the Japanese Secret Intelligence Services, including gathering intel for a Japanese attack on Port Arthur in Manchuria, controlled by Russia. His intel led to a questionably successful sneak attack by the Japanese Navy against Port Arthur on February 8-9, 1904, leading to the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. Reilly came to be known as "Ace of Spies". An unproduced episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles TV series is said to have had Indy in July 1919 working for French Intelligence in Moscow, assisting Reilly in working with counter-revolutionaries in destabilizing the Bolshevik government.


On pages 44-45, our group of venturers discuss the new base the U.S. is building at Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor, of course, would become a household term after the Japanese attack against it on December 7, 1941, leading to the entrance of the U.S. into WWII.


On page 45, Indy muses that his father's interest in naval affairs ended with the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. This was a naval battle between the Holy League of Catholic states against a fleet of the Ottoman Empire in the Gulf of Patras.


    On page 45, Halani remarks only a haole would build on top of the coral of Pearl Harbor, a foundation which would collapse. Lizzie translates for Aunt Mary that haole means "foreigner", adding, "Specifically, foreigners like us." The word has generally come to refer to white people/Europeans/Americans in modern usage, edging on the pejorative. Halani's use of it here could probably be considered pejorative, but provoked by Aunt Mary's condescending remark about his talk of Hawaiian "pagan gods".

    Another Hawaiian native uses the term less offensively on page 84. 


On page 48, Aunt Mary tells of how she likes to watch the bird migrations in the Adirondacks. The Adirondacks are a mountain range in upper New York state.


    During their expedition of Kīlauea, Indy and his party stay at Volcano House on the rim. It is the only hotel in the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The owner they meet, "Uncle George", is George Lycurgus (1858-1960), who was always introduced as "Uncle George" by his nephew co-owner, Demosthenes Lycurgus.

    As stated on page 50, Mark Twain, author of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, stayed at Volcano House in the 1860s. He wrote about it in his 1872 travelogue book Roughing It.


On pages 52-53, Halani tells Lizzie and Indy that the ohelo berries found growing on the sides of volcanoes are sacred to Pele and should only be eaten if you've tossed half into the volcano as a sacrifice. This is an actual part of Hawaiian mythology.


    On page 54, after the mysterious old woman has taken Lizzie's hatful of berries and disappeared into a crack along the volcano, Indy chuckles at Lizzie's intimation that the old woman may have been the goddess Pele herself until he recalls that the last time he had an adventure with Lizzie they'd met a ghost (in Curse of the Ruby Cross). Yeah, not to mention all of the other supernatural experiences he's had already in many of the previous Young Indy novels!

    On pages 55-56, Halani, upon hearing of Lizzie and Indy's encounter with the old woman, remarks that it is said that sometimes, before an eruption, Pele appears as an old woman. I have not been able to find mythology mentioning her appearing just before an eruption, but it does say that she is known to appear as an old woman and ask people if they have food or drink to share. For this novel, the author probably added Halani's version of the legend to foreshadow the Kilauea eruption that takes place in the book shortly after this incident.


Halani's description of pahoehoe and aa rock on page 54 is accurate of the Hawaiian terms.


On pages 56-57, Halani and Aunt Mary discuss the legend of Princess Kapiolani. Princess Kapiolani (1781-1841) became one of the first Christian converts of the islands and later became the High Chieftess of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Halani's version of the legend of Princess Kapiolani and volcano is accurate, a bit more so than the one Aunt Mary tells of having read about.


On page 57, Halani tells of a time Pele is said to have been angry and suffocated an army of warriors with an eruption of gas from the Kilauea volcano. This legend is based on the true story of the Hawaiian conqueror Kamehameha, in 1790, facing his rival cousin Keoua, who marched his own group of warriors in flight from Kamehameha up Kilauea, which erupted and killed many warriors with its poisonous gas. As Halani says, many of the footprints are still visible in the ash at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.


The Ring of Craters that Pilkington journeys to is an actual part of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.


On page 61, Indy's group visits the Kau Desert in their quest for the missing Pilkington and Messer. Though not technically a desert, it is an actual part of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. It has some resemblance to desert due to being in the rain shadow of Kilauea volcano and also to the acidic rain it gets from gases emitted by the volcano.


On page 62, Halani tells another real world mythological tale of Pele, the sporting challenge of Pele against two chiefs who finally realize she is the goddess and try to flee, but she engulfs them in lava.


On pages 71-72, Messer rejoices at reading in the newspaper that Germany's Admiral Scheer left the cruiser Emden of the country's Far East Squadron behind to make trouble for the Allies and she has just sunk several freighters in the Indian Ocean. This is probably a reference to the Emden's sinking of the British freighters Tywerse and King Lund on September 25, 1914.


On page 75, Indy tells Pilkington that while he attended a British boarding school for two terms, he didn't enjoy it, as the boys there made fun of him for being a Yank and playing cruel practical jokes on a friend of his. This refers mostly to events in The Ghostly Riders, where Indy attended his first term at Charenton Academy and his picked on friend was Cerdic Sandyford. His second term at the school is mentioned in Circle of Death.


On page 78, Indy tells Aunt Mary that Al jabr is an Arabic word for the science of setting bones "--or reuniting things." Al jabr means "completion".


When Indy is unable to find Lizzie and Mike around Volcano House after Lizzie determines to help the laid up Pilkington with his mission for the British, he thinks, I've got a bad feeling about this. This may be a nod by the author to George Lucas' Star Wars saga, where the phrase "I've got a bad feeling about this," appears repeatedly.


On page 88, Indy uses hjelpe as Norwegian for "help". This is the correct translation.


Page 90 mentions Indy had spent time in Austria as a child. This is presumably a reference to his time there in 1908 in "The Perils of Cupid", where he had fallen in love with Princess Sophie.


On page 92, Indy hopes the German freighter crew will want to set him back on shore before the U.S. Coast Guard comes looking for him, sent by his family.


On page 93, Indy is faced by Thorvald, armed with a Luger pistol. Luger is a pistol design first patented by Austrian Georg Luger in 1900.


The captain of the Nora is Kapitän zur See Heinrich Schlageter. "Kapitän zur See" is the highest rank in the German Navy before reaching a rank of Admiral.


    On page 95, Kapitan Schlageter tells Indy he previously served under Kapitan von Muller of the Emden. Karl von Muller (1873-1923) was the captain of the previously-mentioned Emden.

    Schlageter goes on to say that his ship, the Ostwind, was originally Russian and was the first to be captured by Emden, after which it was sent to the German port at Tsingtao, China and set out. It would seem this refers to the Russian steamer Ryazan, which historically was the first ship captured by Emden, refitted for German use in Tsingtao, and set out...but with the name Cormoran, not Ostwind. The Cormoran served Germany until August 14, 1914 when it was forced to port in the U.S. territory of Guam, where it could not gain more provisions due to the U.S. neutrality in the war at the time. It was held there until the U.S. declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917 and the German crew scuttled it to prevent seizure by their hosts. So, the boat had an altered history in the Indiana Jones universe it seems!


On page 105, a German seaman pokes Indy with a rifle and says, "Schnell!" This is German for "Quickly!"


The Kilauea eruption that occurs in this book is fictitious. Although the volcano does erupt occasionally, no eruption of such force occurred there in 1914.


The expedition to China from which Indy and his father were sidelined by their forced layover in Hawaii resumes in the next novel, Face of the Dragon.


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