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Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead
Steve Perry
Lucas Books, Del Rey, 325 pages

Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead
Steve Perry
Steve Perry was born in 1947 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana He has lived in California, Washington and Oregon. He is married to the former Dianne Waller, Executive Director of the Columbia River Channel Coalition. Before turning to full-time freelance writing, he held a variety of jobs, including swimming instructor and lifeguard, hotel gift shop and car rental clerk, martial arts instructor, private detective, Licensed Practical Nurse and Certified Physician's Assistant. They have two grown children and two grandsons.

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A review by David Maddox

Indiana Jones has faced Nazis, Communists, Knights, the Holy Grail, Noah's Ark and even found the city of Atlantis in his myriad screen and Expanded Universe exploits. So, keeping up with current popularity, why not throw some zombis into the mix? That's what Steve Perry has been given the opportunity to do with Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead, the first novel adventure of everyone's favorite globe-trotting archaeologist to see print since Max McCoy's Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Sphinx back in 1999 from Bantam.

Although now under the Del Rey Lucas Books imprint, the novel is designed to begin a series filling in the gaps during Indy's involvement in World War II. Set in 1943, five years after the events of Last Crusade, 14 years before Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Army of the Dead follows Indy and George "Mac" McHale on a 'holiday' excursion to Haiti to locate the Heart of Darkness, a rumored gigantic black pearl that is considered a focal point of voodoo magic.

Perry is an old hand at Lucas properties, most notably having written the Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire novel for the big multimedia event back in the 90s. He captures Indy well and, although he himself admits to taking some liberties with the geographical setting, captures a nice picture of Haiti and the voodoo culture. Readers will enjoy seeing Mac and Indy working together, although there is definitely a dark side to the man which the reader knows will result in his betrayal during Crystal Skull.

Unfortunately, the novel is a bit of a letdown. The characters are well defined, from Marie, the love interest who leads our heroes into the jungle, to Boukman, the evil centuries old voodoo priest who wants the pearl to rule the world. There's even a German and Japanese soldier battalion fighting their ways, separately, to claim the item themselves.

The zombis are quite creepy. Perry has done his research and he covers and explains the difference between the type of zombi created from a living slave via a potion, and the truly risen from the dead, animated corpses type of zombi.

But the story and the adventure, really just involve Indy and his team fighting through a jungle, getting set upon by soldiers, fighting through a jungle, getting set upon by zombis and more fighting through a jungle. There's nothing that really makes it jump out as an eye-popping Indiana Jones adventure. It suffers from being set in the middle of World War II, but taken as a vacation of the lead characters.

There are some nice references to past Indy screen adventures, but it wouldn't have hurt to throw in a mention or two of some of the events of the 12 previous Bantam books, as there is a rumor that they will be reprinted soon.

Overall, it's nice to see more Indiana Jones stories beginning to see fruition. Army of the Dead is a nice jumping off point, and the hope is that the novels that follow will step up the stakes and take Indy right back into the heart of his adventures we know and love.

Copyright © 2010 David Maddox

David Maddox
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been many things, including Star Trek characters and the Riddler in a Batman stunt show. He holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University, and has written several articles for various SF sites as well as the Star Wars Insider and the Star Trek Communicator. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories while acting on stage, screen and television. He can sometimes be seen giving tours at Universal Studios Hollywood and occasionally playing Norman Bates. Really.

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