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March, 1933 "The Philosopher's Stone"

[Depicted in Indiana Jones and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first Indiana Jones novel written by Max McCoy, and the ninth in the Bantam series - released in April, 1995.]


  • While exploring the lost city of Cozan in the rainforests of Central America, Indiana deciphers a puzzle that leads him to the Crystal Skull of Cozan. Soon after, an Italian man named Sarducci arrives to take the crystal skull out of his grasp, prior to explaining to Indiana his plans for eternal life.

  • Back at Princeton University, Indy is approached by a group of government men who are investigating the theft of the Voynich Manuscript, which is thought to be the key to unlocking the Philosopher’s Stone

  • After declining their offer to join them on the investigation, Indy is approached by the dean who tells him that during his trip to Cozan he mistakenly passed through British Honduras, therefore he’s now being sanctioned by their government as a graverobber and is subsequently fired from the university. 

  • From there, Indy goes to visit Marcus Brody in New York City, where he wanders the streets both penniless and alone. After stopping at an obscure bookstore he encounters a lonely old man that’s also well-versed in the Philosopher’s Stone, who informs Indy that he was also approached by the US government as well as fascists from Italy. 

  • That encounter leads Indiana to contact the government and accept their assignment, of which soon he soon finds himself climbing up a dangling rope 100 feet in the air to the USS Macon

  • Soon after, Indiana is in England in search of an expert in Stone lore, where he instead meets a woman who has a tattoo on her back that holds the key to deciphering the Voynich Manuscript. The fascists then arrive and the pair narrowly escape a shootout in the back alleys of London

  • Eventually, after more adventures and close encounters in Italy and Libya, Indiana decodes the tattoo and they arrive at the location of the Philosopher’s Stone. It is there where Sarducci arrives to take the stone for himself, though upon his touch he begins to melt along with his assistant. 

  • Then to save everyone else, the aforementioned Stone lore expert grabs hold of the stone and sacrifices himself by jumping into the ocean, allowing Indy and his new girlfriend to return to civilization. 


  • Mythology and legend present in this adventure are:


  • Voynich Manuscript - An illustrated codex handwritten in an unknown writing system, thought to have been composed in Italy during the Italian Renaissance. The manuscript has been studied by cryptographers from around the world, yet to date nobody has been able to decipher its illustrations and text. It is named after Wilfrid Voynich, a Polish-Samogitian book dealer who purchased it in 1912, though in 1969 it was donated by Austrian book dealer Hans P. Kraus to Yale University where it resides today. 



  • Philosopher’s Stone - a legendary alchemical substance that is said to turn base metals into gold or silver, often called the ‘elixir of life’ and sought after for rejuvenation and immortality. As the central symbol of the mystical terminology of alchemy, it symbolizes ‘perfection at its finest, enlightenment, and heavenly bliss,’ while efforts to discover the stone has been known as the Magnum Opus (“Great Work”)


  • Other subjects of historical significance are:


  • USS Macon (ZRS-5) - an airship built and operated by the US Navy that was in service for less than two years, as in 1935 it was damaged and lost in a storm off of California’s Big Sur coast. Both the Macon and its sister ship the USS Akron (ZRS-4) were among the largest flying objects in the world in terms of length and volume, and they both still hold the world record for helium-filled rigid airships.

  • Fascism - a form of dictatorship that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe, initially emerging in Italy during World War I before spreading throughout the continent. As a direct contradiction of freedom through democracy, fascism promotes the use of violence and the authority to intervene in the lives of citizens, while Benito Mussolini (Italy) and Adolf Hilter (Germany) were two of the most recognizable leaders of fascism throughout history. 


  • Locations in this adventure are:


  • British Honduras - Located on the east coast of Central America and originally formed after the Treaty of Versailles (1783) between Britain and Spain, it was officially a British Crown colony between 1862 to 1964. In 1973, however, it was renamed Belize as a self-governing colony, prior to Belize gaining full independence in 1981. 

  • London - the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom, considered to be one of the most important global cities in the world. It hosts four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London; Kew Gardens; the site comprising the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret's Church; and the historic settlement in Greenwich where the Royal Observatory defines the Prime Meridian, 0° longitude, and Greenwich Mean Time, as well as other landmarks that include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, and St Paul's Cathedral to name a few. 

  • Libya - officially the State of Libya - a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa, it is the fourth largest country on the continent and the 16th largest country in the world. Libya became a member of the United Nations in 1955 and its official religion is Islam, as over 95% of the population are Sunni Muslims


  • Fun Fact - The book is dedicated to the memory of actor Denholm Elliot (1922-1992) who played Marcus Brody in the Indiana Jones films.  



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