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Indiana Jones and the Peril at Delphi is the first novel in the series published by Bantam Books. It was written by Rob MacGregor, and released in 1991. The U.S. cover of the book depicts a younger-looking Indiana Jones.

Publisher's summary[]

In 1981 a new hero like no other burst upon the scene. Over the next ten years and three films we grew to know and love the legend that is Indiana Jones: bold adventurer, swashbuckling explorer, he lives forever in our imaginations, unraveling the mysteries of the past in a time when the world was at war and dreams could still come true. Now, in an all-new series of novels officially licensed from Lucasfilm, we will learn what shaped Indiana Jones into the hero he is today!


For sixteen centuries the Order of Pythia has awaited the reappearance of the ancient oracle of sacred knowledge of Delphi. An earthquake, rending the earth beneath the ruins, has now heralded her return. Dorian Belecamus, a beautiful and bewitching archaeology professor, sees an opportunity to do more than dig into the past: This is her chance to seize control of her country's future—by becoming the Oracle of Delphi! And she's found just the man to help her consummate her scheme. He's brash, he's reckless, and he's fallen under her spell. His name: Indiana Jones.

The adventure spans the globe from Chicago to Paris to Greece where, bullwhip in hand, Indy descends into the bottomless pit of the serpent god and finds a sacred stone that holds the key to the oracle's prophecies. But Dorian has designed an even more sinister fate for young Indy: She means to make him her lover, her priest, her pawn in a plot to kill the king. Will Indy find the source of Pythia's powers—or find himself sacrificed at Dorian's altar, a victim of her deadly ambition and desire?

Plot summary[]

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  • Army ant (Mentioned only)
  • Dolphin (Mentioned only)
  • Eagle (Flashback)
  • Fish (Mentioned only)
  • Goat
  • Horse
  • Snake (Vision)
    • Python (Mentioned only)
  • Turkey (Mentioned only)



  • Argonauts (Mentioned only)
  • The Blood Crystals (Mentioned only)
  • Cadillac
  • Cornet
  • Dada
  • The Death Ray (Mentioned only)
  • "Down in the Quarter"
  • Fedora
  • Garlic
  • Indy's whip
  • Jazz
  • Linear B
  • Model T
  • "The Nature of American Patriots and Traitors"
  • The Odyssey
  • Order of Pythía
  • Pierce-Arrow
  • The Perils of Pauline (On poster)
  • The Poisoned Room (Mentioned only)
  • Punch
  • Seventeen
  • Tank
  • Ulysses

Behind the scenes[]


After writing the novelization of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and before the publication of his first original novel Crystal Skull, Rob MacGregor was approached by Lucasfilm Ltd. to write a series of Indiana Jones prequel stories set in the 1920s. MacGreggor accepted the offer and given the directive to only use known mystical objects as the MacGuffins, leading MacGregor to utilize the Omphalos as the plot device for Indiana Jones and the Peril at Delphi.[1]

MacGregor was not permitted to use any characters from the film series except the titular protagonist and Marcus Brody, the latter who just appeared in a vision in the finished novel, which prevented MacGregor from exploring the relationship between Jones and Marion Ravenwood.[1] To compensate for this, MacGregor created new recurring characters, such as Jack Shannon, based on friends of his with whom he went out to bars for the music.[2]

Originally Indiana Jones and the Peril at Delphi (and the series which followed) was intended to begin and end with the appearance of a ninety year old Indiana Jones narrating the story. According to MacGregor, he was told that no one would be interested in seeing Indy as an old man, so the idea was dropped. Ironically, the unused concept later resurfaced in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles television series, created by George Lucas himself, who MacGregor believes was responsible for nixing his idea for the novel.[2]


Peril at Delphi was originally published in 1991, one year before The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles premiered. Because of this, several continuity errors become apparent when studying the two works chronologically. For instance, the book begins with Indy graduating from the University of Chicago in 1920, when the TV series established that that was the year he first started studying there. The book also mentions Indy, by October 1922, having been a student at the Sorbonne for two years. For these sources to function together, chronologically, the dates given in the book must be retconned.

The timeline of Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide further complicated matters by placing events from the novel out of order. The assassination attempt on Constantine, the climax of the story, was dated as being in May 1922 with Indy graduating from Chicago in the June and his studies in Paris beginning the following month.

Cover gallery[]

Notes and references[]