Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

( 2 )

Overview

Everyone’s favorite globe-trotting, wisecracking archaeologist is hurtling headfirst into high adventure and relying on his wits, his fists, and his trusty bullwhip to get him out of deep trouble.

It’s 1957, and the Cold War is heating up. A ruthless squad of Russian soldiers crashes Indiana Jones’s latest expedition and forces the unwilling Indy along as they brazenly invade American soil, massacre U.S. soldiers, and plunder a top-secret government warehouse. Commanded by a ...

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Overview

Everyone’s favorite globe-trotting, wisecracking archaeologist is hurtling headfirst into high adventure and relying on his wits, his fists, and his trusty bullwhip to get him out of deep trouble.

It’s 1957, and the Cold War is heating up. A ruthless squad of Russian soldiers crashes Indiana Jones’s latest expedition and forces the unwilling Indy along as they brazenly invade American soil, massacre U.S. soldiers, and plunder a top-secret government warehouse. Commanded by a sword-wielding colonel who’s as sinister as she is stunning, the menacing Reds have one objective: a relic even more precious–and powerful–than the mythic Ark of the Covenant, capable of unlocking secrets beyond human comprehension.

Quick thinking and some high-speed maneuvers help Indy narrowly escape certain death. But the Russians are unrelenting, and their next move leads Indy into the depths of the Amazon on a desperate rescue mission. With a hotheaded teenage biker as his unlikely wing man and his vengeful new Russian nemesis waiting for a rematch, Indy’s back in the game–playing for a prize all the wonders of the world could never rival.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345502889
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/25/2008
  • Series: Indiana Jones Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Movie Tie-in
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 286,679
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 4.18 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

James Rollins
James Rollins is the bestselling author of eight previous novels: Subterranean, Excavation, Deep Fathom, Amazonia, Ice Hunt, Sandstorm, Map of Bones, and Black Order. He has a doctorate in veterinary medicine and his own practice in Sacramento, California. An amateur spelunker and a certified scuba enthusiast, he can often be found either underground or underwater. Visit his website at www.jamesrollins.com.

Biography

James Rollins is the New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of Black Order, Map of Bones and other adventure thrillers. He was born in Chicago and grew up in Ontario, Canada, and St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated with honors from the University of Missouri with a degree in veterinary medicine. And like most veterinarians, he presently shares his home with a Golden Retriever, a Dachshund, and a sixty-five year old parrot named Igor. Rollins currently practices in Northern California, and when not writing or working in his veterinary practice, he can often be found underground or underwater as an amateur spelunker and scuba diver. These hobbies have helped in the creation of his earlier books Subterranean, Deep Fathom, Amazonia, and Sandstorm. His thriller, Black Order, skyrocketed to the top of bestseller lists across the country, winning the author countless new fans, and was proclaimed by People magazine as one of last summer's "hottest reads." Map of Bones was chosen by Publishers Weekly as one of the most likely to win over Dan Brown's faithful audience, and the New York Times rated the book as one the summer's top crowd pleasers.

Author biography courtesy of HarperCollins.

Good To Know

Some fun and fascinating outtakes from our interview with Rollins:

"I often get asked if I still practice veterinary medicine. While I don't practice full-time, I still do volunteer. I work with a group that traps stray cats, brings them to the shelter, where I spend a day spaying and neutering them. It's basically eight hours of removing genitalia. It's a hobby."

"I am a TV junkie. I have two Tivos and they are constantly full."

"My first job was to flip pizzas. I once got a pie spinning that was ten feet across. I had to spin it on my back to keep it going. Yet, I still love pizza."

"Two hobbies I love -- caving and scuba diving -- are also essential research for my novels. Case in point:

I've always been an avid cave explorer, from the vast systems in Missouri to the lava tubes of Hawaii to the tighter squeezes of the California foothills. But one of my most frightening episodes also allowed me to better describe claustrophobia in my novels. While climbing out of the fairly technical wild cavern, involving lots of rope work, I managed to jam myself midway up a narrow vertical chute. Hung up on my ascending gear midway up the chute, I found myself unable to move up or down. My chest was squeezed between two walls, my left knee turned the wrong way. I could not maneuver, and there was not enough room to get a rescue climber to me. I was trapped. I remember the team leader, leaning down from above, shining his helmet lamp at me. ‘You either find a way to un-jam yourself, or you stay there forever.'

So over the course of a long hour -- wriggling, sweating, cursing, and clawing -- I managed to creep a millimeter at a time out of the jam. After this event, I had a better understanding for panic and the determination born of pure desperation, essential ingredients for to writing thrilling fiction.

But spelunking through caves was not my only ‘research' lesson. Two decades ago, I also took up scuba diving and went on dive trips all around the world: Monterey Bay, Hawaii, South Pacific, Australia. I particularly remember one trip to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. I was informed by the dive master to beware of the many hazards found in the region. ‘On land, Australia has seven of the ten deadliest snakes. The seas are worse. Box jellyfish can kill in minutes. Local sea snakes are some of the most toxic. But worst of all is the stone fish. It looks like a stone, but its spines are loaded with paralytic poison. So be careful what you touch.'

And down we all went, buddied up in pairs, enthusiastic and excited. I dropped toward the reef and adjust my buoyancy until I'm floating just above the reef. All around spread amazing sights: giant clams, a flurry of colored fish, an astounding variety of coral. But I miscalculated my buoyancy, my weight shifted, and I planted a hand into the sand to stabilize my tumble, careful of the razor-sharp coral. Inches from my thumb, a jagged rock suddenly sprouted fins and swam away. I met the gaze of my buddy diver. His wide eyes firmed up the identification. The deadly stone fish. And I had almost slapped my hand on its back. As the fish scurried away, I understood at that exact moment how little Nature cared about the life of a scuba-diving novelist. Down here, Nature ruled. We were only visitors.

This mix of respect and terror is brought to life in my latest novel, The Judas Strain."

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    1. Hometown:
      Sacramento, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 20, 1961
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois

Read an Excerpt

1546

RETURN ...

Francisco de Orellana stumbled the last steps toward the cliff ’s edge. At the lip of the precipice, he fell to his knees.The wide desert plain spread far below him. As the sun sank, he stared across that parched and rocky landscape, a reflection of his own soul. From this height he saw strange pictures carved into the desert floor, mon­strously large, stretching many leagues across the rocky plain, giant figures of monkeys, insects, snakes, along with flowers and strange angular shapes.

It was a God- cursed and demonic land. He should never have come.

Francisco tore the conquistador’s helmet from his head and tossed it behind him. While the sun gave up its last light, he planted his sword deep into the hot, sandy soil. The Spanish pommel and grip formed a cross against the setting sun.

Francisco prayed for release, for forgiveness, for salvation.

El dios querido, me perdona.

But there could be no forgiveness for the murder he had committed.

Blood bathed his gilded armor, dripped from his sword, and soiled his breastplate. The blood came from his own men, slaugh­tered at his own hand.

With his gold dagger, Francisco had slit the throats of the twin brothers, Iago and Isidro. He had used his sword to gut Gaspar like a pig and had come close to cleaving Rogelio’s head clean from his wide shoulders. He had stabbed Oleos in the back as he tried to flee; the same with Diego, cutting him off at the knees. The last man’s screams had chased Francisco to this perch atop the cliff.

But all had fallen silent.

The slaughter was complete.

Return ...

Francisco clawed at his face and dragged deep gouges. The command filled his skull. He sought to dig it out, cursing himself and the trespass he had committed. It would not let him go. The urge cut through his entrails like a rusted hook. It dug deeper than his spine, hooking him and trapping him.

For weeks he had fled that cursed place, sure he had escaped with a wealth to challenge kings, with wonders that would make queens weep. He had chests of gold and silver, another full of rubies and emeralds. A boat waited only a few days away, ported in a deepwater cove.

So close.

Return ...

He sank around his sword, begging for release. As this day had dawned, he had finally succumbed to the command etched into his bones. With each step away from that accursed valley, the word had grown louder in his skull. There was no escaping it. At last he found it impossible to continue, to take another step toward his ship. He became trapped in amber, unable to move forward. Only one path was left.

His men felt no such compunction. They chattered like boys, ex­cited to return home, reveling in how they’d spend their wealth, full of grand schemes and great dreams. They would not listen when he spoke of going back. They had fought him, urged him, and swore at him. They meant to take the treasure and continue to the ship, even if it meant leaving him behind.

And Francisco would have let them.

But in their greed, the men moved to take that which belonged to Francisco alone. That could not be! In a blind rage, he had cut them down like a scythe through wheat. Nothing must stop him, not even his own men.

Return ...

Now he was alone at last.

Now he could go back.

As the sun dropped below the far horizon and night fell, he gained his feet, retrieved his helmet, and pulled his sword from the soil. He turned, ready at last to obey the command. He headed down the dark slope–but movement drew his eye.

Below, figures shifted out of shadows and from behind tall boulders. They rose from holes and crawled from the limbs of twisted trees. They climbed toward him from all directions. He heard the knock of naked knees and the clop of stony heels.

An army, stripped of flesh . . . made of bones.

He paled and backed away, knowing now he was truly cursed.

The living dead closed toward him.

Come to drag him to Hell.

Where he truly belonged.

Still, he screamed to the night sky–not in terror, but in anguish, knowing he was forever damned. For he had failed, failed to obey the command burning in his skull. Merciless, relentless, the dead advanced toward him. His scream ripped into the night, but all Francisco de Orellana heard was one word.

Return ...

ONE

Yucatán Peninsula, 1957

Each stone told a story.

He edged on his stomach across the circular floor. Its surface had been carved into a Mayan calendar: a massive wheel made up of concentric rings of glyphs dug deep into the rock. Ahead, in the center, rose a large statue of a serpent’s head, cowled by stone feath­ers, its fanged mouth stretched wide, ready to swallow the unwary. The opening was large enough for a man to crawl through.

But what was in there?

He had to know.

If only he could reach it . . .

He tried to go faster, but the roof pressed against his back. He could not even lift up onto an elbow.The chamber required the sup­plicant to slither across the floor like a snake, perhaps in representa­tion of the Mayan god, Kukulkan, the feathered serpent. Except this current worshipper wore no feathers, only scuffed khaki pants, a faded leather bomber jacket, and a battered brown fedora.

Covered in mud, he crawled across the limestone floor. It had been raining in the Yucatán for the past week. The sun was just a distant memory. And now a tropical storm was due to strike this night, threatening to drive them away from the jungle- covered Mayan ruins that hugged the Yucatán coast.

“Indiana!” The call came from the stairs behind him.

“Little busy here, Mac!” he yelled back.

“The sun’s gone down, mate!” his friend urged, his British accent thickening with worry. “The winds are kicking up fierce. A coconut flew right past my head a minute ago.”

“It’s only a tropical storm!”

“Indy, it’s a hurricane!”

“Okay, so it’s a big tropical storm! Still busy down here. I’m not leaving till I see what’s hidden in the center of that statue. It has to be important.”

Indy had discovered the secret entrance to the temple two days earlier. It lay beneath a Mayan city complex on the central coast of the Yucatán. Hours of careful digging had been required to open the chute that led down to the inner chamber. Jungles still shrouded most of it, keeping it hidden for centuries from prying eyes and the sticky fingers of robbers.

Indy read the calendar wheel as he worked across the floor. The outer ring told the genesis myth of the Maya, as related from the Popul Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya. It listed the birth date of the world as:

13.0.0.0.0 4- Ahwa 8- Kumk’u

In the Gregorian calendar, this corresponded to August 13, 3114 BC. The inner rings continued the story of the K’iche Maya tribe, who had mostly settled Guatemala. Their writings were never seen this far north. The tale told of the birth and rise of Kukulkan, the feathered serpent god.

Indy ignored the ache in his knees and continued his crawl toward the innermost ring and the strange sculpture in the center.
The last ring spoke of the end of the Long Count calendar, the end of the world itself: December 21, AD 2012.

Fifty- five years from now.

Would the world truly end that day?

He continued onward. Plenty of time to worry about that later.

Indy reached the snake god’s head and lifted his lantern between the stone fangs. A small chamber opened beyond the mouth–but it had no floor. A pit dropped, like the dark throat of the stone ser­pent itself. It was deep, too dark to see the bottom, but a whispery rush echoed up to him.

Indy squirmed into the mouth and lowered his lantern. He caught a glint of silver, but it was still too dark to make out any details.

“Indiana!” Mac called from the stairs. “What are you doing?”

“What does it look like I’m doing?”

“It looks like you’re being swallowed by a snake!”

Indy shuddered at the thought. It was his worst nightmare. He twisted around and loosed his bullwhip from his shoulder. He tied the end around the handle of his lantern and lowered the light into the pit. The darkness fell back as the lantern descended. The walls of the well appeared to be raw polished limestone.

At last his light revealed the source of the silvery glint: water flowing past the bottom of the pit. The hole opened into one of the numerous underground rivers that ran through the porous lime­stone peninsula of the Yucatán. Hundreds of miles of such rivers and tunnels riddled the underworld here. The Maya considered such openings to be pathways to the next life.

Indy lowered the lantern a bit deeper. The river surged fast and fierce, storm- fed by the weeks of rain and the current typhoon. But through the rush of crystal- clear water, his lantern’s glow revealed a final glyph, carved into the bottom of the river channel.

He could almost make it out.

Indy sidled farther into the statue, half hanging into the pit, his arm outstretched. The glyph came into better focus. Indy recog­nized it. He had seen the same carving on the lintel above one of the temples outside. It was a figure of a man, upside down as if falling, symbolizing mankind’s birth into this world.

Or maybe it was more literal: a warning to be careful.

Too late. The lip of stone broke away under Indy, and he went tumbling down into the pit. His heart jammed into his throat, choking back a yell of surprise and fear. His hands scrabbled against the walls, his legs splayed, trying to stop his plunge. But the walls were too smooth.

“Indy!” he heard Mac scream behind him.

The lantern hit the water first and was doused. Then he struck. The icy chill cut to the bone, tried to squeeze the air from his chest. He forced himself to hold his breath as the hard current grabbed him and shot him down the river tunnel. He rolled and turned in complete blackness. He fought to keep his legs out in front of him as he was swept along.

That’s what I get for playing with snakes.

The small army crept through the dark, storm- swept jungle. Winds battered palm fronds and whipped branches from trees. Rain pelted like hail, stinging any exposed skin–then the next moment, the downpour fell in heavy sheets that threatened to drown a man with a single breath. It was a torturous slog, but the lights of the camp glowed through the forest, beckoning them onward.

Dressed in goggles, helmets, camouflage, the assault team moved like clay soldiers, half melted by the storm.

Nothing must stop them.

The leader of the team had his orders.

Secure the key.

Kill everyone else.

Flushed through total darkness, Indy held his breath.

Lights began to dance across his vision. At first he thought it was due to the lack of oxygen. His lungs screamed for air. Why keep fighting? Then he realized that the light was real. It glowed ahead, something brighter than the pitch darkness of the storm- swollen channel.

Since falling down the pit, Indy had held on to one slim hope.

The coast.

The jungle- shrouded ruins lay only five hundred yards from a re­mote section of the Yucatán shoreline, set high atop steep cliffs. There was a good chance that the underground river emptied into the sea somewhere along the coast.

He forced himself to keep holding his breath, banking on this one hope.

Suddenly the darkness fell away into a murky storm- light. The tunnel widened into a small cavern. The top was high enough for Indy to get his nose above the water. He gulped air into his starved lungs. He also caught a brief glimpse of an opening ahead, the end of the river. Stormy skies filled the view, framed by jungle vines.The water poured out of the rock in a heavy falls. He heard its roar over the rumble of thunder and pound of heavy surf.

He was still high up.

There was no fighting the current. Like a cork in a champagne bottle, Indy blasted out of the exit, shooting from the face of a sheer cliff. He caught a brief glimpse of sharp rocks and churning white water below.

Swinging in midair, Indy twisted and lashed out with his bull­whip. The lantern had long been shattered away, but he had kept a death grip on the whip’s leather handle. With a skill that was born as much of panic as practice, Indy snapped out for a tangle of stubborn tree roots protruding from the cliff face, exposed from years of erosion by rain and wind.

With a satisfying kuh- rack, the whip lashed onto the roots. Indy clutched the handle with both hands and swung back toward the cliff. He got his legs up in time to bear the brunt of the impact. Still,
he smashed hard, bruising his entire left side.

He hung there, gasping.

Wind and rain thrashed at him. Thunder boomed, felt down to his aching bones. He had no choice but to keep moving. Indy fought his way up, climbing and hauling. The storm pounded his back and sought to rip him from his perch. Black skies churned overhead. The cliff was deeply pocked, offering decent footholds. Still, it took him a quarter hour to reach the summit and beach himself atop the cliff.

He lay facedown, hugging the earth.

He pictured his course on the river underneath him: first swal­lowed down the serpent’s maw, then swirled through its snaking belly, and finally shot out its end. The waterway formed the com­plete shape of a serpent.

Indy shuddered as he remembered Mac’s words. Looks like you’re being swallowed by a snake. Well, perhaps he had been. He glanced behind him, picturing his dramatic exit out the back end of the snake. Mac would not let him live this one down. He suspected his British friend would use a word more colorful than shot to describe Indy’s explosive exit from the snake’s rear end.

Still, he was out.

Indy groaned and pushed to his hands and knees.

He’d definitely had his fill of snakes for one day–slimy ones or stone ones.

With every fiber of muscle on fire, Indy gained his legs and headed away from the cliff. His back ached, and his legs wobbled. He had taken a couple good knocks to the head, too. He’d be feel­ing that ride for a few days.

As the storm worsened, he slowly made his way across the ruins. Step pyramids and stone homes spread out in a complicated pat­tern. His camp lay on the far side of the temple complex, buried into the edge of the dense jungle. With the wind wailing at his back, Indy hiked toward the flickering lights.

Thunder pounded, and massive raindrops hit the ground and exploded like mortar shells. He skirted the edge of the ruins and headed straight for camp. Mac would be sick with worry.

At least, his friend would be thrilled to see him.

Bone- tired, deafened by the storm, Indy had entered the camp before he realized anything was wrong. He almost stepped on the first body, sprawled facedown in the mud and half buried in it. He fell back with a gasp.

The sharp crack of a rifle blast cut through the thunder.

It came from the center of the small camp.

Followed by a chatter of automatic fire.

Had to be grave robbers or a local guerrilla group.

Indy cursed and retreated to the jungle’s edge. He had no weapon, except for his whip. If he circled, ambushed a straggler, maybe he could steal a pistol or rifle–

As he turned, darker shadows slipped from the rainy forest. Sol­diers, muddy, wearing goggles, pushed into view. Weapons leveled at his chest. A figure was shoved out into the open. The man fell to his knees, bloodied, clothes torn.

It was Mac.

He was followed by a giant of a man wearing a helmet and gog­gles and layered with mud. He bore no insignia, but he was clearly in charge.

Still on his knees, Mac gaped up in shock. “Indy! How . . . ? I saw you swallowed by a bloody snake!”

“Apparently I gave it indigestion.”

Indy crossed to Mac and helped him to his feet.

Mac sighed as the soldiers closed in all around them. “I think you were better off with the snake.”

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 16, 2009

    Fun read

    I must be the only one who hasn't seen this Indiana Jones movie but I'm such a fan of James Rollins so I thought I'd read the book. I enjoyed it as I do most James Rollins books. It's great to escape in the pages of a Rollins book and this was another adventure except I knew the main characters ahead of time. I intend to keep this in my library of James Rollins books even if it is based on a screenplay ... I like his verbal imagery better than the iamge the movie provides.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2008

    See the Movie

    Usually I avoid novelizations, but this was hardcover and it was James Rollins, so (silly me) I bought it. Rollins clearly lost no sleep over this manuscript he may have even written it overnight (or handed it to an intern who wrote it for him). He adds only three things to the book that aren't in the movie: 1) a two page backstory chapter that adds nothing to the plot that you couldn't figure out, 2) a lot of narrative point of view switching (which means superfluous interior dialogue), and 3) explanations to the punch lines in case you didn't get the joke when you saw the movie. And just in case you thought the book's ending might be as spectacular as the movie, you'd be wrong.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2008

    A reviewer

    I am an Indiana Jones fan. The movie tie-in of this book is great- I can hear Harrison Ford's voice! I think it's a necessity to read before seeing the movie. Looking forward to that next.

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