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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr


Indiana Jones: Princess of Peril Indiana Jones
Princess of Peril
Written by Les Martin
Cover art by Daniel R. Horne

In 1913 Russia, Indy becomes friends with a princess in peril who is involved in the Georgian independence movement.


Read the "August 1913" 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 Russia, Summer 1913. 


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 Princess of Peril is book #5 in the series.


At the beginning of this novel, it is clear Indy has never been to Russia before. But, chronologically-speaking, he visited Russia in 1910 in the Young Indiana Chronicles episode "Swore and Peace".


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 novel


Indiana Jones

Henry Jones, Sr.

Fedor Kipiani

Herman Mueller (mentioned only)

Herman's mom (mentioned only)

railway conductor

Kaiser Wilhelm II (mentioned only)

Czar Nicholas II (mentioned only)

Russian secret police

Sam Magee (mentioned only)

Princess Tamar Rustavi (aka Tamara, alias Ivan)

Tamar's father (mentioned only)

Kipiani's butler

Tamar's mother (mentioned only)

Kipiani's chauffeur


Petor Sourian

Petor Sourian's brother (mentioned only)

Omar Feraki (dies in this novel)

Feraki's men




Didja Notice?


As the novel opens, Indy is riding on the Nord Express, a luxury train running from Paris, France to St. Petersburg, Russia. This was an actual train running this route from 1896-1918. As stated here, St. Petersburg was the capital of Russia at the time. It lost that status to Moscow after the communist revolution of 1917.


Page 11 states that Indy was supposed to have stayed with his friend Herman's family instead of accompanying his father to Russia, but Herman came down with the measles.


On page 13, Henry, Sr. tells Indy that they will have to switch trains before the Nord Express enters Russia because Russian tracks are wider. This is true. Most of Europe uses standard gauge (4 ft. 8 1⁄2 in), while Russia uses broad gauge (5 ft.).


On the train, Indy is reading about the American Revolution and the tribulations of Valley Forge. The American Revolutionary War of 1775-1783 was the war of the Thirteen Colonies against Great Britain for independence as a nation, becoming the United States of America. Valley Forge, Pennsylvania was the location of the Continental Army's winter camp from December 1777 - June 1778 where many U.S. troops died from disease and malnutrition in the rough winter.


The Jones' train switch takes place in a Russian town called Verzhbolovo-Eydtkuhen. As far as I can tell, this is a fictitious town.


On page 15, Indy's father tells him the Cyrillic alphabet is used in Russia. This is true.


Page 15 mentions the German and Russian leaders Kaiser Wilhelm II and Czar Nicholas II. These were the two respective leaders of the two countries at the time.


Besides his American Revolution studies, Indy has also brought along the book Ten Bullets to Tombstone by Sam Magee, his favorite author of western stories. Both the author and the book appear to be fictitious.


When Indy is quickly able to suss out what is going on with Ivan, the boy tells Indy he should be a detective. Indy responds it's because he wants to be an archaeologist, which involves a lot of historical detective work. But Indy also knows something about police detective work, having learned some from Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes books, in 1912 in The Titanic Adventure.


Ivan tells Indy about the "white nights" of St. Petersburg. "White nights" is a term applied to the time from mid-May to mid-July when it never gets dark, twilight lasting all night due to its northerly latitude.


The River Neva the Jones' taxi passes is an actual river running through St. Petersburg.


Ivan tells Indy that St. Petersburg was built by the czar Peter the Great. This is correct, the city was founded by Peter in 1703. The land on which it was built was formerly marsh, just as stated.


Peter the Great was nearly seven feet tall, just as stated. He stood 6'8".


    Indy and his father stay at the Hotel Astoria while in St. Petersburg.

    On page 40, Indy states the hotel is within easy walking distance of Nevsky Prospect (Nevsky Avenue). This is true.


On page 34, Indy and Ivan walk past the Winter Palace of the czar and Ivan tells Indy about a massacre of civilians who were protesting for reforms in 1905. This was the Bloody Sunday massacre. The Winter Palace is now the Hermitage Museum.


Ivan tells Indy that the Peter-and-Paul Fortress is where the secret police do their torture. At the time of this story, the Peter-and-Paul Fortress was a prison for those who had committed political crimes and was popularly known as a place of torture, though the conditions there were not as bad as reported. The site is now part of the State Museum of Saint Petersburg History.


On page 35, Indy and Ivan walk along Nevsky Prospect. This is the main street of St. Petersburg.


When Indy is chased by the secret police on a side street from Nevsky Prospect, he eventually hits a dead end at a canal on page 39 and he dives into the water and emerges by a bridge back on Nevsky Prospect. I'm not sure what side streets he was on, but the canal he dives into was probably the Griboyedov Canal.


On page 40, Indy's dad is mistakenly referred to as Ivan's dad.


On page 41, Kipiani wears a suit made in London.


Princess Tamar tells Indy she was named for Tamar the warrior queen who ruled Georgia 700 years ago. This is Tamar of Georgia (1160-1213). Queen Tamar was a member of the Bagrationi dynasty that ruled Georgia from the 11th Century to the beginning of the 19th Century when the family lost formal power when the country was annexed by the Russian Empire. Presumably, the Princess Tamar of our story is a member of the Bagrationi royal family, even though she uses the last name Rustavi here and there is no record of a Tamar in the family in the 20th Century.


On page 51, Indy's train pulls into Tiflis, the capital of Georgia. Tiflis was the capitol of Georgia at the time and still, though the name was changed to Tbilisi in 1936.


Page 55 states that Indy was to stay in Georgia with his father for a month or so. At the end of the novel it's not revealed whether he really stayed that long.


On page 56, the latest U.S. history book Indy is reading is about President Millard Fillmore. Fillmore (1800-1874) was the 13th president of the United States, serving in the office from 1850-1853 when he, as vice-president, acceded to the office when President Zachary Taylor died.


Also on page 56, Kipiani's car carrying himself and the Jones boys drives through the Caucasus Mountains on the Georgian military highway. The Caucasus Mountains is a range that runs along what is considered the border range of Asia and Europe. It runs through several countries, including Georgia. The Georgian Military Highway is one of the major routes through the Caucasus from Georgia to Russia. The route (going by various names) has been used going back into antiquity.


On page 58, Kipiani tells Indy that Georgia has its own church, the Georgian Orthodox Church, separate from the Russian Orthodox Church. The Georgian Church uses the Georgian Cross, or grapevine cross, as one of its symbols, as explained by Kipiani on page 61.


Indy's father leaves him in the care of Kipiani's household in Tiflis while he goes to follow-up a lead on the Crusaders' history in Yerevan, Armenia. Yerevan is the capital of Armenia and one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the entire world.


On page 64, Indy walks through Tiflis, passing many houses "painted pale blue and pink and green, with elaborate carvings on their balconies and doorways." The city is, in fact, known for its numerous ornate and brightly-colored houses.


Page 78 states that Indy is an Eagle Scout. This is the highest attainable rank in Boy Scouts. In "The Cross of Coronado", Indy was at the second-highest rank attainable, Star Scout.


After being captured, Indy and Tamar are taken to the city of Baku on the Caspian Sea, in what is now the country of Azerbaijan. As Tamar states on page 84, the city is known for its oil drilling.


On page 93, Feraki says that Ahriman was worshipped long before Muhammad was born. Tamar's explanation of Ahriman and the Zoroastrian religion is largely correct, if exaggerated. Muhammad (570-632 CE) was the founder of the Islamic religion.


The Zoroastrian religion has fire temples roughly as described by Feraki on page 101.


On page 109, Indy reveals that he learned to a drive a car "last winter".


On page 117, Tamar tells the scientifically skeptical Indy, "There are things that science can't explain. I think you will find that out when you become an archaeologist and explore the unknown." Indy responds, "Maybe so. I guess the future will tell." Yet, Indy has already seen, and seemingly accepted, other supernatural events, like ghosts and the power of a local god in his previous adventures.


The historical notes at the end of the book point out that Indy and Princess Tamar met again many years later "...but that is another story." This is very similar to the closing bookend of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles episode "The Perils of Cupid", where Old Indy is asked if ever saw Princess Sophie (of Austria) again and he says, "Of course I did! But that's another story." In both cases, thus far, those reunion stories have not been told. Since this book was published a couple of years before the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles came to the airwaves, it's possible it was an inspiration for the script of that episode.


Young Indiana Jones and the Princess of Peril comic strip Notes from the comic strip adaptation of the novel

The Young Telegraph (March 9, 1991 - May 11, 1991)
Welsh Publishing Group
Writer: Simon Jowett
Penciler: Phil Gascoine



Additional characters appearing in the comic, not in the novel


Jeb (character in Ten Bullets to Tombstone)

Black Bart (character in Ten Bullets to Tombstone)


Didja Notice?


The entire story of the comic strip takes place in the vicinity of St. Petersburg, never going to Georgia as occurs in the novel.


In the first installment of the strip, Indy reads a scene from his western book (Ten Bullets to Tombstone). This scene (with some slight changes) is the same one he later recalls near the end of the novel.


In the comic strip, Indy doesn't meet Ivan until the Russian boy is chased by the secret police and bursts into Indy's compartment on the train. In the novel, the boy was already hiding in a bunk when Indy first uses it the compartment.


In the fourth installment of the strip, Kipiani says that Tamar is his niece, not just a ward. It's not clear if that's true or just part of the cover story he uses. If true, that would tend to imply that he is of royal blood as well, though possibly not a Rustavi (or Hapsburg).


In panel 4 of the fourth installment of the strip, Tamar's word balloon looks more like it's coming from Indy due to the positioning of balloon and characters.


Tamar has brown hair here, but it seems to be black on the cover of the novel.


Indy is dressed pretty close here to how he will look as an adult adventurer.


In the comic strip, Kipiani turns out to be a traitor to the princess and the Georgian cause, unlike in the novel.


For some reason, Omar Feraki has a blue tint to his skin here in the comic strip.


In the comic strip, Zoroastrianism and the gods Ahriman and Ormazd are not mentioned. Feraki's religion is described only as a worship of ancient, dark gods of his people, and a sacrifice of Tamar and Indy in the ancient shrine of the principle of light is supposed to bring all the powers of darkness to Feraki's bidding.


In the eighth installment of the strip, the attempted sacrifice of Tamar and Indy to the god of darkness is presented in a manner similar to the moment of opening of the Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark, with Indy telling the princess not to look at the flames and the villain's life being taken instead.


In the strip, the two Russians Tamar and Indy and been eluding throughout the adventure turn out to be members of the Georgian independence movement who have been trying to warn Tamar of the threat to her life! In the novel, they are bad guys working for Feraki.


At the end of the strip's version of the story, Indy's father says the old manuscripts Kipiani invited him to Russia to look at turned out to be without value. In the novel, he found much more in them to interest him.


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