Tuesday, March 13, 2007

'Rogue Angel - Forbidden City' by Alex Archer

ISBN: 037362123X
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 352pp
Publisher: Harlequin
Price: $6.50

There are lots of reasons I love the Rogue Angel series. There are great characters, lots of great action, and each time I pick up one of the books I learn something I didn’t know before. Not every book you pick up can educate you as well as entertain you.

In Forbidden City
Annja Creed, archeologist-adventurer and wielder of Joan of Arc’s sword, gets involved with a cursed Chinese belt plaque. Following a lead, Annja hikes into an old gold mining town in California with Huangfu Cao, a man who contacted her about finding the bones of his Chinese ancestor.

They uncover Huangfu’s ancestor. Just as Annja comes across the belt plaque, they are attacked by a group of marijuana-growers. Huangfu (who had seemed to be, if not an average man, was at least harmless) proves himself to be very dangerous. Out of nowhere Huangfu pulls out a gun and quickly kills the three men. Annja is forced to flee for her life with the belt plaque as Huangfu turns his guns on her.

Haungfu isn’t going to let her escape with the plaque. He does eventually steal it from her, but not before she kicks his butt several times and begins to discover why the plaque is so important. The inscription on the back turns out to be the key to a forgotten city in China where a vast treasure is buried.

Everyone is interested the city and what it contains: Professor Hu, an archeologist working the dig in search of the city; Ngai Kuan-Yin, a greedy Chinese business man obsessed with the treasure, who also has gagsters working for him including Huangfu Cao; Kelly Swan, a trained assassin hell bent on avenging the death of her father; and Garin Braden, Roux’s apprentice of sorts for the last several hundred years, as well as his enemy. Roux himself calls Annja and offers to pay her way to China in order to discover the lost city.

How the puzzle is solved and these very different people come to meet is what I enjoyed most about this story. We see a little bit more of Roux, getting a peak behind the front he puts up for Annja constantly.

This is a fun, fast read with a lot of great detail. Thoroughly researched, it creates a solid footing for the action and adventure that propels you forward. While this book could stand alone, you might miss a few details and I would recommend you start with the first book in the series, Destiny.

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