Tuesday, July 27, 2010

BOOKS: Destiny by Alex Archer

There are close to 30 Rogue Angel books out there right now and the series got off to a very good start with Destiny. It, like all the others, is credited to the house pseudonym of Alex Archer, although this volume was apparently written by Victor Milan.

It's not the most original novel ever written. And the speed with which the books comes out, suggests an almost assembly-line approach to their creation. But, it does do riffs on classics and it's a pleasant, quick read. It actually showed more promise than has played out later in the series, with few of the first-book supporting characters really carrying on. So, I don't recommend the WHOLE series. But the first book? Absolutely.

The series star is archaeologist Annja Creed. Think of a female Indiana Jones with the attitude of Tomb Raider uber-female Lara Croft. She's part of a TV show that goes around "Chasing History's Monsters." She's the legit side of the research team. There's better-known eye candy that does most of the on-air stuff. She does the dirt and dirty work. And, as befitting her series' title, she's a bit of a loner. Beautiful, smart, athletic ... and a loner. Sure. I should be tagging this series as Science Fiction.

At any rate, we get a setup not too different than you would expect from Clive Cussler. The prologue takes us to Rouen in France about six hundred years ago, give or take a decade or two. The prize that will change Creed's life comes to the montain it will call home for six centuries. And then we start the story.

Creed follows a lead to a story of a creature called La Bête, said to live in the Cevannes Mountains. Think werewolf. Needless to say, there is a scientific and historical explanation to the legend. But there is something mystical too. And Creed fights off Corvin LeSauvage and his gang of bad guys and natural disasters to expose the truth, taking advantage of a found blade than she can will into existence when the time is proper. Any allusions to Jean D'Arc are purely intentional.

I thought Archer/Milan came up with an interesting character and equally interesting supporting characters and was REALLY disappointed when they didn't follow Creed into the second book. As a book that stands by itself, it's a recommended read.

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