After finishing off James S A Corey’s brilliant space opera Leviathan Wakes I wanted to read something a bit more lightweight and non-filling. So I grabbed a copy of the first pulpy action series Rogue Angel – Destiny by Alex Archer. Alex Archer is a pen name used by Harlequin (yes those romance book folks!) for the series. The series was conceived of by Harlequin executive Randall Toy who was in love with Joan of Arc. So yes you can be the protagonist of the series Annja Creed will be a descendant of Joan. It’s worth nothing that fantasy author Mel Odom was brought in to develop the series with action-adventure editors Feroze Mohammed and Nicole Brebner from the Gold Eagle imprint of Harlequin. Mel Odom also co-wrote the first 8 books with Victor Milan. Uber-great self published author Jon Merz and thriller author Joseph Nassise joined the series at book 9.
Annja Creed is a archaeologist who works for a tabloid TV show and she ends up wrapped up in a werewolf type mystery in France which brings her into contact with some nefarious characters and the Joan of Arc legend though she doesn’t know it at the outset. This is a pretty good start to a pulpy modern Indian Jones series with some urban fantasy mixed in. It’s a guilty pleasure for me because as a writer I really shouldn’t be reading these lighter novels but digging in and analyzing more popular fantasy writers like GRRM or Joe Abercrombie. The plot is rather straightforward with some predictable and unpredictable twists and turns and the book more or less ends up where you think it will. It’s still an enjoyable ride and recommended to people wanting to pass the time until the NEXT BIG BOOK they are waiting for comes out.
I gotta say the cover isn’t that great, it gets the job done is about all. Some of the other covers for the series are better. The book also reminded me of the old Gold Eagle series I read as a teenager and twenty-something; Able Team, Soldiers of Barrabas and The Executioner.
I did analyze some facets of the book. The book is really lean and only contains scenes that move the story forward. The paragraphs are very short a few sentences at most. The dialogue is crisp and to the point as is the action. The plot has a lot of forward momentum with very few diversions or extraneous subplots. There is one obvious major subplot that is resolved and another that is left unresolved but it was setup that way from the introduction of the characters involved in it. I’ll be reading the second one after I finish my current read Simon Scarrow’s Under The Eagle which I am really enjoying.