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    Review of ROGUE ANGEL: SOLOMON'S JAR by Alex Archer (see his Blog)

    GOLD EAGLE, September 2006

    It isn't often that an archeologist can discover important historical evidence within the United States and when Annja Creed is invited to help explore what might have been a stop along the underground railroad, she doesn't hesitate to grab the chance. But the evidence soon points to a different picture than an 'accident' for escaping slaves' deaths. Could they really have been a war party--murdered as they attempted to revolt? Within the body of one of the ex-slaves, Annja finds the mysterious Spider Stone, an artifact far more ancient than the underground railroad. In fact, the Spider Stone was brought from Africa by an early slave--and contains a priceless treasure map.

    Annja's archeological experience has made her skeptical of ancient treasure. True treasure, for an archeologist, is writings, evidence of society. But others are vitally interested in treasure--and will happily kill to get it. One of those treasure-hunters is a West African warlord whom the Department of Homeland Security would badly like to track down. Annja and agent Andrew McIntosh develop an uneasy relationship.

    As possessor of Joan of Arc's sword, Annja is more than an archeologist. Still. against the weapons and manpower that the African warlord can bring to bear, even within the United States, it will take all of her martial arts skills, and a great deal of luck for Annja even to stay alive--let alone discover a treasure. But Annja is not without resources and there are forces at work who would like the treasure discovered--whether for good purposes or evil.

    Author Alex Archer (see more reviews of novels by Archer) is in fine form in THE SPIDER STONE. Annja's martial arts skills, frustrations over her career as an archeologist, and current boyfriendless state all come through clearly, making this exceptional woman a profoundly sympathetic character. Although an African stone carved with the spider symbol of an African trickster god lacks the cultural references of say Solomon's Jar of Demons for most of us, Archer makes us care about the results, care about the battered continent of Africa, and certainly entertains us with a fast-paced thriller.

    THE SPIDER STONE is a strong addition to Archer's ROGUE ANGEL series. Although having read the earlier books in the series will increase the reader's enjoyment in seeing Annja continue to grow and to learn more about the forces at work in the world, this book stands alone--readers need not start at the beginning to enjoy this exciting story.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 10/18/06

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