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    Review of SERPENT'S KISS by Alex Archer (see his Blog)


    GOLD EAGLE, January 2008

    Archeologist Annja Creed is on a dig in India--about as far away as she can get from either her annoying boss at the Searching for History's Monsters television series or her twin nemeses--Garen and Roux. But sometimes history doesn't give up its secrets too easily. Just when Annja and her team discover what might be the final resting place of a number of human sacrifices, a tsunami strikes, burying the site and nearly killing Annja and the other archeologists. But the wave also churns up secrets from the sea and the small treasure Annja finds, including a ring showing a half-snake, half-human naga. The evidence, Annja believes, is clear. An ancient shipwreck is nearby.

    Although Annja is conducting serious archeology, there are others who see her finds as treasure waiting to be plucked, and the Indian Ocean is home to modern-day pirates. One of these pirates, though, takes a special interest when he hears about the Naga discovery. For countless generations, his wife's family passed down a legend of a fantastically rich secret city hidden in the interior of India. The naga ring, and especially the other finds that may be on Annja's old shipwreck, might be the clues he needs to claim that wealth. And nothing, certainly not a group of archeologists, will stop him from claiming what he believes is a part of his history--and his right.

    Staying alive gets increasingly tough as Annja is attacked by bandits, sharks, pirates, and finally a savage tribe of cannibals. All of that is fine when you're doing an episode of Searching for History's Monsters, but it's not fine at all when it comes to serious archeology. Fortunately, Annja has a secret of her own--Joan of Arc's mythical sword. But can even a sword protect her from anti-ship missiles and machine gun fire?

    Author Alex Archer (see more reviews of novels by Archer) continues his Rogue Angel series with a fast-paced adventure that nevertheless manages a serious look at modern archeology. At the same time, Archer pays homage to the long-standing subgenre of lost civilization stories--something that we don't see much of any more now that the world is supposedly fully explored and mapped by Google Earth. Fans of thrillers will definitely enjoy this fast-paced thriller.

    On a minor note, one editorial error seems to have crept into the novel. SERPENT'S KISS repeatedly refers to 5th Century B.C. Roman trade vessels trading with India. During the 5th Century B.C., Rome was an insignificant central-Italian city and the Persian Empire straddled any possible trade routes. I suspect a Gold Eagle editor may have 'corrected' Archer's original dates as Archer's research otherwise seems to have been excellent.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 1/17/08

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    What do you think? Too generous? Too stingy? Or did I miss the entire point? Send your comments to Give me the okay to use your name and I'll publish all the comments that fit (and don't use unprintable language).

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