Thirty-third in the Rogue Angel urban fantasy series about a sword-wielding archeologist who rights the wrongs. This installment starts in Paris and includes Garin Braden.
It’s the usual for Annja Creed—violence and mayhem, but with an extra dose of brutality and viciousness from the major bad guy. We do discover how Braden has been keeping such excellent track of Annja—it’s both a blessing and a curse.
There’s always a bit of tension with Garin as you never know if he’ll try to kill Annja or help her. In the meantime, there are cryptic clues to solve and a bad guy to elude.
This particular installment was rather irritating in its ending. Too unfinished. I’m hoping there might be some clues as to whether or not anything was found in the next story in the series, Labyrinth.
A Confederate captain’s skeleton is found in a Parisian catacomb and Annja teams up with the good and the sometimes-good to discover the mystery behind his death. It doesn’t take long before another interested party blasts their way into the case and Annja is on the run. Nor is it just her life that is threatened!
The FotS is after Annja and the professor and they are a long-time foe of Garin’s. Blaine Michaels leads them and he’s a vicious bastard. He kills without thought, but Annja thwarts him, naturally.
Annja Creed is both an archeologist and a television show host (Chasing History’s Monsters) who just happened to bring together the shards of Joan of Arc’s sword. It seems Annja may well be an ancestor of Joan’s and the sword believes it belongs to her. It certainly does influence Annja in terms of going after the bad guys, providing Annja with more strength, and definitely with faster healing. Doug Morrell is Annja’s producer on the TV show and more interested in sensationalism than fact. Professor Bernard Reinhardt is an old friend of Annja’s and works at the Museum of Natural History in Paris.
Garin Braden was a squire to the knight in charge of protecting Jeanne d’Arc. When Joan was burned at the stake and her sword broken, a metaphysical event prevented Garin and Roux from dying. Essentially, they are both immortal. Both have put the ensuing centuries to good use building up their fortunes. Now, Garin takes an interest in Annja’s adventures, but Annja is never sure if he’ll help or hurt for Garin is much too intent upon gaining the sword for himself. Matthew Griggs is a senior operative with Dragontech Security who works for Garin.
Commissaire Laroche of the Police Nationale brings Annja onto the case with Billy Garrison’s recommendation. Abbot Deschanel is in charge of the Berceau de Solitude, a Benedictine monastery in the mountains in France. Where the first clue is located.
Captain William Parker was in charge of rescuing the Confederacy’s treasury when Sherman was about to enter Richmond during the Civil War. Catherine Daley is the real estate agent showing the Chennault plantation. Jimmy Mitchell rents out his boat for their diving expedition in the Savannah River.
Blaine Michaels is a vicious, brutal sociopath and the current head of the Friends of the South (FotS) and interested to an excessive degree in protecting its secrets.
The cover is a collage of the buildings and objects that Annja encounters. Annja is wearing her usual long pants, boots, and a tank top as she holds her sword upright in her right hand and plays a flashlight towards us in her left. Hey, it’s dark in the catacombs!
The Cradle of Solitude is a monastery up in the French mountains, but plays a very small part in the story.