Book Review: Alex Archer’s Matador’s Crown

Posted January 15, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Alex Archer’s Matador’s Crown

Matador's Crown


Alex Archer

action & adventure, magical realism that was published by Gold Eagle Books on September 4, 2012 and has 315 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.
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Other books by this author which I have reviewed include The Soul Stealer, Gabriel's Horn, The Golden Elephant, Swordsman's Legacy, Polar Quest, Eternal Journey, Sacrifice, Seeker's Curse, Footprints, Paradox, The Spirit Banner, Sacred Ground, The Bone Conjurer, Phantom Prospect, Restless Soul, False Horizon, The Other Crowd, Tear of the Gods, The Oracle's Message, Cradle of Solitude, Labyrinth, Fury's Goddess, Magic Lantern, Library of Gold, City of Swords, The Third Caliph, The Babel Codex, Sunken Pyramid, Staff of Judea

Thirty-eighth in the Rogue Angel urban fantasy about an archeologist/TV show host who wields the sword of Joan of Arc in a search for justice.

My Take

Doing a riff on the cover’s tagline, Archer “will write anything to crank out another Rogue Angel”. I wonder if he was on drugs when he wrote this? It’s terrible. He leaps from accusation to possibility with everyone. It’s so incredibly disjointed…that I have no words.

This story doesn’t even manage to achieve a C-level. I’d rather watch commercials. Annja is being stupid. Garin is all over the place. Soto is playing both sides and seems to be equally earnest. The seeming reason he allows the murderer such leeway is beyond me. Harlow doth protest too much. What was with Ava? I don’t see the point of bringing Drake in. What was the point of going to that warehouse? Why would the “thieves’ ignore them and then chase them later?

In the confrontation at the dig when Annja and Garin find the dead body, why doesn’t Crockett at least ask Annja what’s up? Why doesn’t she ask/he tell what he saw? Instead he simply makes a blanket statement and Annja never asks for details.

There are so many loose ends and flapping bits. And obviously no one has any clue about the feminine/masculine agreements in Spanish. Gato Negra?? Ava calls Annja a loco americano?? Oh, brother. I also suspect that he meant to say “clink” and not “brink”.

The best I can say of this story is we do learn about bullfighting and the best bulls for the ring. Interesting detail of the origin of the veronica. Well, there’s also the description of mixing up dance styles at the end which sounded fascinating. It may be enough to make this worth reading, but definitely not worth buying.

The Story

An article Annja is writing on coins and mythological heroes has garnered her an invitation to view a new collection of coins in Cádiz with a side benefit of a small dig outside town.

It’s Annja’s exhaustion and frustration with hostel living that finds her in a hotel room next to a murdered man. Naturally, being who she is, Annja can’t resist checking things out. Only she’s not very thorough about it.

The Characters

Annja Creed is an archeologist first and a TV show host for Chasing History’s Monsters second. In fact, the television side only has a mention now and again in this story.

Garin Braden was Roux‘s squire back when Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Now he’s an immortal bad boy billionaire with an interest in Annja, and he happens to be in Cádiz. Manuel Bravo, El Bravo, is “this generation’s greatest bullfighter from Cádiz” and a friend of Garin’s. Cristo is El Bravo’s personal assistant; he raises bulls on the side.

James Harlow is the head of acquisitions at the Museum of Cádiz. Jonathan Crockett seems to be a professional in the field, but without any current affiliations. Simon Klosky is a newbie on the dig. Rockford LePlante is an über Indiana Jones. Hannibal Drake is a black market dealer; naturally, he’s a friend of Garin’s.

Chief Inspector César Soto is with the Cádiz PNP; Maria Alonzo is a junior cop.

Diego Montera is a guitarist from a family of toreros, bullfighters. Ava Vital is a flamenco dancer/sniper/spy; both she and Diego work at the Gato Negra (hey, I’m just typin’ what’s there).

The Cover and Title

The cover is the series theme’s yellows and browns with Annja in a yellow T-shirt and incredibly wrinkled chocolate brown pants, standing sideways and holding her sword in both hands in front of her, the tip pointing down. The edges are a fade-in to the central, very Roman-looking corrida.

The title is the clue, The Matador’s Crown.