Book Review: Alex Archer’s City of Swords

Posted January 24, 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 City of Swords

City of Swords


Alex Archer

action & adventure, magical realism that was published by Gold Eagle Books on October 30, 2012 and has 317 pages.

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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, Matador's Crown, The Third Caliph, The Babel Codex, Sunken Pyramid, Staff of Judea

Thirty-ninth in the Rogue Angels urban fantasy series about a TV host/archeologist who just happens to wield Joan of Arc’s sword. Events take place in France with Roux’s help.

My Take

It’s better than the last one, Matador’s Crown. But not by a lot. Is Archer getting bored with this series? Annja is still behaving rather stupidly, believing that she’s unbeatable. And she doesn’t seem capable of learning since she keeps going back and pulling more stupid stunts. What’s with all the yelling in the catacombs? I mean, duh. None of this is the Annja I’ve come to enjoy. Lately, I’m feeling less and less excited about reading further.

It’s intriguing the way Archer leads us in about Archard. I’m wondering if he’s like Roux. Archer further enticed me along by dropping partial hints until I was hooked into wanting to know the why and what of their thieving.

“Bitzer”. I like it. Archer uses it to describe a particular type of dog: bits of this and bits of that.

Some knowledge had to have come to Lawton for him to set the Romanies on Annja in the first place; it’s too bad Archer doesn’t see fit to let us in on it.

What is it with bad guys? It’s okay for them to come after you, to kill you, but when you defend yourself, and, god forbid, kill one of them to save yourself. Then they get all pissy like you are the aggressor. I do worry about myself. Would I try to be like Annja and do my best to preserve the life of a bad guy? My reactions while reading do not reassure me!

The Story

A sought-for run-in with a gang in the streets of Paris followed by a nasty beating has aroused Annja’s curiosity. Who knows about her sword? How did they learn of it?

Annja’s own sense of justice combined with the sword’s determination will lead her to those who steal history and pervert it for their own ends.

The Characters

Annja Creed is passionate about archeology but is unaffiliated with an organization or university, so she pays for her travels and digs by co-hosting a somewhat exploitive television show. She is in France in this installment to tape a series of episodes for Chasing History’s Monsters. Certain events have left her with possession of the sword of Joan of Arc. Roux was one of Joan’s knights. The breaking of Joan’s sword has left him immortal, and only time will tell if its reforging will affect his life span.

Those associated with Chasing History’s Monsters
Doug Morrell is the producer of the TV show. Rembert is a freelance cameraman hired for the French trip.

Dr. Charles Lawton is a single-minded history professor with an obsession for Charlemagne and his knights. Dr. Archard Gichon is a professor of religious studies and under Lawton’s sway. Sarah hears voices and has also fallen under Lawton’s influence. I think she likes the excuse he provides. Ulrich managed an art gallery and lectures on art history. Jacques and Gaston are hired thugs. Luc and Gaetan are intended to become paladins; both were fencing contenders in the 2008 Olympics.

The Cover and Title

The cover is browns and yellow-greens with Annja in brown jeans, calf-high boots, and a tight-fitting brown T. She’s cocky on this cover: on one knee with the other bent at a right angle to the ground, head proud with her long brown hair blowing in the wind, and grasping the hilt of Joan’s sword, point to the ground. Take note of the “fence” behind her. Swords of all shapes, lengths, and styles against a background of stone blocks and an old carving.

The title takes its cue from Augustine’s City of God, but it will be built by a City of Swords.