Book Review: Alex Archer’s Tear of the Gods

Posted November 9, 2011 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 Tear of the Gods

Tear of the Gods


Alex Archer

magical realism in a paperback edition that was published by Gold Eagle Books on July 5, 2011 and has 320 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, The Oracle's Message, Cradle of Solitude, Labyrinth, Fury's Goddess, Magic Lantern, Library of Gold, Matador's Crown, City of Swords, The Third Caliph, The Babel Codex, Sunken Pyramid, Staff of Judea

Thirty-first in the Rogue Angel urban fantasy series revolving around a woman archeologist who inherited the broadsword of Joan of Arc, possibly a reincarnation of the saint herself.

My Take

It’s corruption, greed, and fanaticism that make this story go round. The aim of archeology is to discover the past, learn its stories, appreciate the beauty of what our ancestors created. Instead, that beauty is corrupted by the Committee and its greed for hiding history behind closed doors for private pleasure, to fulfill a need to hoard, to have what no one else has, to have it simply to sell it for the money. No matter who it may destroy. Then there’s the fanatic who kills for it simply to further their own cause.

I do enjoy the combination of history, action, and taking down the bad guys. Annja is the epitome of it all with her love of the past, her fighting skills, and her own sense of justice. Reinforced by Joan of Arc’s broadsword, Annja has some formidable gifts we’re only too glad she uses on the side of good. Now, if only her presence didn’t kill so many off. I was really hoping to see more of Sebastian Cartier.

My quibbles include: How did the people Annja freed at the camp get recaptured? Did she ever give the reporter his exclusive? If the torc was radioactive, why did Archer ignore that particular danger? Just how did Garin get his hands on it? Please, tell me something happened to Dr. de Chance. There’s just too many holes for this story to get a “5”.

The Story

One severed head popping up out of a bog was a curiosity to be explored. A second required a small dig. The third and fourth provided yet more credence and when Dr. Craig Stevens invited Annja to come over to the dig at Arkholme in the West Midlands in England and lend a hand in exploring this head-filled bog, she was delighted to accept. Even better, Doug Morrell saw an opportunity for Chasing History’s Monsters and is providing funding for it.

Everything changed, however, when the Tear of Gods was found. A black torc supposed to imbue its wearer with invincibility. Worn by Queen Boudica in her war against the Romans but given to one of her most trusted advisors on the eve of her last battle.

A spy on the site sent word that the torc had passed its test. That pass sealed all their fates and David Shaw sent Death to retrieve the torc. Only, Death wasn’t counting on Annja Creed. Left for dead, she rose again, the torc hidden on her person and so the chase begins. Each time Annja reaches a safe point, they find her. The priest who picks her up on the road. The hotel room that gives her breathing room. The testing laboratory.

The Characters

Annja Creed is a well-regarded archeologist who also happens to co-host a cheesy television show entitled Chasing History’s Monsters. Annja brings science to the Photoshopped effects Doug sticks in the show. The broadsword she wields reinforces Annja’s own natural inclination to justice including greater strength and a faster healing ability. Doug Morrell is the producer for the TV show and is so incredibly singleminded about how to capture viewers, it’s just plain scary!

Roux was old in the time of Joan of Arc. He was her knight, her protector, and he failed her. Henshaw is Roux’s majordomo and a former SAS officer. Garin Braden was his squire at the time. Between them, when Joan was burned at the stake, somehow, both their lives became immortal. When Annja touched the shards of the sword, it re-forged itself. Now Roux and Garin are working together to ensure Annja’s safety.

Detective Inspector Ian Beresford is with the Counter Terrorism Command “handling high-profile cases and working multijurisdictional task forces”. Due to the nature of the murder scene at Arkholme, he has been placed in charge of the case. Sebastian Cartier is the gorgeous geologist to whom Dr. de Chance, an expert in the subject, sends Annja to have the torc analyzed.

David Shaw is the head of the Red Hand Defenders, an Irish terrorist cell, intent on freeing Ireland from the British yoke. With the Tear of Gods, Shaw intends to go much further than merely the British Isles. Trevor Jackson is Shaw’s merciless commander; he’s a bit stupid, too. Together, they are losing their men right and left…go, Annja!

The Cover and Title

The cover has Annja clad in a black leather jacket and black jeans wearing knee-high black boots, her body in profile with her face turned to us with her broadsword poised over one shoulder ready to strike. The background has a Union Jack across the top half with the middle a collage of that Roman vs. Celt battle with a city skyline tucked in at the right and a wrought iron fence in the bottom third.

The title is the torc itself named for the Tear of the Gods with which it is made.