Book Review: Alex Archer’s Staff of Judea

Posted November 27, 2014 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 Staff of Judea

Staff of Judea


Alex Archer

action & adventure, urban fantasy that was published by Gold Eagle Books on March 1st 2013 and has 320 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

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, City of Swords, The Third Caliph, The Babel Codex, Sunken Pyramid

Forty-first in the Rogue Angel urban fantasy series and revolving around archeologist, Annja Creed.

My Take

It’s another Saturday-afternoon-at-the-B-movies with less of the drama than usual. Which is a weird thing for me to say since there is plenty of the usual tensions and dramas in Staff of Judea. It’s possible that my lassitude is due to Annja’s naiveté. After forty-some adventures, you’d think she’d by skeptical by now of gift horses. That she’d at least set up some backup measures.

That said, it is fun to watch Annja in action, and it starts immediately with her bluffing out the lawyers, rescuing people during the haboob, foiling kidnappers, and more.

When hunting for buried treasure, it sure pays to know your history and the culture.

Some niggles:
It’s one thing to be presented with the attackers as the story goes on, and it’s another thing completely when we learn the truth behind them. I mean, hullo? If they’re who they’re purported to be, I’d expect a more professional, stronger approach. It’s poor writing. Admittedly, this is a B- (and sometimes C-) quality of writing, but I still expect some believability *eye roll.* For that matter, what is with Roux to take this elaborate approach? Why not just sneak a note to her?

It’s sensationalistic, and I’d recommend getting this one from the library if you must read it.

The Story

Mitchell Connolly is after a great prize, and he wants the best to lead his expedition. And that best is Annja Creed.

It’ll be a challenge for Annja, pulling an expedition together in 72 hours.

The Characters

Annja Creed is an archeologist unaffiliated with any institution and funds her own digs and travels with her payments as a co-host for the television show, Chasing History’s Monsters, a show that explores ancient mysteries and legends. Doug Morrell is her sensationalistic producer and friend. To make life interesting, Annja has bonded with the re-forged sword of Joan of Arc.

Professor Ephraim Yellin is with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archeology. The rest of the dig team includes Benjamin Natchyu doing PhD work on the Second Temple Period of Jewish history; Mike Collins and Tony Green were from the University of Alabama doing masters-level work on Paleolithic settlements and their impact on the rise of agriculture; Susan Hollister is in Jerusalem specifically to study with Professor Yellin; and, Rachel Golan isn’t sure yet if she wants to be an archeologist.

Roux was a knight charged with guarding Joan of Arc in 1431. He failed. When she burned and her sword was broken, a metaphysical change came over Roux, and he became immortal. He is still seeking the reason for it, his purpose. Henshaw is his majordomo / butler / bodyguard…and helicopter pilot.

Mitchell Connolly is a billionaire obsessed with artifacts from the period of Roman occupation of Israel. Martin Grimes is Connolly’s ruthless senior exec and right-hand man. The security team consists of Hamilton, Gardner, Chan, Mendez, Beck, Douglas, Daniels, and Johnson. Cummings, Mortimer, and Finch are lawyers acting for Connolly.

In 68 CE…
The rabbi and his people at the monastery at Qumran are frantically hiding scrolls and treasures. Legio X Fretensis commands the Tenth Legion; his commander is Larcius Lepidus. Jonathan is a young man entrusted with one of the two crucial scrolls, the Bronze scroll.

Fortress Mal’akh is a secret stronghold built by King Herod.

The Gibborim are a group of warriors ordered to keep the treasure safe until it can be restored to its rightful place. Jephthah is their leader.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are the library the rabbi and his acolytes hid in the caves. The Copper Scroll is one of them and is a treasure map. One-half of it at least. The shofar is a sheep’s horn and used to summon warriors to battle. A haboob is a sandstorm.

The Cover and Title

The cover is the consistent yellows and browns. It’s Annja in her dark brown jeans and a cream, low-cut top wielding her broadsword at the mouth of a cave high up off the desert floor. Really high up.

The title is the focus of this expedition, Aaron’s staff, the Staff of Judea.