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Forbidden City: Rogue Angel    by Alex Archer order for
Forbidden City
by Alex Archer
Order:  USA  Can
Gold Eagle, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

The fifth installment in this imaginative and kick-butt series sees archeologist and occasional TV celebrity, Annja Creed traveling to a California ghost town in search of a long deceased miner. Chinese businessman Huangfu Cao has enlisted her specialized help to locate the remains of his relative who'd supposedly been murdered while toiling in the gold fields. Annja and Cao eventually locate the mummified corpse as well as a mysterious and intriguing artifact that Annja believes dates back to the nomadic Scythian tribes. Once she confirms the find is the genuine article, her companion transforms from mild-mannered businessman to single-minded killer. Cao, however, underestimates Annja's various skills, especially with her recently acquired sword, and she escapes him and his squad of trained killers. Once back in her home turf of New York, she immediately sets out to learn everything she can about the strange artifact as well as why high powered Chinese businessmen are willing to kill for it.

Her search takes her to China where a team of archeologists have already unearthed what they believe is the fabled City of Thieves, an underground metropolis once controlled by a brutal overlord from the Han Dynasty. He and his armies stole fortunes in gold and jewels from traders who'd traveled the Silk Road, as well as orchestrating various political coups. Annja is certain the truth surrounding the Scythian artifact lies somewhere in the underground tunnels. But within hours of arriving, her team, as well as her mentor Roux (who's got his own shadowy agenda for returning to the lost city) are playing a dangerous cat-and-mouse game with yet another gang of murderous treasure hunters as determined as Annja to uncover the haunted city's vast cache of hidden treasure. They soon discover however that certain ancient secrets - and skeletons - are best left buried beneath the shifting desert sands.

Rogue Angel: Forbidden City is another fun and action-packed thrill ride that entertains to the last page. Annja remains the focus of the story: she's a smart, tough and determined young woman with her own set of rules and values, yet still working to come to terms with her more recent role as a modern day Joan of Arc. Immortals Roux and Garin Braden are also on hand and as combative as ever. Archer fills in a few enlightening tidbits about their past, but only enough to leave readers wanting more. Not to worry though: the sixth installment in the Rogue Angel series will be out soon.

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