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Serpent's Kiss: Rogue Angel    by Alex Archer order for
Serpent's Kiss
by Alex Archer
Order:  USA  Can
Gold Eagle, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Annja Creed is toiling at a dig on the steamy coast of Southern India in what she and her counterpart, Professor Lochata Rai, believe could be a sacrificial burial site. But when an unexpected tsunami strikes, the landscape is ravaged. Not all is lost however, as Annja and her team discover various objects washed ashore by the force of the monstrous waves. The gold and other items carry markings with which Annja is unfamiliar - they are eventually attributed to a lost culture that legends says was long ago swallowed up by angry sea gods. Convinced that the artefacts are part of a larger cache off a sunken ship, Annja is determined to get funding to prove her theory and possibly uncover the find of a lifetime.

But others are aware of what Annja has in her possession - in particular a brutal modern day pirate whose family has for generations plied a bloody trade against the unwary sailing the Indian Ocean. The pirate's bloodline has links to the lost civilization and naturally, he wants his fair share of the riches. He and his minions kidnap Annja and force her to use her archaeological expertise to lead them to the lost city. But as they trek deeper into the forbidding mountains, she and her captors stumble across an even more shocking discovery.

Archer's latest rip-roaring adventure focuses more on Annja's archaeological expertise than on her ongoing quest to understand why she's the protector of Joan of Arc's mystical sword - and all that goes with it - including the often-interfering immortals, Rue and Garin Braden. Though both enigmatic men have minor roles in this adventure, these moments never overshadow Annja's quest and the challenges she faces as she digs for the truth. Serpent's Kiss is another stellar, action-packed page-turner and Annja remains a strong, clever and thoroughly engaging heroine, for whom readers can't help but cheer as she thinks or fights her way out of danger.

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