Monday, August 8, 2011

Book Review: Solomon's Jar - Rogue Angel #2 by Alex Archer

I read this second installment of Gold Eagle's Rogue Angel series literally as soon as I finished the first (go Kindle!).  Written by Victor Milan (who wrote the post-apocalyptic series The Guardians as well as a bunch of FASA's Battletech media tie-in novels and a number of other works), Solomon's Jar has a somewhat different, grittier feel than Destiny

For one thing, the body count is substantially higher for Annja Creed.  In the opening couple of chapters - which don't really connect to the overall plot of the book - our heroine kicks some major butt and winds up killing quite a few bad guys with her sword, rather than just using it to knock aside guns so she can punch and kick people a la Xena: Warrior Princess.  While there are times in this novel where she will use her magical blade in a non-lethal manner, Milan definitely upped her kill quotient this time around.  This isn't to say Annja has abandoned guns, either; she still gets in a few gun kills, continuing to show that her character can shoot, punch, kick, stab, and slash with the best of them.

In addition, unlike the first novel, which took place largely in one geographical area, Solomon's Jar jet-sets us around to a number of different exotic locales.  I think this is going to be one of the series' biggest strengths, taking the reader around the world where we can dip our toes into a lot of different cultures, the same way the James Bond books and the classic Gold Eagle books would spotlight one country after another during our hero's adventures.

Another thing I liked about this book is that we can see how Annja uses her semi-celebrity status, and how it can sometimes backfire against her.  I enjoy how her character is being portrayed living this double life of television starlet / wandering hero, and how it seems to pull in a large rogues gallery of secondary characters.  And while Garin doesn't make an appearance in this book, Roux does have a cameo; as I have read the third book, I can say that it appears one or the other character seems to pop in every novel, either to drop off a tidbit of information or to lend a helping hand.

According to the Wikipedia entry for the Rogue Angel series, Odom and Milan trade off for the first eight books, at which time a number of other authors step in.  It's going to be cool to see how each author takes a crack at the series in true Gold Eagle fashion.  The more I read of the Rogue Angel series, the more highly I recommend it as a solid action / adventure line, definitely something new and different compared to yet another "elite cadre of anti-terror specialists".

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