Kathy Davie's Reviews > The Oracle's Message

The Oracle's Message by Alex Archer
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Nov 15, 2011

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bookshelves: archeology, fantasy, urban, suspense, action
Read in November, 2011

Thirty-second in the Rogue Angel urban fantasy series revolving around an archeologist who may be the incarnation of Joan of Arc—she already has Joan's sword.


My Take
This particular installment was not impressive as a whole. Sure, I loved the memories wrought of scuba diving but the whole exploration and interaction with the undersea people was just too cheesy. The primary positive note was Annja's subtle proof to Roux that it is well worth leaving alive those people who learn about the sword. *snicker* —That'll larn 'im.

I don't mean to rain on Annja's parade, but she's had enough encounters with bad guys that I would have thought she'd be a bit more circumspect about joining in with their plans.


The Story
Sneaking off for a week of relaxation as she dives a beautiful reef off the Philippine coast, Annja encounters a tiger shark and then a group of divers searching for sunken treasure who rescue Annja from the results of her shark fight. The leader, Joachim Spier, talks a good game and seems to have good intentions in finding this mythical Pearl of Palawan so when he invites Annja to join them in their search, she accepts.

Then Roux shows up in mysterious circumstances, cadging a spot on their search team. Then it's both the amazement of discovery, the fight for survival, followed by the tragedy of destruction. Not all of the dive team makes it out of the undersea cavity alive. But that night, Annja and Roux discover a betrayal. A betrayal they quickly turn around with Annja's network of contacts. And a friendly shark.


The Characters
Annja Creed is an archeologist and, to pay the bills, works as a cohost for Chasing History's Monsters. On one of her explorations for the show, she came across the shards of Joan of Arc's broadsword. Her touch rebound them back together leaving Annja as the wielder of justice.

Roux was one of Joan of Arc's knights. He was there when she was burned at the stake and he had been searching for the shards of her sword ever since. Something changed time for Roux and for his squire, Garin Braden (who doesn't show in this story) when Joan was burned and they have lived for over 600 years.

George and Vic Gutierrez are friends of Annja's who both work for different alphabet agencies in D.C. George as a hacker for the government; they met when Annja was doing research "on black helicopters and conspiracy theories about Area 51". Vic was a gunnery sergeant with the Marines, a sniper Annja encountered the last time she was in the Philippines and they rescued each other.

Joachim Spier is an 80-year-old billionaire with an interest in artifacts of power. He has recruited a team to aid him in their recovery: Heinkel Guttiger, Karl Mueller, Gottlieb Schwarzwalder, and Hans Schmidt.


The Cover
It's Annja in camo pants and a short, black tank top in one of her battle stances holding the broadsword in both hands over her shoulder, the sword pointed toward the ground. The background is a collage of a flattened world map against a turquoise sea of fish and shark.

The title is fair enough for it is the Oracle's Message that causes Annja to fight the Queen just as it is her fight that prevents the Oracle "speaking" anywhere else.
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