Destiny (Rogue Angel Series #1)

Destiny (Rogue Angel Series #1)

4.0 56
by Alex Archer

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An ancient order tied to the Vatican...
A blood fortune buried in the caves of France...
A conspiracy of power, greed and darkest evil...

Archaeologist and explorer Annja Creed's fascination with the myths and mysteries of the past leads her to a crypt in the caves of France, where the terrifying legend of the Beast of Gevaudan hints at the

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An ancient order tied to the Vatican...
A blood fortune buried in the caves of France...
A conspiracy of power, greed and darkest evil...

Archaeologist and explorer Annja Creed's fascination with the myths and mysteries of the past leads her to a crypt in the caves of France, where the terrifying legend of the Beast of Gevaudan hints at the unimaginable. What she discovers is shattering: an artifact that will seal her destiny; a brotherhood of monks willing to murder to protect their secret; and a powerful black-market occultist desperate to put his own claim to centuries-old blood money. Annja embarks on a high-tension race across Europe and history itself, intent on linking the unholy treachery of the ages with the staggering revelations of the present. But she must survive the shadow figures determined to silence her threat to their existence.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
History, mystery and metaphysics are at the center of an inspired adventure novel, the first in a series by debut author Archer. This present-day tale brings Annja Creed, archeologist and field reporter for cable TV's Chasing History's Monsters, from Brooklyn to the small town of Lozere, France, to hunt down evidence of La Bete, the Beast of Gevaudan, rumored to have killed close to 100 people between 1764 and 1767. Instead of investigating dusty bookshops and hiking in the Cevennes Mountains, however, Annja finds herself fighting to protect an ancient charm she's uncovered from 500-year-old men, a dangerous occultist anxious for profit and a brotherhood of monks desperate to keep safe the charm's secret. Annja is a deft, well-drawn character, a woman in her mid-20s who is intelligent, alluring and able to fend off multiple attackers twice her size while keeping her cool. Archer keeps pace by building up a cohesive, multilayered plot with attention-grabbing action sequences. Though Archer wraps up Annja's hunt for the truth behind La Bete in this volume, readers should be eager for her next adventure-and fortunately for them, it's scheduled for release this September. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Worldwide Library
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Rogue Angel Series , #1
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Read an Excerpt

An excerpt from DESTINY, book 1 of the new Rogue Angel™ series.

Deep in the mountains of Lozère, France, a discovery is made that will seal Annja Creed’s destiny…

Was this a place of worship? Annja wondered. Or an altar celebrating past triumphs? She tried to imagine Cro-Magnon men sitting in the cave bragging about their success as fierce hunters. Except that the sheep’s body was anachronistic. None of the sheep’s forebears had looked like that in Cro-Magnon times. This sheep was small and compact, bred for meat and wool, not far removed from the sheep Annja had seen on farms she’d passed on her way to the mountain range. Looking closely, she noticed that several of the skulls were human. Used to handling human remains on dig sites, she had no fear of the dead. She set down the flashlight to illuminate the scene. Upon further inspection, she discovered that several of the ribs, and arm and leg bones were likely human, as well. Shreds of clothing that looked hundreds of years old clung to some of the bones. Boots stood and lay amid the clutter. A cold chill ran down her spine. Whatever had lived in the cave had preyed on humans. Shifting the light, heart beating a little faster, Annja spotted the great body stretched out on the floor. For a very tense moment, she’d thought the animal was lying there waiting to pounce. She froze. The light played over the mummified lips pulled back in a savage snarl that exposed huge yellow teeth. The eye sockets were hollow, long empty and dry. In that moment, the animal musk she’d smelled seemed even more intense. Death had stripped the fantastic creature of much of its bulk, but it was still easy to see how huge it had been in life. The head was as big as a buffalo’s but more bearlike in shape. Its body was thick and broad and the limbs were huge. It was unlike anything Annja had ever seen before. Making herself move despite the fear and astonishment she felt, Annja took pictures of the creature with the digital camera. Finished with the camera, she hurriedly took out a small drawing pad and a mechanical pencil from her backpack. If the camera failed to capture images, she could at least draw them. On closer inspection, Annja saw a broad-bladed spear shoved through the beast’s chest. Beneath the corpse of the impossible animal was a human corpse. Decomposition hadn’t settled in. Locked in the steady climate of the cave environment, kept bug-free by depth and ecology, the dead man had mummified as the beast had. His hands, the flesh so dehydrated it was almost like onionskin over the bones, still held tightly to the spear. Man and beast, locked in savage combat, had killed each other. Kneeling beside the dead man and beast, she reached out her empty hand. Something gleamed at the dead man’s throat. Taking a surgical glove from her backpack, Annja plucked the gleaming object from the corpse. It had partially sunk into the dead man’s chest. A leather thong tied the object around the corpse’s neck. After freeing the gleaming object, Annja held it up so her flashlight beam could easily illuminate it. A jagged piece of metal, no more than two inches to a side, dangled from the leather thong. The piece looked like an ill-made coin, hammered out on some smith’s anvil in a hurry. One side held an image of a wolf standing in front of a mountain. The wolf was disproportioned, though the oddities seemed intentional, and it appeared as though the wolf had been hanged. The obverse was stamped with a symbol she couldn’t quite make out. Annja remained kneeling. She was checking the image when a flashlight beam whipped across her face. Instinctively, she dodged away, remembering the motorcyclists and the old man she’d seen outside. She tucked the drawing pad, pencils and charm into her backpack as she scooped up her flashlight and switched it off. “Where the hell did she go?” someone demanded in French. Shadows created by the glow of the flashlight trailed the beam into the chamber. Annja stayed low as the light sprayed around the room. She barely escaped it before reaching the pile of skulls. Once there, she flattened herself against the wall. Light played over leather-clad bodies that stepped into the chamber. Evidently the motorcyclists had made their way down the sinkhole. They’d come along the passage Annja had found. She’d been so absorbed by her discoveries that she’d forgotten all about them and hadn’t noticed them. Silently, she cursed herself. “She can’t have just vanished,” another man said. In the soft glow of the reflected light from the flashlight, all six of them stood revealed. All of them held pistols. “If we lose her, Lesauvage is going to kill us.” The speaker’s voice was tight with fear. “We haven’t lost her,” someone stated calmly. “We came in that hole after her. There’s no other way out.” “You don’t know that, Foulard.” Another man gave a startled curse. “What the hell’s lying there?” Foulard aimed his flashlight at the creature’s huge mummified body. “The Beast of Gévaudan!” someone said. “It must be! Look at it! My grandfather told me stories about this thing!” His voice dropped and took on a note of awe. “I never believed him. Thought it was all crap old men told kids to scare the hell out of them.” Hidden by the shadow of the skulls, Annja’s mind raced. They came here looking for me. “Forget about that damned thing,” Foulard commanded. “Spread out. Find the woman. Lesauvage wants to speak with her. I don’t want to go back and tell him we lost her.” He directed his flashlight at the cavern’s ceiling, providing a weak cone of illumination from above. Thankfully, the light didn’t quite reach the cavern floor. Annja sank down low. Her free hand plucked up one of the human skulls. Her fingers slipped easily through the empty eyeholes to secure her hold. It wasn’t much as weapons went, but she hoped to improve her standing.

Join Annja in her quest to uncover the truth behind the Beast of Gevaudan and discover how the unusual coin will seal her fate.

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