Monday, September 24, 2012

Rogue Angel: Magic Lantern

 I've read a few of the Rogue Angel books before, but this one, with it's London setting and Robert Louis Stevenson connection, seemed to be written just for me. The Rogue Angel is a young woman named Annja Creed. Through a series of events too complicated to go into here, Annja has acquired the reforged sword of Joan of Arc. When Annja uses the sword her speed and strength are increased. She's already a formidable martial artist, so the sword just makes her more dangerous. A fun concept.
   In Magic Lantern, Annja is in the UK on assignment for the television show Chasing History's Monsters, looking for a serial killer who claims to have rediscovered the Mr. Hyde formula. My sort of plot. But it gets better. Annja's investigation crosses paths with some seriously bad folks who are seeking an old Chinese Lantern of the type used by a magician who was part of the phantasmagoria art back in the 1700s. These lanterns were used to project fantastic images onto walls or even onto screens of floating smoke in macabre performances. (The book goes into the art of the phantasmagoria in detail.) But this Lantern is special because it is rumored to actually open a door into the Chinese spirit world.
   The book gets off to a creepy start deep in the catacombs under 18th century Paris during a special phantasmagoria performance which goes horribly wrong. Then we jump to present day just in time to see Annja in butt-kicking action. From there the plot just flies along. I had a lot of fun with this book. The Rogue Angel books are credited to author Alex Archer, but that's a house name for several different writers. A look in the front of the book shows that this one was written by Mel Odom. Odom is the author of many books, including novels in the Forgotten Realms series, some Buffy the Vampire Slayer books, and tons of others. I didn't realize he had written several Mack Bolan books as well until I did a Google search after finishing Magic Lantern. I see that  he's written several other Rogue Angel books too. Have to track those down.
   On a personal note, I enjoyed seeing all the ads for various other Gold Medal books in the back of the paperback. Reminded me of the days when I was reading Mack Bolan books hand over fist.
   Anyway, if you're up for some action and a kick-ass heroine, give Magic Lantern a shot.

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