Barry Reese

Pulp Writer Extraordinaire

rogueangelEvery Friday I focus on a New Pulp work that I think merits your attention. Sometimes it will be something that’s brand new, other times I’ll look at something that’s a few years old. This week, I’m encouraging you to check out The Third Caliph, which is the 40th book in the Rogue Angel series. The author listed on the cover is Alex Archer, which is a house name. The actual writer for this book is Mel Odom, who is thanked for his contributions on the inside cover. Golden Eagle does the same thing with it’s Executioner series. Here’s how the publisher described this volume:

A holy war. An ancient scroll lost in history…until now.During a dig in Morocco, archaeologist Annja Creed and her companions are nearly buried alive when the khettara ceiling collapses, revealing a 1,300-year-old corpse. But when Bedouin bandits raid the camp, Annja barely escapes with her life…and half of a scroll in ancient Kufic script. Her companions’ survival now depends on her.The scroll dates back to 656 AD, when Muslim raised sword against Muslim and the assassination of the third caliph left no clear heir to Muhammad’s teachings. It’s a coveted find. Annja quickly finds herself caught between a devious terrorist whose family honor depends on destroying what she possesses and a ruthless CIA team. Both believe the end justifies the means. And that Annja cannot allow.

Rogue Angel stars Annja Creed, archaeologist and host of a television series, Chasing History’s Monsters. In the very first book in the series (“Destiny”), Annja becomes the owner of a sword that once belonged to Joan of Arc. This sword can be summoned to her mentally — when she’s not using it, it floats in another dimension, waiting for her call.

Rogue Angel is a consistently entertaining New Pulp series — and one of the most successful, to boot. New books come out every other month and you can find them at your local grocery store or convenience center. I bought this one at a K-Mart… how many other New Pulp series can you say that about these days?

At first glance, Annja looks like a Lara Croft ripoff and I’m certain that played a part in her creation. But despite her beauty, the series does not pander at all… in fact, it’s almost oddly sexless. There’s no romance to be found in most of these — it’s straight-ahead adventure fiction, just with a female protagonist. Plots vary wildly from book to book but are almost always based around ancient myths and relics.

This particular book is a good one — a solid read, with a clearly defined plot and solid action. Mel Odom was one of the original authors on the series and he really shines, showing off his understanding of the character. There are other books in the series that I’ve enjoyed more but this is a recent one, coming out in January 2013, and should be easy to locate.

If you love Indiana Jones, Lara Croft or The Librarian, you should check this series out. They’re quick, pulpy reads that maybe aren’t great literature but they are great fun. The first three books have been combined into an omnibus called Rogue Angel: Renaissance so you can dive in quickly. You can start anywhere, though, as they always recap the important information with each new story.

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