Every so often 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 Staff of Judea, which is the 41st book in the Rogue Angel series published by Gold Eagle. Before we launch into a detailed look at the book itself, let’s see how the publisher describes the volume:
The Staff of Aaron…the sword of Joan of Arc.After decoding an ancient scroll—one that purports to pinpont the treasure of the Jewish Temple, lost for two thousand years—archaeologist Annja Creed agrees to lead the party to recover the find in Judea. It’s a perilous desert journey through sandstorms and bandits, and complicated by mysterious sabotage within the group, to arrive at a long-forgotten fortress deep beneath a mountain. Only then does Annja discover that this archaeological expedition is really one man’s quest for the mystical Staff of Aaron, one of the Bible’s holiest and most powerful relics—a weapon they say can do incalculable harm in the hands of the wrong individual. She must try everything humanly possible to prevent the staff from being used for selfish purposes. Even if it puts her in the mightiest battle yet—sword against staff.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 volume is written by Joe Nassise, though it’s credited to the house name of Alex Archer on the cover. The story moves quickly and, while it gives you sufficient historical detail about the Staff of Aaron and the various mysteries being explored here, it’s never a dry read. Some old faces from the series (like Roux) reappear but for the most part, Annja is with new characters in this novel and they play off of her very well. I sometimes worry when we delve into Christian myths that we’re going to somehow become a little too spiritual for my tastes but it’s handled well here, with little difference from how they treat any other mythology.
If you want some fun reads that can bring you back every other month, I heartily recommend not only Staff of Judea but the entire Rogue Angel series.