This is a review of book three of the Rogue Angel series by Alex Archer.
The Alex Archer Collective barrels forward with The Spider Stone, the third entry in the Rogue Angel series. In this episode Annja is called into the American South to investigate a mass murder at the beginning of the Civil War. Discovered during the excavation of a warehouse, they were all killed horribly when the building above them collapsed. One of the slaves was the guardian of the “Spider Stone”, and ancient holy relic of the Hausa nation of Africa, given to them by the spider god Anansi. The stone also contained a map of lost treasure. Needless to say, a lot of bad people want to get the stone and the treasure.
The Spider Stone brought me much sadness because I was reminded of how horrible human beings have been to each other and the atrocities humanity has perpetuated in the name of profit. I wish I could say that we’ve improved as a species but mostly we’ve just gotten better at hiding the truly awful things we do. Because slavery still exists, it’s just not as wide spread.
The rest of the story takes place in Africa. Annja has to contend with murderous warlords, treasonous oil barons and suspicious American agents. There’s an elderly Hausa woman named Jaineba who provides some balance to the story, even if she suddenly knows a lot about genetically modified grain. Naturally she’s against the oil barons who want to open up the interior for oil production.
The real scene-stealer is the African warlord named Tafari. This psychopath, who charges into battle with his face skull painted, is the major highlight of the book. As has been said, the best villains do not see themselves as evil. Tafari is a creature of his environment but a believable one. I fear he’s too good an enemy to use for one tale.
Words: Umar Mohammed