Provenance (Rogue Angel, Book 11)
Alex Archer, Victor Milán
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When a mysterious man orchestrates an attack on archaeologist Annja Creed and then offers her an assignment, Annja is baffled. But the mission is too intriguing for her to refuse. She must find an object that possesses a sacred and powerful secret offering atonement to anyone who uncovers it, or wreaking havoc on the world. Stolen from an ancient order of knights, the relic is now in the clutches of a band of pirates sailing the South China Sea. When a government leader threatens to destroy the pirate ship, along with the artifact, rather than let it get into the wrong hands, Annja must decide at what cost the sacred prize should be protected. Destroying it would defile history. But saving it could bring about apocalypse.
which was only a couple of inches under six feet without the hat. He was so desiccated that his skin had a parchmentlike texture. The combination of gauntness, pallor and dryness gave him the appearance of being both sickly and elderly—even his thin-lipped mouth was wrinkled like an old man’s. Although not young, Cyrus wasn’t elderly. As for his skinniness, he had been born with a sense of taste. He simply didn’t care for food, so he ate little. He believed that excessive intake of fluids was
it is picturesque in its own way.” He gave her an address, and directions that were likely to be of more use. She memorized them easily. “Thank you for trusting me,” she told him. “You took a great risk, I know. But I will try to justify it.” “I do risk much,” he said. “And I hope you can make use of what I have told you. “But then,” he said, and his manner suddenly seemed more sober, “I know the famous Annja Creed is not a spy for the Panamanian police. Whether she is a spy for her United
barracks and on the parade-ground proved limp in combat. After they had finished a meal—much better than her self-made breakfast—of steamed fish and rice, with peanut sauce and fierce red chiles, prepared by one of their number, Annja entertained them with stories about shooting Chasing History’s Monsters in exotic locales. She excused herself early and went to bed. She was surprisingly tired, given how little she had done. But she’d had a tense couple of weeks. The enforced ocean cruise—that
it almost halfway before the hatch to her right, which led down to the hold where she had been captured, opened up. Three pirates with rags wrapped around their heads scrambled out. Chattering among themselves they did not notice the curious four-legged beast lurching at them from the shadows. Annja screamed and fired Bima’s assault rifle from the hip, one-handed. Her first burst raked one man’s legs. He yelled and went down. It also struck the head of the last while he was still on the ladder.
detailed the same story in about the same words. One referred as a source to an eccentric history of the Crusades published in French in the 1920s, a copy of which actually existed in the Meriahpuri University library. It was delivered to Annja by courier, since she was not permitted to leave the palace without an escort. The book added elaboration without illumination. Two of her contacts e-mailed her a reference to an English book from 1841. When, late in the afternoon, she got hold of scans