Annja Creed doesn’t necessarily like working for the tv show Chasing History’s Monsters, but it does pay the bills, and its brought her to the mountains of France searching for La Bete, the monster who supposedly killed people in the mountains in the late 1700’s. Annja isn’t sure she even believes in La Bete, until she falls into a cave during a freak earthquake and finds a monster killed by a man with a spear. The man is wearing an intriguing charm on a necklace that Annja takes with her. She quickly discovers the coin she swiped from the cave is more than an interesting charm, and several groups of very nasty people are after her to get the charm for themselves–a charm which may have much more historical significance than any of them realize.
Annja Creed is a young, female archeologist with an undying curiosity for the past. She is tough, confident, and knows how to take care of herself. She was raised by nuns in an orphanage in New Orleans, where she learned to be independent. All this has helped her become an impressive archeologist. I liked Annja’s character. I wasn’t super emotionally invested in her, but I did like her independence and interest in history. When she comes in contact with what her mysterious acquaintance Roux claims is Joan of Arc’s sword and has her first experience with magic, at first she denies it, but soon takes it in stride and learns to use it to her advantage. Throughout it all, she doesn’t lose in her interest in the history that surrounds Joan of Arc and the charm she found.
The side characters were interesting as well. Roux and Garin who Annja meets in France both claim to be over 500 years old and swore fealty to the original Joan of Arc. Now that Annja has a connection to Joan’s sword, Roux and Garin are interested in Annja and what happens to her, but both for very different reasons. I am interested to learn more about their backgrounds, especially since Garin essentially disappeared from the story about 3/4 of the way through, almost like the author forgot to tie up his loose end. He flew Roux and Annja back to France on his private plane, and then we never hear about him again. That was strange. The villain Lesauvage was scary, but again we didn’t get much of his back story. He had a strange cult that called themselves the Wild Hunt and ran around killing people dressed in wolf pelts, but the connection between Lesauvage and the Wild Hunt was never really explained.
I did like the historical aspects of this story, that is what kept me interested. The way the story from the past resolved itself was not what I expected at all. I’m sure it was all made up, but it was still well told and believable. I only picked this book up originally because I saw it on display at my local library (I totally judged this book by its cover) and I liked the idea of the history and Joan of Arc connection. While it was decent overall, I’m not in a hurry to read the next one.