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.
States Central Intelligence Agency I am willing to risk. Because, I think, who better to make use of information I am denied the use of?” He stood up. His legs were perfectly steady. So were his eyes as he smiled. “Many thanks for the drinks,” he said and he walked out of the bar—not like a man intoxicated, but rather like one who had just relieved himself of a heavy burden. Annja stared after him long after he’d vanished into the early subtropical night. Was he setting me up? she wondered.
bit. Or anything that bit too hard. She looked back along the runway toward the airfield buildings and the C-130. The big cargo plane was lumbering into motion, turning onto the runway as if to taxi for a takeoff. She guessed it would have to go all the way to the east end to get a long enough takeoff roll. She knew the Hercules could take off on a fairly short runway—surprising what you learned, when you knocked around the world as much as she did, not to mention got knocked around by it—but it
beam to beam, rose like an island amidship, instead of at the stern as was more common today. She was obviously designed to carry most of her cargo in the holds below decks, not riding stacked on the open deck, as many modern carriers did it. Annja slipped forward. She was playing it by ear. Relatively small as Ozymandias was, it was still a cargo ship—a mostly empty one. There were likely to be plenty of shadowed, little-frequented places to hide out. With her light pack stuffed with bottled
becoming friends. I’d be honored if you’d simply call me Wira. Except when Krisna is around—it’ll make him crazy.” She laughed. “You? Honored? The honor’s mine—Wira.” She took his hands. “But please call me Annja, your—Wira.” He smiled and squeezed her hand. For a wild heart-pounding moment she was sure he was about to lean forward and kiss her. Instead he let go of her hands and raised his head. “Gentlemen,” he said in a sharper tone. “Our guest has arrived. Please join me in the study.” She
separation. Even in old footage from World War II, when those were real guns shooting and the flashes when the shells hit were tearing apart and incinerating real human beings, it had always been something happening a long time ago and far, far away and in all events on the far side of that uncrossable glass wall. It may have been real once; it wasn’t real now. But the lights and noise and even smells that surrounded her, swallowed her, were so overwhelming they seemed a different kind of