Professor Mike Tingley is the head of the Ancient Religious Department at Charlesgate University and a good friend of Annya's since they went to college together. Mike calls Annya and asks her to come to Nepal (Katmandu) to help search for the legendary city of Shangri-La made famous by James Hilton’s book The Lost Horizon (1933).
It seems that he may have discovered a map to the actual location and wants Annya as part of the adventure and its discovery. Mike’s search for the city of Shangri-La has been his one true obsession like Annya has with finding out more about why Joan of Arc's sword found its way to her capable hands instead of someone else.
In yet another storyline, a mysterious man, (later identified as Garin), hires a Nepalese man named Tuk to maintain a constant vigil on Annya and to let him know if anyone tries to harm her in any way. Tuk is a man of many abilities, including the ability to work with various intelligence agencies without getting himself killed in the process. Tuk is also an orphan like Annya which binds them together as friends for the foreseeable future.
*I find myself actually liking and appreciating Garin’s foresight in hiring someone to watch over Annya. I also found it intriguing knowing that he has wanted to break the sword into so many pieces in order to keep his immortality in check. Yet, when Annya is in trouble and threatened with taking the sword away from her by killing her and forcing her to give it away; he gets really protective of her and comes rushing in to help her.*
Annya is pretty much clueless about what is happening around her until she stumbles upon a Chinese conspiracy and nuclear dumping ground that they have created to be their own brand of Shangri-La. By then, she has to deal with an assassin named Hsu-Xiao, or the Black Pole and a megalomaniac (Vanya) who wants to take over China, nuke Taiwan, and take Joan of Arc’s sword away from Annya so that she can cut down her enemies with.
Vanya, and certain parts of the Chinese Intelligence community, have placed a rather large bounty on Annya’s head because they realize just how truly dangerous she is with the sword. It seems that they pretty much know everything there is to know about Annya past, including why the sword found her in the first place; something that is still left unanswered after 29 books in the series.
The Chinese also firmly believe that they can take possession of the sword as long as they kill Annya first and then have her “Will” it away to another person as she is taking her last breath. The likelihood of that happening is more in the line of the Chinese actually making something that is not cheap or stolen from other countries like the USA and Russia.
Nothing is as it seems in this story. Mike is a professor, yet, he is also so much more including a big fat liar who dragged Annya into the middle of danger where she ends up getting tore up and beaten down by not one super villainess, but two.
The one thing I do appreciate about this series is the underlying way the various authors of this series incorporate fantasy and science fiction into their storylines. Shangri-La has been one of those places like Atlantis, that has always fascinated me, and wanted to learn more about.
Title: False Horizon
Author: Alex Archer
Release Date: ??
Genres: Fantasy & Science Fiction