Authenticity adds to satisfactory tale

Bodyguard:Hostage<br><b>Chris Bradford</b><br><i>Puffin</i>
Bodyguard:Hostage<br><b>Chris Bradford</b><br><i>Puffin</i>
A few years ago, it was almost impossible to find modern adventure stories for boys.

Credit must go to Robert Muchamore, whose Cherub series gave youngsters the thrill of reading about spies of their own age group.

Muchamore has been followed by many others, most of whom have put considerable effort into background research for their stories. Few, though, have gone to the lengths of Chris Bradford who trained in samurai swordsmanship and other Japanese crafts for his successful Young Samurai books.

For his new series, Bodyguard, Bradford took a close-protection course, clearly invaluable in giving authenticity to Bodyguard: Hostage.

The background is fairly standard with 14-year-old orphan Connor Reeves recruited to undertake intense training at a remote location in before being assigned as a ''buddyguard'' to Alicia, daughter of the American president.

In Washington, Connor does not reveal what he is, as Alicia is very resentful of the need to be guarded.

The story rattles along, with kidnapping and betrayal part of the mix, to a satisfactory ending.

- Gillian Vine is a Dunedin journalist

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