“Bodyguard: Hostage” by Chris Bradford


I bought it early this afternoon and started reading it on my way home. I’ve just finished it just now, and it is one of the most hooking and captivating books I’ve read in a while. I wouldn’t quite call it a Young Adult novel, but that’s not to say older teens – or even adults – won’t enjoy it, and I’ve read a few reviews on Amazon of parents who’ve admitted to loving the book!

Those of you who have read Robert Muchamore’s excellent CHERUB series may feel that this sounds awfully similar – and to an extent you would be right in thinking that. But rather than following in the typical footsteps of CHERUB, Alex Rider, and Young Bond (in which the characters of all three series are teenage spies), Chris Bradford’s Bodyguard series follows, oddly enough, a teenage Bodyguard, Connor Reeves.
The prologue of the book had me immediately hooked – in fact, I was pulled in just by the first page. I hadn’t been too sure how much I would enjoy this, as I had only heard about it through seeing him at the Book Festival last year when he was talking about his Young Samurai series. I’m seeing him again this year, but as it’s a “Bodyguard vs Young Samurai” event, I felt I had to at least try and read Bodyguard. And I’m glad I did.
There wasn’t a dull moment in this book. Lately, I’ve been finding myself not quite skim-reading books, but certainly not giving it all of my attention. For Bodyguard, I didn’t want to look away and just the thought of putting my bookmark in place to give my eyes a rest was proving to be unachievable. I literally could not put this down!
What makes this a really interesting read for me is the fact that Chris Bradford doesn’t just write his books. He experiences them. When writing his Young Samurai series, he trained in samurai swordmanship, karate, ninjutsu and earned his black belt in Zen Kyu Shin Taijutsu. For the Bodyguard books, he chose to embark on an intensive close protection course to become a qualified professional bodyguard, during which he acquired skills in unarmed combat, defensive driving, tactical firearms, threat assessments, surveillance, and even anti-ambush exercises.
That shows dedication to your writing, as I’ve never heard of other authors who’ve deliberatley set out to train as, effectively, their book character. Sure you have authors like Chris Ryan who may write their books based on past experiences they’ve had, but to actually go out and seek training in the art of Samurai swordshop or to become a qualified bodyguard… Well, that is dedication, plain and simple. It makes his books so much better because you know that some of the things that happen would actually happen, and the author has first hand experience of it, which makes it even more amazing – and makes you even more jealous!
I was recommended to read Chris Bradford’s Young Samurai books by a friend, so without him I would never have looked at those books, or at Bodyguard. I think I’m going to return the favour by recommending this book to him – and to everyone else!
At 420 pages, it’s by no means a short book, but it keeps your attention and you’ll practically fly through it. No matter how old or young you are, I would recommend this to you.

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