Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Billionaire Bodyguard (DC Billionaires #1), by Eliza Ellis

Eliza Ellis, November 2018

Zuri Msongo is a leader of pro-democracy revolutionaries in the fictional African nation of Bendola. The head of their movement is her father, and she's frustrated that he seems  to think her safety is just as important as his. He's the one who will hopefully be the first freely elected President of Bendola in twenty years, after all. She's David (Bendolan mother, American father), persuades her father to hire his old US Army buddy, Daemon Knight, to be her bodyguard. Especially when Knight recommends postponing the meeting they've scheduled with representatives from western governments, seeking support for the rebels.

The meeting goes ahead, and of course Knight was right about the security leak. The meeting takes place, successfully, but then the Msongos and their top people are attacked while attempting to leave. Daemon Knight gets her out, but her father is killed.

From this point on, it's a battle of wills, and a battle of cool judgment vs. passionate dedication and patriotism.

It's a little complicated by the fact that Daemon Knight is not your average high-level bodyguard or security expert. He's the head of Knight's Shield Security, and heir to the Knight Industries conglomerate.

I'm not sure it's correct to call a story set in Africa "Ruritanian," but that's the basic idea. Bendola is a fictional country nestled into a spot on the continent that's almost plausible, without having to worry about the details of the histories of the real countries in that area. Initially, Zuri seemed to be implausibly willful and impulsive for a woman in her situation, but as the story progressed, the reality of the situation and the demands on her as the new head of the movement seemed to focus that drive more. Knight, meanwhile, has more mundane, but still serious, family problems of his own, with his estranged father pressuring him to take over as CEO of Knight Industries right now, a demand that seems unlikely coming from a man who has always been a workaholic and show no signs of slowing down.

Of course Zuri and Daemon are fighting their attraction to each other, and despite having gotten Zuri out successfully after the attack that killed her father, Zuri isn't wrong about needing to go back.

They're likable characters, and if the story isn't altogether plausible, it's no less so than any Ruritarian tale, a genre I've always enjoyed.

Recommended for a fun read.

I received a free electronic galley from the author, and am reviewing it voluntarily.