Let Me Call You
Sweetheart

 
Warrior Without Rules
by Nancy Gideon
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1382, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-27452-1
****
Warrior Without Rules is a story with a very old tired plot line, but peopled with richly drawn characters who will appeal to many readers.

Antonia Castillo is one day away from the birthday which permits her to inherit her mother’s retail shoe business. Her father has arranged a business partnership for her with a childhood friend from Mexico, which will move the manufacturing and distribution plants to Mexico for cheaper operating costs. The consummation of this business deal is to occur immediately after her birthday at a meeting in Mexico.

Antonia is her own product’s model. Stunning and camera friendly, she has worn her shoes in everything from bungee jumping to the pits at Nascar races. She has been a poster child for daredevils.

Her persona is a veneer calculated to hide a traumatic experience when she was 17. Zach Russell was her bodyguard then when she was abducted and held for ransom. Her father refused to pay and one of the kidnappers took his anger and disappointment out by repeatedly raping her. Since then, she has permitted no man to touch her.

The coming transition of power is marred by threats to Antonia, all tainted with the reminder of her kidnapping. She has her father call in enough favors to get Zach Russell for her bodyguard again.

Zach reluctantly agrees to do so, imposing some very simple rules. For a while, every time Antonia makes even the slightest deviation from the rule of “where you go I go,” an unknown assailant threatens her.

Headstrong as she is, emotionally traumatized as she has been, she has nonetheless over the years converted her crush on Zach at 17 to something much richer and more mature.

Zach, on the other hand, is the son of a diplomat killed in a car bomb, as a result of not taking time enough to follow the preliminary precautions of having a car checked. His mother is the heiress of a huge hotel network and wants him to take over her business. Since Zach blames himself for Antonia’s kidnapping, he has spent the years punishing himself. He has also spent the years mindful of Antonia.

All of this is familiar angst to readers of the SIM series, but Gideon goes one step beyond most authors. Instead of the inner dialogue most authors use to describe the pain, her characters are fashioned in such ways that readers can pick it up by the way they live.

Gideon’s foreshadowing of the identity of the original kidnapper is nicely done, the use of resort town in Mexico is incorporated in such ways as to add to the plot tension. The pacing of the story varies nicely, and the dialogue is exceptional. Exceptional in that the author uses it not only to make her characters’ points, but to add definition to them as well.

In all, Warrior Without Rules is an elegantly re-treaded story line worthy of a read.

--Thea Davis


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