A Scot with a longer-than-average life span takes a job as a bodyguard and a protector of a diamond-mining business in De Luchi’s adventure novel (Maxwell’s Demons, 2013, etc.), the second in a series.
Alan Roderick, in the late 19th century, is nearly 50 but looks half that. He ages more slowly than most people—and is, in fact, still alive and kicking in 2011. He’s in Africa acting as bodyguard for a journalist when he meets Barney Barnato, who asks Alan to protect him and prevent the theft of diamonds from his mines. But Alan’s relationship with Laura, a thief, and his reluctance to turn her over to the authorities, may tarnish his partnership with his new boss. The book, which ends with the start of yet another narrative, shows snippets from the protagonist’s long life. References to Alan’s past aren’t fully explored, including a cursorily visited conversation between Alan and his similarly afflicted great-great-great grandfather, but there’s plenty of time to learn more in later books—this is only the second in the Damon Maxwell series (Damon is an alias, although Alan uses his real name for most of this outing). The story’s dramatic potential is sometimes lost; for instance, Alan often mocks God but doesn’t explain why. He seems to care for Asha, his housekeeper and sexual conquest, but he only notes her physical attributes. And, when he’s forced to kill someone, he alludes to feelings of remorse but doesn’t appear to genuinely experience them. Alan’s relationship with love interest Laura, however, is deliciously complex. He admits that their connection is impossible to define, and unlike his relationship with Asha, it’s based on more than sex. Alan and Laura have parallels—they both dabble in aliases and occupations—but, in a quaint turn, they’re contradictory in terms of motive: She cons people for her own gain, while Alan fools them to hide his apparent immortality. De Luchi wisely saves a suspenseful scene, in which Alan creeps into a village to protect Barnato, for an exciting denouement.
The prolonged life of this enigmatic protagonist makes for a riveting tale.