Book Club Pick: May 2015
Author: Anthony Horowitz
Series: Alex Rider (Book #1)
Publisher: Walker Books
First Published: 2000
When his guardian dies in suspicious circumstances, fourteen-year-old Alex Rider finds his world turned upside down.
Within days he’s gone from schoolboy to superspy. Forcibly recruited into MI6, Alex has to take part in gruelling SAS training exercises; then armed with his own special set of secret gadgets, he’s off on his first mission. But Alex soon finds himself in mortal danger. It looks as if his first assignment may well be his last…
The novel opens following the death of 14-year-old Alex Rider’s guardian and uncle Ian in a car accident. Alex becomes suspicious after learning his normally very careful uncle was not wearing a seatbelt and finds that his uncle’s office has been cleared out.
Alex finds his uncle’s car in a junkyard ridden with bullet holes and blood on the seats suggesting his uncle had been murdered. In the first of many action sequences Alex narrowly escapes after the car is loaded into the car crusher with Alex inside.
Later Alex is invited to his uncle’s bank where he learns that Ian Rider was a secret agent for MI6.
Ian Rider’s last case was investigating multi-millionaire businessman Herod Sayles, who had recently announced that he was donating thousands of his new computer line Stormbreaker to London school children.
MI6 would like Alex to pose as a Felix Lester, a school boy who won a contest to test the Stormbreaker computer. Alex initially refuses. MI6 head Alan Blunt who controls Alex’s inheritance blackmails him with threats of selling his uncle’s home, placing him in an orphanage and having his live in housekeeper Jack Starbright deported.
Alex is unaware that his uncle has been preparing him for the secret service with karate and outdoor pursuits such as rock climbing and river rafting.
Alex completes an extensive training program with SAS soldiers before being sent to Sayle Enterprises armed with a series of teen-friendly gadgets including acne cream that burns through metal and a Gameboy equipped with spy gear such as a bug detector, transmitter and smoke screen.
The book is an easy read. There is plenty of action making this a popular choice for young male readers.
Stormbreaker was adapted into a film in 2006 starring Alex Pettyfer. Horowitz, an experienced scriptwriter also penned the film’s script.
I would recommend the Alex Rider series to readers who enjoy action and adventure stories. Suitable for ages 11+
Source: I borrowed this book from my public library.