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Alex Rider, Britain’s leading fourteen-year-old spy—more or less James Bond with zits—has survived a lot in only a few fast-paced months. He has been gunned down by an assassin and lived to tell. He has blown up a luxury hotel in outer space. He has even survived a feature-film adaptation that flopped at the box office. And now, in his seventh action-filled adventure, Alex has splashed down in Australian waters and become a guest of ASIS, the down-under intelligence agency that wants him to do for them what he has so often done for Britain’s MI6 and, most recently, America’s CIA. What better cover could a spy ask for than to be a kid? In this case, it should be even easier than that. Alex only needs to look like a dirty, dentally-challenged Afghan refugee kid to lend credibility to the cover of the grown-up spy who is supposed to do the real job. All he has to do is keep his mouth shut and act stupid. Doesn’t sound like too much work, right? And the clincher, ensuring that Alex will accept the assignment, is that the grown-up spy in question is his godfather—the person who knew Alex’s parents the best—and the last person to see them alive.
So, of course, Alex signs on. And, of course, the mission proves to be more of a test of Alex’s survival skills than as advertised. For the people-smuggling gang Alex is supposed to help Ash infiltrate, is really only one small part of a vast network of evil—indeed, the world’s most powerful criminal organization. By sheer luck, Alex finds himself at the center of a plot to kills tens of thousands of innocent people. Although he is outnumbered, outmuscled, outgunned, and outmaneuvered by a villain of insane fiendishness, Alex is the only one who can stop a tsunami of mass destruction and death. And just to make it extra hard, he has been betrayed by someone within ASIS. The bad guys saw through his cover from the word Go. All they have to do is wait for him to fall into their hands.
And fall he does, time after time. This is the one where Alex gets forced into the ring of a no-holds-barred blood sport in Bangkok, held up by commandos in a sinister toy factory in Jakarta, chased between the decks of a cargo ship, and bundled off to a high-security hospital where his organs will be harvested for transplant. Besides a few gadgets and an occasional hand from a friend, the only advantages Alex has working for him are his compact size, his lightning reflexes, his towering nerve, and brain made for rapidly designing hairsbreadth escapes out of materials that would have left MacGyver thinking, “In my next life, I’ll always make sure to have a wormhole at my back.”
Somehow he survives all this long enough to join a team of paratroopers in a (literally) eleventh-hour attack on the oil platform where a bomb that will change the world is nearing the end of its countdown. But could that be the end for Alex? Even if he survives the mission, he swears he’s through with the cloak-and-dagger stuff. But we’re not fooled. For there are already two more books in the Alex Rider series: Crocodile Tears and Scorpia Rising.