When his guardian dies in suspicious circumstances, Alex Rider goes from schoolboy to superspy within days as his world is turned upside down. Forcibly recruited into MI6, Alex has to take part in gruelling SAS training. Then, armed with his own special set of secret gadgets, he's off on his first mission. His destination is the depths of Cornwall ...Read MoreWhen his guardian dies in suspicious circumstances, Alex Rider goes from schoolboy to superspy within days as his world is turned upside down. Forcibly recruited into MI6, Alex has to take part in gruelling SAS training. Then, armed with his own special set of secret gadgets, he's off on his first mission. His destination is the depths of Cornwall, where middle-eastern multi-millionaire Herod Sayle is producing his state-of-the-art Stormbreaker computers. Sayle's offered to give one free to every school in the country - but MI6 thinks there's more to the gift than meets the eye. Only Alex can find out the truth. But time is running out and Alex soons finds himself in mortal danger. It looks as if his first assignment may well be his last...Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2001-05-21 Readers will cheer for Alex Rider, the 14-year-old hero of British author Horowitz's spy thriller (the first in a projected series). When his guardian and uncle, Ian, is mysteriously killed, Alex discovers that his uncle was not the bank vice-president he purported to be, but rather a spy for the British government. Now the government wants Alex to take over his uncle's mission: investigating Sayle Enterprises, the makers of a revolutionary computer called Stormbreaker. The company's head plans to donate one to every secondary school in England, but his dealings with unfriendly countries and Ian Rider's murder have brought him under suspicion. Posing as a teenage computer whiz who's won a Stormbreaker promotional contest, Alex enters the factory and immediately finds clues from his uncle. Satirical names abound (e.g., Mr. Grin, Mr. Sayle's brutish butler, is so named for the scars he received from a circus knife-throwing act gone wrong) and the hard-boiled language is equally outrageous ("It was a soft gray night with a half-moon forming a perfect D in the sky. D for what, Alex wondered. Danger? Discovery? Or disaster?"). These exaggerations only add to the fun, as do the creative gadgets that Alex uses, including a metal-munching cream described as "Zit-Clean. For Healthier Skin." The ultimate mystery may be a bit of a letdown, but that won't stop readers from racing through Alex's adventures, from a high-speed bike chase to a death-defying dance with a Portuguese man-of-war. The audience will stay tuned for his next assignment, Point Blanc, due out spring 2002. Ages 10-up. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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