Alex Rider

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Alex Rider 1:Stormbreaker

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Alex Rider 2:Point Blank

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Alex Rider 3:Skeleton Key

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Alex Rider 4:Eagle Strike

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Alex Rider 5:Scorpira

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Alex Rider 6:Ark Angel

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Alex Rider 7:Snakehead

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Alex Rider 8:Crocodile Tears

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Alex Rider 9:Scorpia Rising

Overview

Alex Rider is a series of spy novels by Anthony Horowitz about a 14-15-year-old spy named Alex Rider. The series is aimed primarily at teens and young adults. The series comprises eleven novels, as well as five graphic novels, three short stories and a supplementary book. The first novel, Stormbreaker, was released in the United Kingdom in 2000 and was adapted into a motion picture in 2006 starring Alex Pettyfer. A video game based on the film was released in 2006, which received negative reviews. The novels are published by Walker Books in the United States. They were first published by Puffinin the United States, but have been published more recently by Philomel Books, also an imprint of Penguin Books.[1] The audio books are read by Simon Prebble.[2]The eleventh novel, Never Say Die, was released in June 2017. Horowitz has had great success with the series.

Author

Anthony Horowitz's life might have been copied from the pages of Charles Dickens or the Brothers Grimm. Born in 1956 in Stanmore, Middlesex, to a family of wealth and status, Anthony was raised by nannies, surrounded by servants and chauffeurs. His father, a wealthy businessman, was, says Mr. Horowitz, "a fixer for Harold Wilson." What that means exactly is unclear — "My father was a very secretive man," he says— so an aura of suspicion and mystery surrounds both the word and the man. As unlikely as it might seem, Anthony's father, threatened with bankruptcy, withdrew all of his money from Swiss bank accounts in Zurich and deposited it in another account under a false name and then promptly died. His mother searched unsuccessfully for years in attempt to find the money, but it was never found. That too shaped Anthony's view of things. Today he says, "I think the only thing to do with money is spend it." His mother, whom he adored, eccentrically gave him a human skull for his 13th birthday. His grandmother, another Dickensian character, was mean-spirited and malevolent, a destructive force in his life. She was, he says, "a truly evil person", his first and worst arch villain. "My sister and I danced on her grave when she died," he now recalls.

A miserably unhappy and overweight child, Anthony had nowhere to turn for solace. "Family meals," he recalls, "had calories running into the thousands…. I was an astoundingly large, round child…." At the age of eight he was sent off to boarding school, a standard practice of the times and class in which he was raised. While being away from home came as an enormous relief, the school itself, Orley Farm, was a grand guignol horror with a headmaster who flogged the boys till they bled. "Once the headmaster told me to stand up in assembly and in front of the whole school said, 'This boy is so stupid he will not be coming to Christmas games tomorrow.' I have never totally recovered." To relieve his misery and that of the other boys, he not unsurprisingly made up tales of astounding revenge and retribution.

So how did an unhappy boy, from a privileged background, metamorphose into the creator of Alex Rider, fourteen-year-old spy for Britain's MI6? Although his childhood permanently damaged him, it also gave him a gift — it provided him with rich source material for his writing career. He found solace in boyhood in the escapism of the James Bond films, he says. He claims that his two sons now watch the James Bond films with the same tremendous enjoyment he did at their age. Bond's glamour translates perfectly to the 14-year-old psyche, the author says. "Bond had his cocktails, the car and the clothes. Kids are just as picky. It's got to be the right Nike trainers (sneakers), the right skateboard. And I genuinely think that 14-year-olds are the coolest people on the planet. It's this wonderful, golden age, just on the cusp of manhood when everything seems possible."

Alex Rider is unwillingly recruited at the age of fourteen to spy for the British secret service, MI6. Forced into situations that most average adults would find terrifying and probably fatal, young Alex rarely loses his cool although at times he doubts his own courage. Using his intelligence and creativity, and aided by non-lethal gadgets dreamed up by MI6's delightfully eccentric, overweight and disheveled Smithers, Alex is able to extricate himself from situations when all seems completely lost. What is perhaps more terrifying than the deeply dangerous missions he finds himself engaged in, is the attitude of his handlers at MI6, who view the boy as nothing more than an expendable asset.

The highly successful Alex Rider novels include Stormbreaker, Point Blank, Skeleton Key, and the recent Eagle Strike.

Anthony Horowitz is perhaps the busiest writer in England. He has been writing since the age of eight, and professionally since the age of twenty. He writes in a comfortable shed in his garden for up to ten hours per day. In addition to the highly successful Alex Rider books, he has also written episodes of several popular TV crime series, including Poirot, Murder in Mind, Midsomer Murders and Murder Most Horrid. He has written a television series Foyle's War, which recently aired in the United States, and he has written the libretto of a Broadway musical adapted from Dr. Seuss's book, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. His film script The Gathering has just finished production. And…oh yes…there are more Alex Rider novels in the works. Anthony has also written the Diamond Brothers series.

Stormbreaker

Main article: Stormbreaker

Stormbreaker was published in 2000 in the United Kingdom and in 2001 in the United States. Alex, the main character, is recruited by MI6 after discovering the truth about his uncle's life and death. He is sent to complete his uncle's latest mission: To investigate a multimillionaire named Herod Sayle and his creation, the revolutionary and newly developed computer called Stormbreaker, which Sayle is donating to every school in England. Alex later discovers that the Stormbreakers contain a deadly virus and that Sayle is planning to kill British schoolchildren. In the end, Alex foils his plan and succeeds in his first mission.

Point Blanc

Main article: Point Blanc

Point Blanc was published in the United Kingdom in 2001, and in North America in 2002 under the name Point Blank. After the death of two billionaires, MI6 discovers a connection: the two men who died both had a son attending Point Blanc, a school for rebellious sons of billionaires located in the French Alps, owned by a scientist named Dr. Hugo Grief. MI6 sends Alex to investigate Point Blanc and Alex discovers that Grief is replacing the students with clones of himself, altered through plastic surgery to resemble the students, so that Grief can inherit the fortune and have complete power to rule the world. However, Alex foils his plan and succeeds again.

Skeleton Key

Main article: Skeleton Key (novel)

Skeleton Key was published in 2002. After foiling a Triad plot to fix the 2001 Wimbledon tennis tournament by knocking out one of their members with a carbon dioxide tank, Alex is in grave danger of assassination. Forced to leave the country, MI6 sends him on a mission to Cuba with two CIA agents (one of which believes that he isn't helpful), where he is the only one of the three to survive. He encounters a former Soviet general, Alexei Sarov, with ideas for a nuclear holocaust and world domination under communist rule and who tries to adopt Alex Rider.

Eagle Strike

Main article: Eagle Strike

Eagle Strike was published in 2003. Damian Cray, a world-famous pop star, hopes to destroy the world's drug-making countries by hijacking the United States' nuclear arsenal. Suspicious of him, Alex takes Cray on without the help of the sceptical MI6. Cray releases a state-of-the-art games console called the 'Gameslayer'. Its first game, 'Feathered Serpent', is much more than it seems. It is up to Alex to discover the connection between the pop star, the video game, and the bombing of his vacation home. In the end, he will uncover a much larger plot, one involving the US government and the world's security. Alex got caught spying and was forced into a real-life version of 'Feathered Serpent' and manages to escape by cheating the way only a real human can unlike an avatar. He leaves Damian Cray's mansion but not before stealing a vital piece of equipment that Damian needs to make his plan work. He is then forced to give it up because Damian had kidnapped Sabina who is his love interest.

Scorpia

Main article: Scorpia (novel)

Scorpia was published in 2004. Following the advice of the assassin Yassen Gregorovich, Alex tries to find the criminal organization "Scorpia" to find out the truth about his father. He is soon recruited by Scorpia and trains as an assassin where he discovers that he will assassinate Mrs Jones. He fails in this mission, but then is turned back onto MI6's side and returns to Scorpia as a double agent. He discovers their plot to kill British school children and foils it.

Ark Angel

Main article: Ark Angel

Ark Angel, published in 2005, follows Alex's second mission for the C.I.A. He investigates Nikolei Drevin who builds a hotel in outer space called "Ark Angel". Drevin secretly tries to destroy Washington D.C., the capital of the U.S. and targets the Pentagon, hoping to destroy files on him that the US have acquired. Alex life in this novel.

Snakehead

Main article: Snakehead (novel)

Snakehead was published in 2007. Taking place immediately after Ark Angel, the novel sees Alex recruited by ASIS, Australia's secret service, to infiltrate a Snakehead organization by posing as an Afghan refugee. Alex meets his godfather, Ash(Anthony Sean Howell), and confronts the organization Scorpia for the second time. He learns that Ash was actually working with Scorpia and was the main antagonist of the novel and then escapes from the trap.

Crocodile Tears

Main article: Crocodile Tears

Crocodile Tears was published in 2009. MI6 coerces Alex into spying on activities at a GM crop plant during a school trip, which then leads to a far more serious adventure in Kenya, in which Alex has less than 24 hours to prevent a GM disease causing a deadly massacre.

Scorpia Rising

Main article: Scorpia Rising

Scorpia Rising was published in 2011. In the book, Scorpia is hired to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece. Scorpia's plan includes the laying of a false trail to Cairo and blackmailing MI6 into returning the Marbles. MI6 falls for the trap and Alex is sent to Cairo, where he is dismayed to find that Scorpia has been pulling the strings all along. Alex is captured by Scorpia and manages to help his long time friend and carer Jack escape. Scorpia anticipated this and laid a trap for Jack. Alex is destroyed by the news that she is killed. The book ends when Alex escapes and moves to America with Sabina's family. It is heavily implied he is changed forever and will never go back to his spy life.

Russian Roulette

Main article: Russian Roulette (novel)

Russian Roulette was published in 2013. It serves as a prequel to the series and describes the life of Yassen Gregorovich (including context about the relationship between Yassen and John Rider), unlike the other books in the series which center mainly on Alex Rider. The book is set during the 'Stormbreaker' story. It is first person and Yassen is the main character.

Never Say Die

Main article: Never Say Die (novel)

Never Say Die was published in June 2017 with a US release in October 2017. After the events of Scorpia Rising, Alex is left traumatised from the death of his caregiver and close friend, Jack Starbright. After being given a glimmer of hope about her survival, Alex is thrust into the horrors of his past in a battle to recover his friend from the dead. Along the way, he must encounter new foes who are nothing like anyone he has battled before. Never say die was published on 1 June 2017 in The UK. It was released in the US on 10 October 2017.

Nightshade

The twelfth book in the series; Nightshade, was alluded to at the end of Never Say Die and confirmed by Anthony Horowitz in May 2017. It will likely follow Alex in a battle against a new criminal organisation Nightshade (after the death of Scorpia) which Mrs Jones had been reading a document about at the end of Never Say Die.

Novels

Stormbreaker - released 4 September 2000. Adapted as a graphic novel, released 3 July 2006.

Point Blanc - released 3 September 2001. Adapted as a graphic novel, released 27 December 2007.

Skeleton Key - released 8 July 2002. Adapted as a graphic novel, released 7 September 2009.

Eagle Strike - released 7 April 2003. Adapted as a graphic novel, released 6 July 2012.

Scorpia - released 1 April 2004. Adapted as a graphic novel, released February 2016.

Ark Angel - released 1 April 2005.

Snakehead - released 31 October 2007.

Crocodile Tears - released 12 November 2009.

Scorpia Rising - released 21 March 2011 in Australia, 22 March 2011 in the US and 31 March 2011 in the UK.

Russian Roulette - released 12 September 2013 in the UK and on 1 October 2013 in the US.

Never Say Die - released 1 June 2017 in the UK and on 10 October 2017 in the US.

Supplementary books

The Gadgets (17 October 2005)

The Mission Files (6 October 2008)

Secret Weapon (4 April 2019)

Short stories

Secret Weapon - published 9 February 2003 in the funday times (post Skeleton Key)

Christmas at Gunpoint - published 1 January 2007 in the daily mail (A postscript from Alex Rider before Stormbreaker)

Incident in Nice - published 9 November 2009 in the times (post Point Blanc)

Alex Underground - Published 8 August 2008 in the News of the world summer reading special (post Ark Angel)

A Taste of Death - published online March 2012 for World Book Day (post Point Blanc)

Extra chapters

Resistance to Interrogation, an extra chapter in Stormbreaker

Coda, an extra chapter in Snakehead

The White Carnation (June 2014), an extra chapter in Russian Roulette

Video games

On 25 September 2006, Alex Rider: Stormbreaker was released.

Film and TV series adaptions

In May 2017, it was announced that ITV was developing a television adaptation of the Alex Rider novels. The series is being produced by Eleventh Hour Films, with Tutankhamun screenwriter and novelist Guy Burt acting as showrunner. BAFTAaward-winning screenwriter Guy Burt has adapted Point Blanc for TV. Horowitz's book was first published in 2001, and his 12th Rider novel. Horowitz wrote the screenplay for the 2006 feature film Stormbreaker and will be the executive producer for the Point Blancseries. Sony is looking to break into the young-adult space, recently inking a deal with YA specialist Komixx. "We identified Alex Rider some time ago as we were looking for the right project to take this leap, and we're thrilled it has come together as our very first spec series" Garvie and Le Goy said in a joint statement.


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