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Horowitz is a master at parodying popular adult fiction, such as Raymond Chandler's novels, and turning it into a genuine thriller for children and teenagers. In Stormbreaker his model is James Bond. The ultra-resourceful if reluctant spy in this story is 14 year old Alex Rider. When Alex's uncle and guardian, Ian Rider, is murdered on active service, Alex is blackmailed by MI6 into taking over his dangerous mission to investigate the suspect philanthropy of a bizarre tycoon called Herod Sayle. Herod is well named. He has donated a superb computer called the Stormbreaker to every school in Britain. Each model is implanted with a deadly biological virus. Once the machine is switched on, it will activate with lethal consequences for the nation's children. This evil plot is uncovered by Alex, the reluctant schoolboy agent nicknamed Double O Nothing. With the aid of ingenious gadgets invented by Smithers (the equivalent of Bond's Q) he thwarts the mad menace in a spectacular finale at the Science Museum. The parody is clever and funny, but never overdone or self-indulgent. Horowitz always keeps sight of his main purpose, which is to tell an over-the-top, suspenseful and exciting story. Stormbreaker is a comedy thriller of exceptional quality.