The eighth novel in the Alex Rider series sees the action adventure begin in explosive style as a terrorist attack is waged against an Indian nuclear power plant. This high octane opening is maintained throughout the remainder of the novel. Relief is sent to the communities surrounding the plant by a company called First Aid, a charity headed by McCain, a wealth-obsessed, power-crazed individual who makes a suitably ruthless, albeit not entirely surprising, arch rival for Alex.
There’s a frenetic quality to the novel which is variously located in India, Scotland, England and Kenya. In lesser hands this furious and frantic pacing might disorientate readers, but characteristically, Horowitz creates sufficient deft circumstantial detail to ensure each of his settings is vivid yet does not intrude upon the narrative’s intensity.
Horowitz writes with a cinematic quality that creates heightened immediacy for his readers. That he skilfully selects contemporary issues – here the politicised nature of genetic engineering in crop production and the power this yields – creates a tangible sense of realism that serves to compound the danger. Another accomplished teenage thriller that is sure to satisfy hungry fans and to entice new readers to further explore the series.