Skulduggery and violence continue in this sequel to People’s Republic as agent Ryan tracks down a criminal gang. Ryan is a member of CHERUB, a British intelligence organization made up of 12- to 17-year-olds who spend their days in undercover work. His mission is to bust the billion-dollar criminal racket run by Ethan’s grandma. And for this, he needs to keep Ethan onside – a feat made easier after Ethan’s kidnap and removal to bleak Kyrgyzstan, the racket’s headquarters.
Ethan communicates online with Ryan while in exile. He admits to fears about his uncle, whom he believes responsible for his mum’s murder and who now wants him dead. With Ryan’s encouragement, he draws up a plan to hack into his uncle’s computer for evidence and to forward the incriminating files – a plan that soon turns to nightmare.
Chapters are short and action-packed, alternating between Ryan’s story and Ethan’s, a shift of viewpoint that heightens suspense and demands the reader’s constant attention. A sense of menace, established through the characters and the settings, permeates the story. While events follow in quick succession, the ending is inconclusive, awaiting resolution in the next book. Fast-paced and thrilling, the story makes for an exciting read while the strong language and machismo values will appeal to its predominantly male readership.