2015, first published 2004
This is the fifth of the Alex Rider books. Alex goes over to the dark side. He joins the Scorpia agency which specialises in contract killing and other dark actions. He has found out that his father used to work for this agency and was killed whilst in service.
However, all is not how it seems. By the end of the book he finds out the full truth about his father and mother.
Although only a few months have gone by within the books, Alex has matured much in that time and the reader perhaps even more so. As well as being fast-paced the book deals with some complex emotional issues. Alex wants to know more about his parents. We also see him a little closer to Jack, his young guardian.
There is a huge cliff-hanger at the end of the story. Is this the end of Alex? Well we know that it is not as there are another five books. However, when this book first came out the ending must have been shocking for fans. For the current reader, the ending just invites us to read the next book so that we can see how Alex gets out of this situation.
The book is 362 pages long, - considerably longer than earlier books - with blocked text and an adult but simple font. The chapters are a quite long. There are no illustrations.