2015, first published 2011
This is the ninth of the Alex Rider books. The pace and the tension have increased even more. There is a marked emotional tension this time as well. He gets even closer to Jack Starbright and we also learn that there has been a meaningful kiss between him and Sabine Pleasure.
Alex meets his doppelganger, Julius Grief. Grief is a clone of his father and in a previous novel has been made to look exactly like Alex. Alex kills for the first time. He confronts his evil “twin”.
Alan Blunt is about to be replaced by Mrs Jones as the head of M16. Blunt has fallen out of favour with the Prime Minister. At the end of the novel we learn that Blunt has acted in a devious way. All is not black and white. We are verging on YA material. Blunt comments that “A German philosopher once wrote that he who fights monsters must take care that he doesn’t become one himself. Our work is monstrous. I’m afraid there is no escaping it” (427). Is this foreshadowing something for Alex? The blurb on the back of the book describes this as “Alex’s final mission”. There is another book. Will Ale become a monster?
Alex is changed. Jack has died because of becoming involved in one of Alex’s activities. Alex has taken a life.
We have many adult points of view here. The first 107 pages are about various criminal activities and also some of Alan Blunt’s and Mrs Jones’ work. Blunt and Jones have a significant chapter towards the end of the novel. We are also in the point of view of Edward Pleasure near the end.
The novel ends on an upbeat note. Scorpia has been shut down and many of its members are arrested. Alex leaves London, taking very few belongings and goes to live with the Pleasures in San Francisco.
The book is 431 pages long with blocked text in a simple font.