Skeleton Key (Alex Rider Series #3)

Skeleton Key (Alex Rider Series #3)

4.5 447
by Anthony Horowitz

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Alex Rider has been through a lot for his fourteen years. He's been shot at by international terrorists, chased down a mountainside on a makeshift snowboard, and has stood face-to-face with pure evil. Twice, young Alex has managed to save the world. And twice, he has almost been killed doing it. But now Alex faces something even more dangerous. The desperation of a… See more details below


Alex Rider has been through a lot for his fourteen years. He's been shot at by international terrorists, chased down a mountainside on a makeshift snowboard, and has stood face-to-face with pure evil. Twice, young Alex has managed to save the world. And twice, he has almost been killed doing it. But now Alex faces something even more dangerous. The desperation of a man who has lost everything he cared for: his country and his only son. A man who just happens to have a nuclear weapon and a serious grudge against the free world. To see his beloved Russia once again be a dominant power, he will stop at nothing. Unless Alex can stop him first... Uniting forces with America's own CIA for the first time, teen spy Alex Rider battles terror from the sun-baked beaches of Miami all the way to the barren ice fields of northernmost Russia. Come along for the thrilling ride of a lifetime.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Alex Rider, "the world's only teenaged secret agent," embarks on a third adventure in Skeleton Key by Anthony Horowitz. This time out, the British teen goes undercover as a ball boy at Wimbledon in the first stage of an assignment that leads to a showdown with a dastardly villain armed with nuclear weapons. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Third in the "Alex Rider" adventures, this offering—for those who don't know—is Horowitz and Britain's extension of Ian Fleming's James Bond, but for kids. Yes, fourteen-year-old Alex is a member (unwilling and unpaid) of MI6. Hauled from school at the whim of his masters, Alex begins this adventure by saving Wimbledon from a Chinese betting conspiracy. When the irate tong puts out a contract on our young hero, he is wafted to an island off Cuba to help the CIA track down a missing nuclear bomb. Things go from bad to worse, naturally, and when Alex's CIA "parents" are murdered, he finds himself in the clutches of an evil ex-Soviet general bound to destroy the world for revenge. Can Alex handle it? Silly question. For this black-belt, scuba-diving, horse-riding, crane-driving super teen nothing is impossible. All of the Fleming touches are borrowed, including MI6's tiny lethal toys, the characterizations of his intelligence "keepers"—and of course, the love interest. In this case she is tellingly named Sabina Pleasure. Overkill? Not in the context of the rest of the plot. Ian Fleming may be turning in his grave, but it's Tom Clancy who needs to keep an eye on young Alex. 2003, Philomel, Ages 10 to 14.
— Kathleen Karr
This book delivers another nonstop action adventure starring Alex Rider. It is a fast-paced read that certainly will make readers hold their breath until the very last page. The book reads like a movie with its attention to imagery and detail. Nevertheless, readers of the first two Alex Rider novels might feel disappointed by the lack of attention to the cliffhanger from the second novel. VOYA Codes: 3Q 4P M (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2003, Philomel, 272p, Anna Banana), Teen Reviewer
Third in the Alex Rider series, this suspenseful adventure follows Stormbreaker and Point Blank, but it isn't necessary to have read the other titles to enjoy this one. Alex's uncle and guardian was a spy for Britain's MI6; now that he's dead, 14-year-old Alex has been reluctantly pressed into continuing his work. Like a teenaged James Bond, Alex dispatches bad guys with his quick wits, special skills (such as karate and expert skateboarding), and helpful gadgets from MI6, like a disguised grenade and bubblegum that can expand to crack any lock. Here Alex sniffs out a plot by a Chinese triad and saves the Wimbledon tennis tournament, surfs a monstrous wave and survives a deadly attack by a Jet Ski—and that's just in the first few chapters, before the main plotline kicks in, concerning a Russian general who is in possession of a nuclear bomb. The general resides on Skeleton Key, a Cuban island, and the CIA borrows Alex to help find out what this madman is up to. Naturally, nothing less than the future of the world hangs in the balance, and it's up to Alex to defeat the general, as well as to survive a exploding ship, a shark attack, and various attempts on his life. There's action every step of the way, and the book barrels right along. Alex even acquires an admiring girlfriend in between escapades, to make his character even more Bond-like; but this is a pretty chaste relationship, and the gore is relatively minimal, too. There is some xenophobia here, however: the Brits are the good guys, the American incompetent, the Chinese and Russians evil. This adventure series is highly popular, though, and this new outing will please Alex's many fans. (An Alex Rider Adventure). KLIATTCodes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2003, Penguin Putnam, Philomel, 208p.,
— Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 5-10-Fans of Horowitz's Stormbreaker (2001) and Point Blank (2002, both Philomel), and newcomers to the series alike, will not be disappointed with this rip-roaring escapade featuring the 14-year-old spy. Trying to return to a "normal" life as a schoolboy after a mere four weeks since his last MI6 adventure, Alex Rider is recruited right off the soccer field to check out some suspicious goings-on at Wimbledon. This assignment catapults him into a series of life-threatening episodes, such as coming face to face with a great white shark, dodging bullets as he dives off a burning boat, and being tied to a conveyor belt that is moving toward the jaws of a gigantic grindstone in an abandoned sugar factory. Soon the teen is single-handedly taking on his most dangerous enterprise yet. His mission is nothing short of saving the world from a nuclear attack, engineered by the psychopathic and egomaniacal former commander of the Russian army. Alex is armed only with a few specially designed gadgets, which are disarmingly age-appropriate: a Gameboy that doubles as a Geiger counter, a cell phone whose aerial shoots out a drugged needle that is activated by pressing 999, a Tiger Woods figurine that doubles as a small grenade when its head is twisted just so. This page-turning thriller leaves readers breathless with anticipation. When at last Alex returns home, his love interest, Sabina Pleasure, asks where he has been. "Well, I was, sort of- busy," he replies in a classic, understated, James Bond kind of way.-Elizabeth Fernandez, Brunswick Middle School, Greenwich, CT Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Alex Rider Series, #3
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.00(d)
630L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 15 Years

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