Stormbreaker (Alex Rider Series #1)

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They told him his uncle died in a car accident. But fourteen-year-old Alex knows that's a lie, and the bullet holes in his uncle's windshield confirm his suspicions. But nothing could prepare him for the news that the uncle he always thought he knew was really a spy for MI6-Britain's top secret intelligence agency. Recruited to find his uncle's killers and complete his final mission, Alex suddenly finds himself caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

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New York, NY 2006 Trade paperback New. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 234 p. Contains: Illustrations. Alex Rider Adventures. Audience: Children/juvenile.

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Stormbreaker (Alex Rider Series #1)

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They told him his uncle died in a car accident. But fourteen-year-old Alex knows that's a lie, and the bullet holes in his uncle's windshield confirm his suspicions. But nothing could prepare him for the news that the uncle he always thought he knew was really a spy for MI6-Britain's top secret intelligence agency. Recruited to find his uncle's killers and complete his final mission, Alex suddenly finds himself caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

After the death of the uncle who had been his guardian, fourteen-year-old Alex Rider is coerced to continue his uncle's dangerous work for Britain's intelligence agency, MI6.

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Editorial Reviews

Alex Rider becomes the first fourteen-year-old MI6 agent when his uncle is assassinated. Alex is forced to take over the case involving a suspicious computer baron who has donated thousands of his newest, top-secret modules to British schools. This action-packed spy novel, the first in the projected Stormbreaker series, has all the clichés: a stony-faced hero, plenty of preposterous stunts—including using the rappelling cord to catch an airplane—terse dialogue, and the evil Egyptian, Russian, and Fräulein. There is not much else to the story, however, nor to Alex's character. Horowitz draws him out a little in the beginning as a reluctant spy who is unwilling to kill—although plenty of other people do kill each other in this story—but then loses him as the movielike plot predictably and explosively unfolds. This uncomplicated novel is fun fare enough for the Young Indiana Jones fan or reluctant reader. Although it offers little that a B movie does not, sophisticated readers will find it simplistic. Those readers looking for intrigue and suspense will be served better with John Marsden or Peter Dickinson. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P M J (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2001, Philomel, 208p, $16.99. Ages 12 to 15. Reviewer: Nina Lindsay SOURCE: VOYA, August 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 3)
To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, May 2001: Agent 007 comes to the middle school! Horowitz, a British writer of thrillers and mysteries for the BBC and a successful writer of children's books, offers here a nonstop thriller featuring Alex Rider, 14 years old, who is enlisted in the British Secret Service to investigate the reason his uncle was murdered. From the first chapter, Alex manages stunning escapes from near-death situations. Like James Bond, he has all manner of skills and intelligence to call upon, and some useful toys (like those gadgets given to 007 before each mission) that are used just in the nick of time throughout his adventure. In this first mission, Alex is called to investigate why a multimillionaire is donating advanced computers to all the schools in Great Britain. Alex impersonates a boy who won a contest to go to the secret compound in Cornwall where the computers are assembled. It turns out that the crazed tycoon is planning to use the donated computers to spread deadly germs throughout the country—but Alex single-handedly prevents the disaster. Thrills all the way. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2000, Penguin, Puffin, 192p.,
— Claire Rosser
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Alex Rider's world is turned upside down when he discovers that his uncle and guardian has been murdered. The 14-year-old makes one discovery after another until he is sucked into his uncle's undercover world. The Special Operations Division of M16, his uncle's real employer, blackmails the teen into serving England. After two short weeks of training, Alex is equipped with several special toys like a Game Boy with unique cartridges that allow it to scan, fax, and emit smoke bombs. Alex's mission is to complete his uncle's last assignment, to discover the secret that Herod Sayle is hiding behind his generous donation of one of his supercomputers to every school in the country. When Alex enters Sayle's compound in Port Tallon, he discovers a strange world of secrets and villains including Mr. Grin, an ex-circus knife catcher, and Yassen Gregorovich, professional hit man. The novel provides bang after bang as Alex experiences and survives unbelievably dangerous episodes and eventually crashes through the roof of the Science Museum to save the day. Alex is a strong, smart hero. If readers consider luck the ruling factor in his universe, they will love this James Bond-style adventure. With short cliff-hanger chapters and its breathless pace, it is an excellent choice for reluctant readers. Warning: Suspend reality.-Lynn Bryant, formerly at Navarre High School, FL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
What if James Bond had started spying as a teenager? This thriller pits 14-year-old Alex Rider against a mad billionaire industrialist. Non-stop action keeps the intrigue boiling as Alex tries to stop the remarkably evil Herod Sayles from murdering Britain's schoolchildren through biological warfare. Alex begins as an innocent boy shocked by the death of his Uncle Ian in a traffic accident. Suspicious of the official explanation, he investigates and finds Ian's car riddled with bullet holes. He narrowly escapes being crushed in the car as it's demolished, then climbs out of a 15-story window to break into Ian's office. He learns that Ian was a spy, and reluctantly joins Britain's MI6 intelligence agency. After surviving brutal training and armed with stealthy spy tools, Alex infiltrates Sayles's operation as the teenage tester of the "Stormbreaker," a new computer Sayles is giving to British schools. Thereafter he survives murderous ATV drivers, an underwater swim in an abandoned mine, and an encounter with a Portuguese man-o-war jellyfish before hitching a ride on an already airborne plane. The plot is, of course, preposterous, but young readers won't care as they zoom through numerous cliffhangers. This is the first book in a series planned by the author, and may prove useful for reluctant readers looking for excitement. (Fiction. 12-14)
From the Publisher
"Slam-bang action, spying and high-tech gadgets . . . . a non-stop thriller!" - Kirkus
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142406564
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/17/2006
  • Series: Alex Rider Series, #1
  • Edition description: Tie-in Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Age range: 12 - 15 Years
  • Lexile: 670L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Anthony Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz's life might have been copied from the pages of Charles Dickens or the Brothers Grimm. Born in 1956 in Stanmore, Middlesex, to a family of wealth and status, Anthony was raised by nannies, surrounded by servants and chauffeurs. His father, a wealthy businessman, was, says Mr. Horowitz, "a fixer for Harold Wilson." What that means exactly is unclear — "My father was a very secretive man," he says— so an aura of suspicion and mystery surrounds both the word and the man. As unlikely as it might seem, Anthony's father, threatened with bankruptcy, withdrew all of his money from Swiss bank accounts in Zurich and deposited it in another account under a false name and then promptly died. His mother searched unsuccessfully for years in attempt to find the money, but it was never found. That too shaped Anthony's view of things. Today he says, "I think the only thing to do with money is spend it." His mother, whom he adored, eccentrically gave him a human skull for his 13th birthday. His grandmother, another Dickensian character, was mean-spirited and malevolent, a destructive force in his life. She was, he says, "a truly evil person", his first and worst arch villain. "My sister and I danced on her grave when she died," he now recalls.

A miserably unhappy and overweight child, Anthony had nowhere to turn for solace. "Family meals," he recalls, "had calories running into the thousands…. I was an astoundingly large, round child…." At the age of eight he was sent off to boarding school, a standard practice of the times and class in which he was raised. While being away from home came as an enormous relief, the school itself, Orley Farm, was a grand guignol horror with a headmaster who flogged the boys till they bled. "Once the headmaster told me to stand up in assembly and in front of the whole school said, 'This boy is so stupid he will not be coming to Christmas games tomorrow.' I have never totally recovered." To relieve his misery and that of the other boys, he not unsurprisingly made up tales of astounding revenge and retribution.

So how did an unhappy boy, from a privileged background, metamorphose into the creator of Alex Rider, fourteen-year-old spy for Britain's MI6? Although his childhood permanently damaged him, it also gave him a gift — it provided him with rich source material for his writing career. He found solace in boyhood in the escapism of the James Bond films, he says. He claims that his two sons now watch the James Bond films with the same tremendous enjoyment he did at their age. Bond's glamour translates perfectly to the 14-year-old psyche, the author says. "Bond had his cocktails, the car and the clothes. Kids are just as picky. It's got to be the right Nike trainers (sneakers), the right skateboard. And I genuinely think that 14-year-olds are the coolest people on the planet. It's this wonderful, golden age, just on the cusp of manhood when everything seems possible."

Alex Rider is unwillingly recruited at the age of fourteen to spy for the British secret service, MI6. Forced into situations that most average adults would find terrifying and probably fatal, young Alex rarely loses his cool although at times he doubts his own courage. Using his intelligence and creativity, and aided by non-lethal gadgets dreamed up by MI6's delightfully eccentric, overweight and disheveled Smithers, Alex is able to extricate himself from situations when all seems completely lost. What is perhaps more terrifying than the deeply dangerous missions he finds himself engaged in, is the attitude of his handlers at MI6, who view the boy as nothing more than an expendable asset.

The highly successful Alex Rider novels include Stormbreaker, Point Blank, Skeleton Key, and the recent Eagle Strike.

Anthony Horowitz is perhaps the busiest writer in England. He has been writing since the age of eight, and professionally since the age of twenty. He writes in a comfortable shed in his garden for up to ten hours per day. In addition to the highly successful Alex Rider books, he has also written episodes of several popular TV crime series, including Poirot, Murder in Mind, Midsomer Murders and Murder Most Horrid. He has written a television series Foyle's War, which recently aired in the United States, and he has written the libretto of a Broadway musical adapted from Dr. Seuss's book, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. His film script The Gathering has just finished production. And…oh yes…there are more Alex Rider novels in the works. Anthony has also written the Diamond Brothers series.

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Read an Excerpt


by Anthony Horowitz

This is the missing chapter… the one that never made it into my book,

All you need to know…

Alex Rider has been plucked out of school and sent for training with the Special forces in Wales. He has been given a code name – Cub – and the other men in his patrol are Wolf, Eagle, Snake and Fox. All of them, and in particular Wolf, resent having a boy in a man’s world and the training period has been bitter and tough…

Alex woke suddenly, brutally, wrenched out of his sleep. He was aware of hands, pulling away the covers. A face in a black, balaclava mask. Two pitiless eyes gazing at him as if he were an exhibit in a museum. He opened his mouth to speak, but before he could say a word, he was jerked out of bed and into the night. It was cold outside, with a light drizzle hanging in the air. Alex was dressed only in shorts and a T-shirt. He shivered, wondering what the hell was going on.

The SAS training camp had been taken over while he slept, exhausted by the exercises of the day before. There were vehicles parked all around him, lights, men moving in and out of the shadows, the crackle of a distant radio. Alex wondered briefly what had happened to the men in his squadron but then decided he was actually much more concerned about what was going to happen to him. Two men had taken hold of him. His arms were clamped between them. He was half-carried across the yard, his feet dragging in the mud behind him. If he had been a sack of potatoes, they wouldn’t have treated him less gently.

They took him into a half-derelict barn on the other side of the camp. The SAS had been based in what had once been a farm and Alex guessed that this building might have been used to store feed. It still had an earthy, slightly sour smell. But there was nothing in there now apart from a chair, a naked light bulb and a hard, cement floor. Moisture trickled down the rough, brick walls. Alex was slammed into the chair and pinned in place. Another man appeared from nowhere. So now there were three of them, all dressed in battle fatigues and balaclavas. They surrounded him.

‘Your name,’ one of them demanded.

‘It’s Cub,’ Alex replied.

‘Your real name.’

‘I can’t give you that . . .’

‘What are you doing with the SAS? You’re a bloody schoolboy! Why are you here?’

‘I’m not allowed to tell you . . .’

A face closed in on him. Alex had never seen such ugly eyes. The mouth twisted behind the stocking mask. ‘You can tell us!’ it sneered. ‘I’m giving you permission.’

‘My name is Cub,’ Alex repeated. It was the code name he had been given when he first arrived. None of the men in the SAS used their true identities.

The eyes narrowed. Alex could see the anger and the cruelty they contained. They belonged to a man who hadn’t expected to be defied– and certainly not by a teenager.

‘You will tell us,’ he snarled. ‘Trust me on that. You’ll tell us everything we want to know before this night is over.’

A signal must have been given. Alex was pulled off the chair and manhandled out of the room, his toes scraping against the concrete. He was fully awake now and his eyes had got used to the dark so he was able to make out more details of what was happening in the camp. They had been invaded. It was as simple as that. The men were all soldiers – obviously English. But they were the enemy. Who had sent them? What exactly did they want?

There were three trucks parked to one side and – beyond them – an awkward-looking vehicle that looked like a caravan except that it was perched high up on six, thick rubber wheels. More soldiers were moving between the buildings. As he was taken across the yard, he saw Wolf being dragged the other way. The SAS man was no friend of his. In fact, nobody had tried harder to make him feel unwelcome. But now, for a brief second, their eyes met. Alex was astonished to see that Wolf was looking scared.

The invaders carried Alex over to one of the other farm buildings and threw him inside. There was a metal door, which slammed shut behind him. He had landed on the floor, and he picked himself up slowly. That was when he saw that he wasn’t alone.

The three other members of his unit – Snake, Fox and Eagle – were sitting, slumped on wooden benches. Like him, they were dressed only in their night clothes and he guessed they had also been rudely woken and pulled out of bed. Fox, the youngest of the three, had been hurt. There was a trickle of blood coming out of the corner of his mouth. His fair hair was damp and untidy. The other two men seemed to be deep in thought. Nobody was saying anything.

‘What’s happening?’ Alex asked.

There was no answer. Alex felt a spurt of annoyance.

None of the men in the unit ever spoke to him. He had begun to get used to it. But this was different.

For once they were all in the same boat – and it seemed to be sinking fast.

‘Tell me what’s going on!’ Alex demanded.

Fox glanced at Eagle, who nodded slowly. ‘RTI,’ he said, and spat.


‘RTI training. Resistance to Interrogation.’

Eagle took over. ‘They’re testing our ability to keep quiet if we’re captured by the enemy,’ he explained. ‘We tell them anything except our code names, we’re binned. We’re out of the SAS!’

‘Who are they?’ Alex asked.

‘Green Jackets.’ This time is was Snake who had answered. ‘A local unit. They hate our guts – because they know we’re the best. So they really enjoy this.’

Alex’s head swam. British soldiers attacking British soldiers . . . and it was all just another training exercise! Not for the first time, he wondered how he had managed to get caught up in all this.

‘We talk, we get thrown out,’ Snake continued. ‘And that’s exactly what they want.’

‘But it’s just an exercise,’ Alex said. ‘They can’t hurt us.’

Fox smiled and Alex saw the blood on his teeth. ‘You think I just slipped?’ he asked.

‘They can do what they like,’ Snake said. ‘One of us winds up in hospital, they can say it was just an accident.’

‘And accidents do happen!’ Eagle spat in disgust.

Ten minutes later, the door opened again and Wolf was thrown in. He landed flat on his stomach and Alex saw that his head and the upper part of his body were soaking wet. There was a bruise on the side of his cheek.

‘The pigs!’ he rasped. He lay where he was, his shoulders heaving. ‘The lousy, stinking . . .’ Slowly, he pulled himself off the floor. ‘They laid into me!’ he exclaimed, and Alex could hear the surprise in his voice. ‘They were really enjoying themselves!’

‘Did you tell them anything?’ Eagle asked.

‘Of course not.’ Wolf ’s eyes settled on Alex. ‘What about you, Cub? I bet you told them. I bet you blabbed.’

‘No, I didn’t.’ Alex was angry now. Wolf had picked on him from the day he had arrived. He had never trusted him, never even given him a chance.

‘But you will . . . and you might as well know now. If you blow it, we all blow it. Because we’re a unit. It only takes one of us to talk and we’ll all be out of here.’

‘So what happens now?’ Alex asked.

‘They let us sweat it out,’ Fox said. ‘It might be an hour. It might be a few minutes. But one thing you can be sure about. They’ll come for us again . . .’

Alex ignored him. He went over to the door and examined it. The door was a solid metal sheet, fitting into a metal frame, bolted from the outside. The room itself had once been used for dipping sheep. There were a few shelves, rotten now, with some rusting canisters that might once have contained chemicals. A single barred window looked out onto the night. He glanced at it briefly, but it was obvious he wasn’t going to get out that way. He examined the floor. It was made up of heavy paving slabs, but in the middle there was a trench – square and about half a meter deep, lined with concrete. There was a circular metal plate at the far end. It reminded Alex of an oversized bath plug. Then he realized what it was. A manhole cover.

‘What’s this?’ Alex demanded.

Wolf ignored him. But Fox slowly turned his head.

‘There’s some sort of drain,’ Alex said. ‘Can you help me get the cover off?’

Wolf scowled. ‘You really think they’d bung us in here if there was a drain big enough for us to crawl out?’ he asked.

Alex examined the cover. Wolf was right. It was barely even the size of a dustbin lid. But even so . . .

‘You’re adults,’ he said simply.

Fox saw what he was thinking. The Green Jackets would have used this place before. But only for fully grown men. Alex was half their size – slim for his age. Wolf still didn’t move, but Fox and Eagle came over to the trench. Somehow, they managed to get their fingers under the heavy lid. They prised it off to reveal a narrow tunnel, running out of the room, underneath the wall. Alex looked down, already wishing he hadn’t suggested this. The tunnel was pitch black and slimy from recent rain. It might run a hundred meters before it surfaced. It might not surface at all.

‘You think you can get through that?’ Fox asked.

Alex nodded, not trusting himself to speak.

‘Here!’ Snake had produced a small torch. He flicked it on. ‘You’re lucky. I always sleep with this in my pocket,’ he said.

‘Yeah,’ Alex nodded. ‘This really is my lucky night.’

He knelt down beside the opening. He could already smell the chemicals rising up out of the mud. He wondered how long it had been since the sheep dip had last been used. Could he really do this? For a moment, he doubted himself.

Then Wolf spoke. ‘Good luck,’ he said. It was the first two words he had ever addressed to Alex that weren’t a jibe or an insult.

That decided him. Alex wriggled forwards on his stomach and entered the tunnel.

It was pitch black. But for Snake’s torch, he wouldn’t have had the courage even to begin. Alex was squeezing himself into a circular opening that was hardly bigger than his shoulders. He knew that he was only a few meters underground, but even so, he felt as if he was buried alive and had to force himself to breathe evenly, not to panic. The floor of the tunnel was wet and slippery . . . at least that helped him a little, making it easier for him to slide himself along. But the stink of ancient chemicals made him sick. The torch was clamped between his teeth and he could feel the bile rising in his throat. He wanted to scream. He wished he had never volunteered.

He willed himself on. The beam of the torch showed that the tunnel continued straight, then came to a sudden halt. A nasty thought suddenly sprang into Alex’s mind. If he came to a dead end, would he be able to maneuver himself backwards again? At least Snake and the others knew he was there. If he didn’t reappear soon, they would raise the alarm. And hopefully someone would reach him before he passed out and suffocated in the cold slime and the darkness.

He came to the end and twisted his head round, trying to look up. It seemed that the roof was solid. Somehow he managed to get his hand above his head and felt a hard metal surface. A second manhole cover? He pushed. Nothing happened. Alex swore silently through gritted teeth. He had come all this way for nothing. The exit was sealed. But then he remembered Fox and Eagle, prising off the first lid. It had been heavy, even for two men. He put his hand flat against the metal and pushed again. This time there was a little movement. He pressed upwards with all his strength and was rewarded by a grating sound as the second manhole cover came free. Delicious night air flooded in through a crack and he saw the glimmer of moonlight. He dropped the torch, letting it disappear into the darkness. If there was anyone up there on the surface, he didn’t want to advertise that he was on the way. Using both hands now, he slid the cover far enough back to create a crescent-shaped doorway to freedom. He waited a few seconds, listening out for the sound of approaching footsteps, then pulled himself through. His head came up in the middle of the courtyard. There was nobody in sight. Filthy and gasping, Alex emerged into the night air, then squatted down, searching for any sign of movement. He was still dressed only in the T-shirt and shorts. The material was soaked through. Dark green slime oozed down his legs. He caught his breath. He must look like a nightmare! The creature from the black lagoon . . .

He took his bearings. The building where the SAS men were being held was right in front of him, but he could see at once that getting them out wouldn’t be as easy as he had hoped. The door wasn’t just bolted. There was a big padlock on it – and even if Alex managed to break it open, he’d make too much noise. They’d all be captured again before they had time to move.

The half-ruined barn where he had been interrogated was on the other side, some distance away. It seemed to be empty, but at the moment there was nobody left to interrogate. Now his attention was drawn to the vehicle that he had noticed when he had been dragged over to the cell. It was parked on a slope, about twenty meters away: a rectangular green box perched high up on thick rubber wheels. It had reminded him before of a caravan. Certainly it had windows. And there were lights coming from inside. But looking at it again, he saw that it was more like a portakabin or even a tank. It was an ugly thing. Only the army could have dreamed up something like it.

In fact the vehicle was an S-250 Grass Shelter, standard army issue. The GRASS stood for Gichner, Relocatable Accommodations Shelter System and it was being used as a temporary base by the men who had grabbed Alex and his unit. On an impulse, he hurried over to it, crouching low, still afraid of being seen. But for the moment he was safe. The men inside were too high up. Even if they had chanced to glance out of the windows, they would have looked across the courtyard, well above his head.

One of the windows was open. He heard voices coming from inside.

‘Let’s get back to them, then!’

‘Finish your tea. We’ve got all night.’ Alex recognized the second voice. It belonged to the man who had threatened him. ‘I’m really going to enjoy this . . .’

‘Let’s use the bath,’ a third voice said. ‘Fill it up with freezing water and try half-drowning them.’

‘What about the kid?’ This was the first voice again. ‘I say we start with the kid. He’ll be easy to break.’

‘Yeah . . . break his neck!’ someone said, and they all laughed.

Alex knew he didn’t have much time. He quickly examined the Grass Shelter, the fat tires, resting on chocks. The brake lever at the back . . .

The idea came to him instantly.

Getting the chocks out was easier than he had thought it would be, but there was a complicated lock system on the brake that took him a few precious moments to work out. A lever with a button, a pin holding everything in place. He slid the pin out, but the button was so stiff that he had to use both hands, and all his strength, to force it down. There was a loud click. He had released the lever and he gently lowered it. The brake was off – but the Grass shelter didn’t move. Alex rested a shoulder against the back and pushed. He was lucky. The soldiers must have parked in a hurry. The slope was fairly steep. It only took a little effort and the wheels began to turn.

There were six Green Jackets inside the shelter. Snake had been right about them. Three of them had once been rejected by the SAS and so they hated anyone who had been allowed to join. The other three just hated everyone. All of them had been happy to volunteer for RTI training. In fact, every year, there was quite a queue to see who would get the privilege.

Now, one of them looked out of the window. ‘Boss . . .’ he muttered.

The man he was talking to was huge with a shaven head, small eyes and two gold-capped teeth. “What is it?’ he demanded.

‘Are we moving?’ the first man asked.

The Grass Shelter was indeed moving. It was already rolling down the hill and it was picking up speed all the time. As Alex watched, it bounced through the long grass and smashed into a hedge. There was the sound of branches scratching against metal – but there was no way the hedge could hold back anything so big. It continued through and – moving faster than ever – disappeared into the night.

Inside the shelter, the Green Jackets were scrambling for the door. Hot tea was splashing all around them. Mugs had rolled off the table and smashed. Magazines and briefing documents were scattering. The shaven-headed man managed to grab onto the handle . . .

. . . just as the Grass Shelter catapulted off the edge of a cliff.

The SAS camp was in the Brecon Beacons. Mountains and cliffs had all played their part in the training. In a way, the Green Jackets were lucky. They were only a hundred and fifty meters up in the air and there was a lake – ice cold and black – waiting to break their fall. The result of Alex’s work would be two broken legs, a broken collarbone, eleven cracked ribs and a severe concussion. But nobody would actually be killed. Meanwhile, Alex had already turned his attention to the dipping shed. He found a piece of metal and used it to snap open the padlock, then dropped it and opened the door.

Wolf was the first out. He took a look round the deserted farm. Then he turned his eyes back to Alex.

‘Where is everyone?’ he demanded.

Alex shrugged. ‘I think they’ve sloped off,’ he said.

Based on the Alex Rider TM books
© Anthony Horowitz 2006
Licensed by Walker Books Ltd, London

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 966 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 974 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2008

    Alex Rider is a great kid that has to deal with alot of stress and action, but I love to read the books and can't put them down

    I thought this book was great, it was an outstanding start to the Alex Rider Series. I thought it had alot of action and I didn't want to put the book down. Being a teenager myself it seemed amazing that a kid younger than me could do this stuff. I can't wait to read the other books and I hope you make movies for them.

    35 out of 39 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 17, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Wardrip aka "The Genius" for

    Fourteen-year old Alex Rider knows something bad has happened when the doorbell rings in the middle of the night. He soon learns that his caretaker uncle, Ian Rider, was killed in an automobile accident on his way home. A banker who works for Royal & General, Alex's uncle was a fine man who wasn't home much--but he's still devastated by his death. Except the appearance of some strange people who claim to be his uncle's co-workers, a gun-toting man at his uncle's funeral, and the findings of his uncle's bullet-ridden car make Alex think that there's more than meets the eye to the "automobile accident" story. <BR/><BR/>Alex soons find out that his Uncle Ian's life, at least where he himself was concerned, was based on a lie. Ian Rider was a spy, employed by the Special Operations Divison of MI6. And the last case he was working on, concerning multi-millionaire Herod Sayle, was a case that got Ian Rider killed. Now Mr. Blunt and Mrs. Jones, head of SOD, want Alex to pick up where his uncle, their operative, left off--infiltrate the compound where Herod Sayle is building his new Stormbreaker computers, and find out what Ian Rider had to die for. <BR/><BR/>What follows is an action-packed story of danger, bullets, viruses, and out-and-out excitement. At fourteen, Alex is savvy, trained in martial arts, can speak multiple languages, and is, in fact, a truly bliddy good spy! <BR/><BR/>Anthony Horowitz has devised a real winner with Alex Rider and his new career (although he was actually forced into working for MI6), and I can't wait to read the next book in the series and see what mission Alex will be sent on next!

    24 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2012

    8 years of love

    I first read this book when I was twelve. Now at twenty and working on my English major, I still find it captivating! The writing is simplistic enough so young kids can follow along, but has a serious enough story for adults who like adventure. Perfect for those days you want your imagination to run wild without over exerting your mind. A.H. descriptions are wonderful. One of my favorite series of all time, highly recommended.

    15 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    What a great book!

    This book is amazing. It's about a kid who's Uncle used to work for a spy agency. So the boy or Alex Rider joins the agency. It's action packed and you just will want to read more and more. I definently recomend this to anyone who is thinking about reading this. This is totally a must read! =)

    14 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2008

    All action-loving teens must read Alex Rider

    I loved this book! Alex Rider could totally kick James Bond's butt in a fight. The stunts and the gadgets were unrealistic, but who really wants to read a spy book that is bound to the very limited confines of reality? Anthony Horowitz is a great author. The characters and the scenery jump off the pages, making it feel like you're actually there, watching the story unfold. I could not put this book down. Though the series appears to be aimed at boys, many girls, like myself, will like this book as well.

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 21, 2009


    Personally, I thought the book was boring. It could have had more action and could have been a bit different. I really love books that have action right away. I read this one book called Maximum Ride by James Patterson and there was so much action; it actually caught my attention the first sentence. This book didn't do that. Like every book the beginning is boring because the writer wants to make sure the reader knows what's going on before the so called action comes. Here's a bit of what the book is about.
    In London, a boy named Alex Rider just lost his uncle and he doesn't understand why. The police say he was in a car crash but the evidence just isn't right. What Alex finds out is that is uncle is a spy and works for the MI-6, Britain's top-secret intelligence agency. What's more shocking is that Alex now has to take over the family business. His uncle Ian died during a mission and it's Alex's responsibility to finish it. Alex goes on a mission to spy on this guy named Sayle who has made a revolutionary computer called the Stormbreaker. It's based on a completely new technology. Sayle, the owner of Sayles Enterprise, is planning to give thousands of these computers to every school in England to thank the country for giving him a new home. The MI-6 thinks it's too good to be true. Alex goes undercover and finds the real reason for these computers. Alex is about the have the ride of his life. Will Alex finish the mission or die the same way as his uncle?
    I recommend this book to anyone who likes action with spies and gadgets. I don't recommend it for people who like action page after page after page. This book is for people who are willing to wait for the action to come and when it does they are ecstatic. Now I'm not saying this was the worst book ever but it's just not the book for me.

    11 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Pick up something else

    You know how there are those books that you see everywhere, in every library, in every bookstore, and then one day you just break down and pick it up? This is one of those books.
    And I should have just left it.

    The first few pages were fine--I was all prepared to get sucked into this book . . . I mean, I'd seen it EVERYWHERE, after all. It had to be good, right? It happened with the Pendragon books, it'll happen here too, yeah?

    And then everything after those pages was complete nonsense. I was immediately disenchanted. But before I go into large-scale issues, I'd like to mention that these are the paragraphs that immediately set me against this book:

    "'We can't just send in another agent . . . He'll be expecting a replacement. Somehow we have to trick him."
    "We have to send someone in who won't be noticed. Someone who can look around and report back without being seen. We were considering sending down a woman. She might be able to slip in as a cleaner or a kitchen helper.'"

    . . . I kid you not, this is actually in the book. The whole novel had this sexist voice, and the worst of it is that this is set in the current time. Really! She can slip in as a cleaner or a kitchen helper.

    Also, a thing of note: the only non-white in this book was the villain . . .

    The whole book was empty. Empty motives propelling empty actions. I couldn't even tell you what Alex's character is like. He's just a cardboard vessel that the "plot" throws around. Not to mention that I was shaking my head at each new "twist" because they were all impossible and completely ridiculous. I can't even tell you how many times I've had to close the book for a moment to groan and try to surpress the urge to throw the thing at the wall (it might have been the fact that it's a library book that saved it).

    Dialogue was sometimes laughable . . . and way out of character. Alex, a 14-year-old boy saying "Nor can I" (or something along those lines)? Really? Does that actually happen or . . . ?

    Oh and I wouldn't want to leave out this lovely example expressed by the villain: "'You've done well, Alex. . . I congratulate you. And I feel you deserve a reward. So I'm going to tell you everything."

    This is great literature right here.

    It's like Horowitz is trying to reinforce the assumed notion: oh kids are only interested in violence and action and BOOMS! Everything else is dispensable.
    Because at the end I think I counted at least 4-5 huge mushroom explosions. That were completely unnecessary. But OH GOD EXPLOSIONS, MAN.
    He's trying to trick his readers into thinking something epic is happening when it's really something trivial.

    I'd advise everyone against reading this book. It may keep young readers turning pages, but there's better literature out there that'll do the same without the cheap effects and gimmicks.

    9 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2009


    Stormbreaker is probably not the best book in the Alex Rider series. The plot is not very original, the characters are far too two-dimensional, and the imagery is not in the least bit descriptive. Although Stormbreaker was not very good, the rest of the series isn't as bad. Anthony Horowitz improves with Point Blank, and with Skeleton Key and Eagle Strike, the series reaches its climax. Scorpia is very good as well, with Ark Angel being somewhat disappointing and Snakehead bringing the series to an adequate conclusion for now. The eighth book, Crocodile Tears, and its release date are soon to be announced.

    7 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2008

    The Little James Bond

    The book Stormbreaker as a book with nonstop action. It is about a boy named Alex Rider who is 14 and lives with his uncle Ian Rider. One day he cane fine from school and found out from his housekeeper Jack that his uncle is dead. He thought that the way his uncle died did not sound right so he put the clues together. When he figured out his uncle had actually been shot he got suspicious. Then a secret organization called M16 told him to come by their building. When he did they said that his uncle had actually been a spy and wanted him Alex to finish off the mission. If Alex does not, M16 will mess up his future and it could be the end of England. The whole book was great. Every chapter was interesting and filled with important details. I really couldn¿t relate to the book very well but most people aren¿t spys. This book is part of the Alex Rider Series. It is the firdt bllk and the next one is Point Blank. Boys from the ages12-14 might like this book. It is a book with a lot of action, suspense, and mystery. If you like those three things I recommend this book for you.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2012


    I bought the book and all i got was the free sample
    Nothing but about two sentences of the book
    I cant even write an accurate review because i CANT READ THE BOOK

    5 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2013




    3 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Couldn't Even Finish It

    First of all, it was extremely boring and the suspense was practically pointless. And it was horribly written. There are many, many places where Anthony Horowitz could have used better words. The editor must not have been very good, either. I do not recommend this. It can't even continue reading it, it is just so horrid.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2008

    sick nasty best book of my life

    stormbreaker. a computer of unlimited tasks. thats wht alex rider is after in this book.this book os amazing in alot of ways. it is very action packed. it is adventuous and defiinantly a good read. it is also mysterious. alex rider is a good book series especiallt after uve finished the artemis fowl series. i would recommend this book to any one that likes mysteries and secret agent things. this book all in all is amazing.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2008

    This is awesome! Keep reading the series!

    Do you want to have a book that will keep you reading? If so this is the one for you. I felt that this book was great because you can really visualize Alex Rider's adventures all throughout the book, plus you get to read two whole series from Anthony Horowitz. If you like this book, read the whole series because they are all fantastic!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    Great book

    To all you folks who dont know if you really want to buy this book:
    This book is very very good i think anyone from 10-30 will love this book. It pulls you in from the start and keeps you on the edge of your seat through out the whole story. Worth youre money and youre time!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2012

    Good book


    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2012

    sample :(

    Whats the point of a sample if its one and a half sentences? Not sure if i really want this book. The reviews are mixed and the sample definately did not help.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2012

    Great Book!

    Stormbreaker is about a fourteen year old kid who has an uncle that was secretly a spy. His Uncle died on a mission, and the agency needs someone knew who won't get caught. That's when Alex comes in to play. This book is chalk full of adventure and always keeps you reading. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Writer makes it fun and avoids the outlandish

    I look for books that can get kids who are currently completely caught up in video to take up reading as a fun thing to do. The idea that a youth is going to take up a mission for his murdered uncle in the British Secret Service is outlandish at its face, but the author deftly steps around it as he tells his story. He does create a boy of truly unusual talents, versatility, and pluck, but he has a plausible story behind this personal development. Later on, when the boy on several occasions gets himself into mortal peril, the author doesn't have him do something unbelievable to extricate himself. Instead he depicts him as a kid who knows how to keep his head and to take advantage of lucky breaks as they appear. I think this is a good starter book for a youth to use in learning to read for pleasure, and I gave a copy of this to a friend for her son for that reason. The other book I am recommending may be for a little younger reader, but I enjoyed it when I did my screening read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2007

    A spectacular and original read...

    I first read this book when I was still a kid and became a big fan of the series. The action, storyline, simplicity yet uniqueness, and other components worked well together. While I enjoyed it very much at the time, I decided to read it again as a young adult. It was just as good if not better, due to the fact that I could visualize the scenes more efficiently. So whether you're a kid or a teenager, you are sure to enjoy this thrilling novel! This may just be the book to get you back into reading, again. 'My other recommended books are for more mature audiences, however.'

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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