CHERUB agents are highly trained, extremely talentedand all under the age of seventeen. For official purposes, these agents do not exist. They are sent out on missions to spy on terrorists, hack into crucial documents, and gather intel on global threats—all without gadgets or weapons. It is an exceptionally dangerous job, but these agents have one crucial advantage: adults never suspect that teens are spying on them.
James is the latest CHERUB recruit. He’s a bit of a troublemaker, but he’s also brilliant. And CHERUB needs him. James has no idea what to expect, but he’s out of options. Before he can start in the field he must first survive one hundred grueling days of basic training, where even the toughest recruits don’t make it to the end....
About the Author
Robert Muchamore was born in Islington, England. He still lives there, and works as a private investigator. These are his first novels.
Read an Excerpt
Mac drove James across the CHERUB campus in a golf buggy. They stopped outside a traditional Japanese-style building with a single-span roof made of giant sequoia logs. The surrounding area had a combed gravel garden and a pond stuffed with orange fish.
“This building is new,” Mac said. “One of our pupils uncovered a fraud involving fake medicine. She saved hundreds of lives and billions of yen for a Japanese drug company. The Japanese thanked us by paying for the new dojo.”
“What’s a dojo?” James asked.
“A training hall for martial arts. It’s a Japanese word.”
James and Mac stepped inside. Thirty kids wearing white pajamas tied with black or brown belts were sparring, twisting one another into painful positions, or getting flipped over and springing effortlessly back up. A stern Japanese lady paced among them, stopping occasionally to scream criticism in a mix of Japanese and English that James couldn’t understand.
Mac led James to a smaller room. Its floor was covered with springy blue matting. A wiry kid was standing at the back doing stretches. He was about four inches shorter than James, in a karate suit with a black belt.
“Take your shoes and socks off, James,” Mac said. “Have you done martial arts before?”
“I went a couple of times when I was eight,” James said. “I got bored. It was nothing like what’s going on out there. Everyone was rubbish.”
“This is Bruce,” Mac said. “He’s going to spar with you.”
Bruce walked over, bowed and shook James’s hand. James felt confident as he squashed Bruce’s bony little fingers. Bruce might know a few fancy moves but James reckoned his size and weight advantage would counter them.
“Rules,” Mac said. “The first to win five submissions is the winner. An opponent can submit by speaking or by tapping his hand on the mat. Either opponent can withdraw from the bout at any time. You can do anything to get a submission except hitting the testicles or eye gouging. Do you both understand?”
Both boys nodded. Mac handed James a gum shield.
“Stand two meters apart and prepare for the first bout.”
The boys walked to the center of the mat.
“I’ll bust your nose,” Bruce said.
James smiled. “You can try, shorty.”
“Fight,” Mac said.
Bruce moved so fast James didn’t see the palm of his hand until it had smashed into his nose. A fine mist of blood sprayed as James stumbled backwards. Bruce swept James’s feet away, tipping him on to the mat. Bruce turned James on to his chest and twisted his wrist into a painful lock. He used his other hand to smear James’s face in the blood dripping from his nose.
James yelled through his gum shield, “I submit!”
Bruce got off. James couldn’t believe Bruce had half killed him in five seconds. He wiped his bloody face on the arm of his T-shirt.
“Ready?” Mac asked.
James’s nose was clogged with blood. He gasped for air.
“Hang on, Mac,” Bruce said. “What hand does he write with?”
James was grateful for a few seconds’ rest but wondered why Bruce had asked such a weird question.
“What hand do you write with, James?” Mac asked.
“My left,” James said.
There was no way Bruce was getting the early hit in this time. James lunged forward. Trouble was, Bruce had gone by the time James got there. James felt himself being lifted from behind. Bruce threw James on to his back then sat astride him with his thighs crushing the wind out of him. James tried to escape but he couldn’t even breathe. Bruce grabbed James’s right hand and twisted his thumb until it made a loud crack.
James cried out. Bruce clenched his fist and spat out his gum shield. “I’m gonna smash the nose again if you don’t submit.”
The hand looked a lot scarier than when James had shaken it a couple of minutes earlier.
“I submit,” James said.
James held his thumb as he stumbled to his feet. A drip of blood from his nose ran over his top lip into his mouth. The mat was covered in red smudges.
“You want to carry on?” Mac asked.
James nodded. They squared up for a third time. James knew he had no chance with blood running down his face and his right hand so painful he couldn’t even move it. But he had so much anger he was determined to get one good punch in, even if it got him killed.
“Please give up,” Bruce said. “I don’t want to hurt you badly.”
James charged forward without waiting for the start signal. He missed again. Bruce’s heel hit James in the stomach. James doubled over. All he could see was green and yellow blurs. Still standing, James felt his arm being twisted.
“I’m breaking your arm this time,” Bruce said. “I don’t want to.”
James knew he couldn’t take a broken arm.
“I give up!” he shouted. “I withdraw.”
Bruce stepped back and held his hand out for James to shake it. “Good fight, James,” he said, smiling.
James limply shook Bruce’s hand. “I think you broke my thumb,” he said.
“It’s only dislocated. Show me.”
James held out his hand.
“This is going to hurt,” Bruce said.
He pressed James’s thumb at the joint. The pain made James buckle at the knees as the bone crunched back into place.
Bruce laughed. “You think that’s painful, one time someone broke my leg in nine places.”
James sank to the floor. The pain in his nose felt like his head was splitting in two between his eyes. It was only pride that stopped him crying.
“So,” Mac said. “Ready for the next test?”
• • •
James realized now why Bruce had asked which hand he wrote with. His right hand was painful beyond use. James sat in a hall surrounded by wooden desks. He was the only one taking the test. He had bits of bloody tissue stuffed up each nostril and his clothes were a mess.
“Simple intelligence test, James,” Mac explained. “Mixture of verbal and mathematical skills. You have forty-five minutes, starting now.”
The questions got harder as the paper went on. Normally it wouldn’t have been bad but James hurt in about five different places, his nose was still bleeding, and every time he shut his eyes he felt like he was drifting backwards. He still had three pages left when time ran out.
• • •
James’s nose had finally stopped bleeding and he could move his right hand again, but he still wasn’t happy. He didn’t think he’d done well on the first two tests.
The crowded canteen was weird. Everybody stopped talking when James got near them. He got “Can’t talk to orange” three times before somebody pointed out cutlery. James took a block of lasagne with garlic bread and a fancy-looking orange mousse with chocolate shreds on top. When he got to the table he realized he hadn’t eaten since the previous night and was starving. It was loads better than the frozen stuff at Nebraska House.
• • •
“Do you like eating chicken?” Mac asked.
“Sure,” James said.
They were sitting in a tiny office with a desk between them. The only thing on the desk was a metal cage with a live chicken in it.
“Would you like to eat this chicken?”
“I can see that, James. Would you like to kill it?”
“James, are you saying you want to become a vegetarian?”
“If you think it’s cruel to kill the chicken, why are you happy to eat it?”
“I don’t know,” James said. “I’m twelve years old, I eat what gets stuck in front of me.”
“James, I want you to kill the chicken.”
“This is a dumb test. What does this prove?” James asked.
“I’m not discussing what the tests are for until they’re all over. Kill the chicken. If you don’t, somebody else has to. Why should they do it instead of you?”
“They get paid,” James said.
Mac took his wallet out of his jacket and put a five-pound note on top of the cage.
“Now you’re getting paid, James. Kill the chicken.”
“I . . .”
James couldn’t think of any more arguments and felt that at least if he killed the chicken he would have passed one test.
“OK. How do I kill it?”
Mac handed James a biro.
“Stab the chicken with the tip of the pen just below the head. A good stab should sever the main artery down the neck and cut through the windpipe to stop the bird breathing. It should be dead in about thirty seconds.”
“This is sick,” James said.
“Point the chicken’s bum away from yourself. The shock makes it empty its bowels quite violently.”
James picked up the pen and reached into the cage.
• • •
James stopped worrying about the warm chicken blood and crap on his clothes as soon as he saw the wooden obstacle. It started with a long climb up a rope ladder. Then you slid across a pole, up another ladder, and over narrow planks with jumps between them. James couldn’t see where you went from there because the obstacle disappeared behind trees. All he could tell was that it got even higher and there were no safety nets.
Mac introduced James to his guides, a couple of fit-looking sixteen-year-olds in navy CHERUB T-shirts called Paul and Arif. They clambered up the ladder, the two older boys sandwiching James.
“Never look down,” Arif said. “That’s the trick.”
James slid across the pole going hand over hand, fighting the pain in his right thumb. The first jump between planks was only about a meter. James went over after a bit of encouragement. They climbed another ladder and walked along more planks. This set were twenty meters above ground. James placed his feet carefully, keeping his eyes straight ahead. The wood creaked in the breeze.
There was a one and a half meter gap between the next set of planks. Not a difficult jump at ground level but between two wet planks twenty meters up, James was ruffled. Arif took a little run up and hopped over easily.
“It’s simple, James,” Arif said. “Come on, this is the last bit.”
A bird squawked. James’s eyes followed it down. Now he saw how high he was and started to panic. The clouds moving made him feel like he was falling.
“I can’t stand it up here,” James said. “I’m gonna puke.”
Paul grabbed his hand.
“I can’t do it,” James said.
“Of course you can,” Paul said. “If it was on the ground you wouldn’t break your stride.”
“But it’s not on the bloody ground!” James shouted.
James wondered why he was standing twenty meters up, with a headache, an aching thumb, plus dried blood and chicken crap all over him. He thought about how rubbish Nebraska House was and what Sergeant Davies had said about his knack of getting into trouble landing him in prison. The jump was worth the risk. It could change his whole life.
He took a run up. The plank shuddered as he landed. Arif steadied him. They walked to a balcony with a hand rail on either side.
“Brilliant,” Arif said. “Now there’s only one more bit to go.”
“What?” James said. “You just said that was the last bit. Now we just go down the ladder.”
James looked. There were two hooks for attaching a rope ladder. But the ladder wasn’t there.
“We’ve got to go all the way back?” James asked.
“No,” Arif said. “We’ve got to jump.”
James couldn’t believe it.
“It’s easy, James. Push off as you jump and you’ll hit the crash mat at the bottom.”
James looked at the muddy blue square on the ground below.
“What about all the branches in the way?” James asked.
“They’re only thin ones,” Arif said. “Sting like hell if you hit them though.”
Arif dived first.
“Clear,” a miniature Arif shouted from the bottom.
James stood on the end of the plank. Paul shoved him before he could decide for himself. The flight down was amazing. The branches were so close they blurred. He hit the crash mat with a dull thump. The only damage was a cut on his arm where a branch had whipped him.
• • •
James could only swim a couple of strokes before he got scared. He’d had no dad to take him swimming. His mum had avoided the pool because she was fat and everyone laughed at her in a swimming suit. The only time James had been swimming was with his school. Two kids James had bullied on dry land had pulled him out of his depth and abandoned him. He’d got dragged out and the instructor had had to pump water out of his lungs. After that James refused to get changed and spent swimming lessons reading a magazine in the changing rooms.
James stood at the edge of the pool, fully dressed.
“Dive in, get the brick out of the bottom, and swim to the other end,” Mac said.
James thought about giving it a go. He looked at the shimmering brick and imagined his mouth filled with chlorinated water. He backed away from the pool, queasy with fear.
“I can’t do this one,” James said. “I can’t even swim one width.”
• • •
James was back where he’d started, in front of the fire in Doctor McAfferty’s office.
“So, after the tests, should we offer you a place here?” Mac asked.
“Probably not, I guess,” James said.
“You did well on the first test.”
“But I didn’t get a single hit in,” James said.
“Bruce is a superb martial artist. You would have passed the test if you’d won, of course, but that was unlikely. You retired when you knew you couldn’t win and Bruce threatened you with a serious injury. That was important. There’s nothing heroic about getting seriously injured in the name of pride. Best of all, you didn’t ask to recover before you did the next test and you didn’t complain once about your injuries. That shows you have strength of character and a genuine desire to be a part of CHERUB.”
“Bruce was toying with me, there was no point carrying on,” James said.
“That’s right, James. In a real fight Bruce could have used a choke-hold that would have left you unconscious or dead if he’d wanted to.
“You also scored decently on the intelligence test. Exceptional on mathematical questions, about average on the verbal. How do you think you did on the third test?”
“I killed the chicken,” James said.
“But does that mean you passed the test?”
“I thought you asked me to kill it.”
“The chicken is a test of your moral courage. You pass well if you grab the chicken and kill it straight away, or if you say you’re opposed to killing and eating animals and refuse to kill it. I thought you performed poorly. You clearly didn’t want to kill the chicken but you allowed me to bully you into doing it. I’m giving you a low pass because you eventually reached a decision and carried it through. You would have failed if you’d dithered or got upset.”
James was pleased he’d passed the first three tests.
“The fourth test was excellent. You were timid in places but you got your courage together and made it through the obstacle. Then the final test.”
“I must have failed that,” James said.
“We knew you couldn’t swim. If you’d battled through and rescued the brick, we would have given you top marks. If you’d jumped in and had to be rescued, that would have shown poor judgment and you would have failed. But you decided the task was beyond your abilities and didn’t attempt it. That’s what we hoped you would do.
“To conclude, James, you’ve done good. I’m happy to offer you a place at CHERUB. You’ll be driven back to Nebraska House and I’ll expect your final decision within two days.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Anyone that likes the Alex Rider series will truly enjoy the CHERUB series as well. The way that the kids are recruited is much more realistic and plausible than Alex Rider. The story are realistic and keep you on the edge of your seat. I love the entire series. The whole CHERUB series is very popular around the world. Unfortunatly, it hasn't taken off here and they are trying to re-market. My 5th grade students also really enjoy the series, even the girls which did not like the Rider series at all. The only draw back is that since most of the stories are set in England, younger readers may find the slang difficult to understand at times. Also, the first printing had some minor grammatical/spelling errors. I don't know if they were fixed in the new printing.
Well i cant read many books but when I find one it is read in a day. This book was such a good book that in a room of screaming kids I got pulled into it. I loved it so much I wish it could be reaL!! All this mumb jumbo about pervertness and bad words that is just teenage life. I mean it is not like nobody has heard the words or thought the feelings.I have also read all six and every time i get done with one i am so eager to read the next.They heve ot to be the best books i have read.
James Choke appeared like an ordinary London schoolboy at first glance. But his mother is the head of a top organization of selling smuggled goods. One day James has to come home early because he scratches Samantha Jennings, sister of the biggest bully in school, on a nail, so her face required eight stitches. When James comes home he looks at his mother¿s cell phone- apparently the school had called her twelve times. It was unlike her to not answer the phone. He walked into the living room, where he saw his mom and his uncle Ron sitting, apparently drunk. James hated Ron, he made James¿ life miserable every chance he got. Not to mention he always somehow gets his mum drunk. James tried to fess up to his mom, but she told him to go away, she had a headache. Ron also stole his mum¿s money. That was fine. She never left anything out she didn¿t expect James or Ron to steal- she kept the big money in a safe. James waited and brought his sister, Lauren, home from school later. When they got home Ron was gone and mum was asleep on the couch. James tried to wake her, and then he realized something: she had no pulse. James and Lauren were sent to a rundown children¿s home. James went back to his house to get all his stuff. He got it, and the money from the safe- several thousand dollars. Ron would be furious. For a little extra joke James put a picture of himself in the safe, so it would be the first thing he saw when he cracked it open. When he got back to the children¿s home he met his roommate, Kyle. Kyle warns him not to hang out with a certain group of guys, but being a typical boy James ignores the warning and gets caught smashing cars. James gets sent back to the home after a lecture from the police. Next morning he wakes up in a strange room, with track pants, boots, and an orange shirt with the word `cherub¿ on it. James puts on the shirt and walks around until finally he finds where he¿s supposed to go. A man gives him a few strange tests, such as killing a chicken. Not long afterward he is accepted into CHERUB. CHERUB is a group of kids all 17 and under who are top government spies. James goes through training, swimming, running, etc. he also learns a new language according to his ethnicity, and his is Russian. Not long afterward it¿s time for basic training. Basic training is the worst hundred days of you life- according to what he¿s heard. When he arrives at basic training he receives a partner: Kerry. Kerry is a tough girl, who is only eleven, but is already a black belt and fluent in Japanese. James and Kerry are off to a rough start. First, they have to go through an obstacle course, which Kerry gets ticked off at James for being to slow. Then, on Christmas night (they didn¿t even get a break) they are forced to spend the night outside in nothing but their underwear. They somehow manage to survive the night. Now, it is time for the final test: Survival camp in Malaysia. Back at training someone always watches over you. Out here, you¿re all alone with just your partner and a backpack full of supplies. At training you get punished for mistakes. Out here mistakes will kill you. Will they make it? If they do what awaits them afterward? James and the other characters are very believable- they have faults and weaknesses that make them pop out of the book. If the setting were anymore realistic it would be right there before your eyes. This book has everything- action, adventure, suspense, plot twist, even a hint of romance.
There was a significant dearth (lack of) detail in 'The Recruit'. It seemed as if it were a mere SparkNotes version of what the real book could be. Also seemed kind of unrealistic. A 12-year-old doing many physically demanding exercises? Near impossible. At one point the author mentions that a two-hour run feels like a warm-up. Adults who train night and day for years, probably in the best shape anyone can be in play a game of soccer for 80 minutes (1hr,20min) and get tired! No way a 12-year-old can outdo them. It would be more suitable if the age was upped, and the standards lowered, and for goodness' sake, no need for a kid who is 12 to be 'snogging' a girl at every chance he gets!
I own the whole series thus far, and i must say this book perfectly sets the scene for the rest of the series. A must read by my standards.
This is one of the best books in all time! I think its better then the Alex Rider series. This book has alot of action in it and some romance for you lovebugs. It keeps you at the edge of your seat(or wherever you are reading) It makes you want to keep flippin through the pages like crazy!
I first heard of the CHERUB series on a forum I went on. I immediately went out and bought it. I wasn't dissapointed. The only bad thing is that only the first six will ever be available in America. But, it's so addicting, you'll have to buy the rest online. Like I did.
I loved this book. It takes you in and keeps you turning the pages wondering what happens next. When you finish it you get dissapointed but then are waiting for the next chance to get the next book in the series.
This book throws you in the action and makes it so realistic its very suspenseful and i recommend it to all.
My teacher made me start this book and after the first chapter i couldn't put it down, at least 3 time better than Alex Rider. I bought the whole series and intend on reading them all!!!!!!!
This whole series keep you intrigued. The situations grabs your imagination and let you think (What would you do?)
Introduction Welcome to my 100% true book review, this review is about the book the recruit. This book is in a series of other books. Welcome. Description and summary of content *WARNING SPOILERS*this book is about a boy named James and his sister Lauren. James in the story gets in trouble in school runs off and gets adducted by cherub. He goes thought military training. Evaluation This is a real good book. This book is one of the best books. You might not like it. Conclusion I think you should read this book. If yiu read this book you will most likely like it. Your welcome everyone for this review.
James mum is a thief. He wants for nothing and has everything. He is very smart but doesn't bother using it. He accidentally hurts a girl and gets in trouble when his mum suddenly dies. His sister is placed with her father and James is placed in a childrens home. He gets involved with some bad kids in the home and is heading for more trouble when he gets sent to see a doctor. Next thing he knows he wakes up in a strange place. He is told that it is a training center for CHERUBs, young spies. He is offered a place because he is smart and the kind of person they want but is told it will be tough and he has to stick to the rules or else. He accepts and from that moment his life changes! I've heard of this series before but haven't read it. The premise sounded awesome. Kid spies!!! While I did enjoy it, there were a few things that annoyed me. I'm going to get the bad stuff out of the way first. What I didn't like: I found it hard to connect to James. At the start he is like a spoiled child, he losses his temper with a girl in school and slams her against the wall. Then he shoves his teacher and causes her to fall!! He gets into trouble alot and is just all round a thug in the making. He is ashamed to be seen with his mother because she is fat. He wasn't easy to like but saying that he did grow on me. I still didn't like him but I didn't hate him either. The first half of the book was so slow. He didn't get to the CHERUB faculty till then and he was so dislikable in the first part that I wasn't going to keep reading. Jamess' mission. It wasn't as action packed or as good as I would of liked. Now what I liked!! The concept of the CHERUB facility was awesome. Kids trained as spies because adults wouldn't suspect them. They get to use cool gadgets, travel the world and become something special, so what child would turn it down. They have an intensive 100 day training course that pushes them to their limits. Each stage of training has a different colour shirt with Black being the highest. The book really takes off in the second half, mostly. From the training till James first mission it was action packed, fast paced and intense. The missions they do are dangerous so they have to be prepared in every way. They still go to school and have to learn different languages, self defense etc. I really enjoyed that part of the book. Overall its a solid start to what I imagine is a good series. I'm not sure if its for me because the MC was so unlikable but I do think that it would appeal to teenagers.
First in series about child spy, James Adams. Exciting and gritty, although the kids do seem really young for all the tough stuff they experience...
It was a very good book but it was a little inpropant
This book is for anyone that likes action books if you are thinking about getting this book GET IT
This was a great book. I recommend it to anyone who is bored or looking for an action-packed read. Very exciting with a good dose of humor. I recommend reading the whole series!
This book The Recruit by Robert Muchamore (a writer famous for this CHERUB series) is a fiction fantasy book that is a part of the larger CHERUB series. This story mainly takes place in CHERUB (a place where these special agent children are trained before recruited. This novel is told in a third-person narration - thus narrated by the narrator/author. The theme of the book involves the idea of this place where these talented kids can help save the world through missions spying on terrorists and other global problems. The genre of this book as mentioned before is fantasy, but compared with other fantasy pieces (like the Hunger Games), I felt like it wasn’t as well-developed. But then again, this is one book out of a series so maybe the author will continue to develop the story later on. This novel is mainly about a boy who tries to join this special agent force “CHERUB”, and thus ends up in a training center where this association will be recruiting agents. As per my opinion on this book, I liked it, but I would say I have read better. I felt like this was more catered towards a people a little younger than me. Also, I don’t really enjoy reading fantasy as much as other genres like mystery… If I find the time, I definitely wouldn’t mind reading the rest of this series just to see what happens. And I would certainly encourage more younger audiences to read it.
The Recruit is the begging of the series Cherub. The author of the book is Robert Muchamore. Robert Muchamore was born December 26, 1972 (age 41) in Islington, United Kingdom. He has also has written a book called Brigands M.C. in 2008. He started writing the Cherub novels because his nephew in Australia could not find any novels that he liked reading. The Cherub series has been sold in more than 20 countries. In the book Cherub was action packed from the very beginning. It talks about a young kid name James. He had a rough kid hood kids would make fun of him due to the fact that his mom was overweight. That forced him to have anger towards everyone and caused him to get into trouble regularly. His dad was in and out of his life a lot and they really didn’t get along well. His dad would beat him and he would go to school beaten up. One day James mom passed away and James had to live at a house called the Nebraska house. He had to stay there due to the absence of his mother and his dad didn’t want him. Thinking it would keep him out of trouble James continued to get into a lot more trouble. He was hanging out with the wrong kids and got in trouble for theft instead of going to jail they gave him another chance. One day James was sent to a facility that was much nicer than then the Nebraska house. That’s when his life would change forever. James is the latest Cherub recruit and he could be useful for a lot of things. First he has to go through basic training the worst 100 days of his life. The training is so hard even the toughest recruits don’t make it to the end. Through the training they would make him into everything he needed to be a successful young man for the job. This book is a very good one to read. It’s very enjoyable to read its catches and keeps your attention till the end. Also the book explains everything that is going on very well so you never feel lost in the book. It gives you the feeling that you r experiencing what the characters in the book are. Overall great interesting book to read. I would refer this book to anyone that likes action packed books. Especially to children who enjoy Thrillers, and spy novels. Before reading this book you would have to know what kind of job is being performed through the kids. Also what the whole meaning of Cherub means and the book does a good job at explaining it.
This has been one of my favorite series since i was in middle school. im in college and i still reread the books and get the newest ones in the series. i love Cherub! its sarcastic and realistic to some aspect. the main character has anger issues and love issues and family problems. Its a wonderful series!