Targeted by a hitman and under threat of his past being exposed by the media, Alex reluctantly turns to MI6. But their help doesn't come cheap: they need Alex to spy on the activities at a GM crop plant. There he spots Desmond McCain, a high profile charity organizer, who realizes that Alex is on to him and the real plans for the money he's raising. Kidnapped and whisked off to Africa, Alex learns the full horror of McCain's plot: to create an epic disaster that will kill millions. Forced to ask MI6 for protection, Alex finds himself being manipulated in a deadly game that could lead to the destruction of an entire East African country.
Reviewed on 16th March 2014
Alex Rider manages to fit in another adventure before reaching the age of fifteen, and as usual it resembles a James Bond film in many aspects. This story sees Rider caught up in an adventure by accident, but the coincidence rate in this series is starting to get suspicious.
The first thing you notice is that this book is much chunkier than the earlier episodes - my copy is a 400-page hardback, and at the pace that it races, with a draining amount of action and endless peril, it feels like a long read.
That peril feels deeper than before - the descriptions are more believable, the danger more real and the graphicness of some of the action make it seem aimed at an older audience than before. This could be a good thing for fans as the books were published who don't find the stories becoming childish, but to a younger reader coming to the stories for the first time now it might go a step too far.
Overall, I think it's one if the best in the series (although there's one plot point that bothered me at the end) and I really liked the author's efforts to bring some of the recurring characters to life a little more and display, or at least question, some of their motivations.