By Author / Illustrator
Walker Books Ltd
Get ready for action, adrenaline and adventure in this explosive, brand new Alex Rider mission by bestselling author, Anthony Horowitz. In this adrenaline-fuelled adventure in the number one bestselling series, Alex Rider is sent by MI6 Special Operations to infiltrate a new and sinister organization known only as Nightshade. Alex is on his own, with the fate of thousands of people resting in his hands.
See also: Nightshade Revenge (Alex Rider)
Alex Rider is back in this new adventure from Anthony Horowitz. Having just returned to school and enjoying his normal life, after being informed he will no longer be used for secret missions, Alex finds himself agreeing to take on one more mission for Mrs Jones, Chief Executive of MI6 Special Operations. All Alex has to go on is the name Nightshade (an organisation which turns out to be as shady and deadly as its botanical namesake) and that London is the under threat of attack.
To do this, he must take on the identity of a previous adversary, Julius Grief, who was an identical clone of Alex and the only person he has shot. But Alex will have to go gadget 'cold turkey' for this mission and he will only have his previous training and wits to get him through the mission. The occupants of a super high security prison in Gibraltar are unaware that their former inmate and prison escapee Julius is dead, and Alex must infiltrate the prison with his new identity and befriend the only member of Nightshade the Secret Service know about - Freddy Grey, then find out about Nightshade and get out before his real identity is discovered.
This should be a straight forward task and he should be back in London in time for half term. But events don't go to plan, and his escape from prison is not part of the script as he begins a literal infiltration of Nightshade and tries to find out what is planned for the Leap of Faith attack on London.
Anthony Horowitz has written a real cracker of a novel with Nightshade - I really enjoyed it! The novel is an action packed page turner, full of intrigue and plot twists and turns. Within a few chapters I was pulled right into the novel and couldn't put the book down. I liked that Alex was gadget- and communication-free in this book, relying on himself to get through the mission, especially when events go off plan! The descriptions of the action in the story really held my attention and I felt I was there with the action - whether traversing through Gibraltar or jumping out of plane. Occasionally, though, I felt the explanation and descriptions of the guns or landmarks felt a little too long, and perhaps the detail could have been put in a glossary at the end. But this take nothing away from a great novel.
While the novel is part of a series, I would say you don't have to have read others in the series to enjoy the book - this was my first Alex Rider Novel. Horowitz peppers the story when needed with references to the back story to carry you through. In fact, the references have made me want to go back and read the other books in the series and immerse myself in the world of Alex Rider. This is a brilliant novel to lose yourself in and enjoy.
384 pages / Reviewed by Stephen Leitch, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 11+