A former Egyptian street urchin who has blossomed into a fabulously wealthy businessman in the United Kingdom desires to present a gift to his adopted country in the form of his new ultra high-tech computer, Stormbreaker. Every school in England is to receive a shipment of machines, and the man’s old schoolmate, the Prime Minister himself, couldn’t be happier. Ever skeptical, MI6 decides to investigate the matter and loses one of their top agents in the process. So, now what? Of course! Send in a completely untrained (albeit resourceful) 14-year-old boy to find out what is really going on behind the bolted iron gates.
Thus begins the secret career of young Alex Rider, nephew of Ian Rider, a former special agent of MI6. Young Mr. Rider is torn between his fear of the unknown and his desire to do something in response to his uncle’s death. Unbeknownst to Alex, the head of British Intelligence has a few particular aces up his sleeve to “help” him decide.
The actual mission is certainly interesting and adventurous. Some of the plot turns are completely predictable, but a few are genuine surprises. The author does a fair job of allowing the reader to understand what the young proto-spy is feeling and thinking, and much of it is within the realm of reasonable to reasonably far-fetched. Some of the best writing is devoted to Alex’s inner struggles with duty, patriotism, and revenge.
Overall, this is an enjoyable story for teenage boys, and the few nods to Ian Fleming’s James Bond character are also fun to discover.
Rated: Mild. Three total instances of 2 mild terms. Descriptions of bodily harm are minimal and not graphic. Would be a “none” for adult readers.