Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Scorpia Rising

Scorpia Rising

Anthony Horowitz
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Penguin, 2011   ISBN: 978-0399250576

Like all secret agencies, Britain’s MI6 has technologies and agents that they don’t want the world to know about, and with good reason. They have used a teenage boy, Alex Rider, eight times in the last year to solve some of their biggest security problems, and they are determined that the British public is not going to find out about this morally dubious behavior.

Several months have passed since Alex Rider completed his last mission for MI6, and so far they have stayed away from him. Alex’s wounds have healed, and he is starting to get to used having a normal life. He likes living quietly, going to school, and spending time with his friends.

What Alex doesn’t know is that his old enemy, Scorpia, is back, and its leader has taken on a very difficult, though well paying, job. Scorpia has been commissioned to force the British government into returning the Elgin marbles to Greece, where they rightfully belong. They cannot steal the priceless archeological artifacts, so they plan on blackmailing the British into returning them, and they plan on using Alex Rider to achieve this goal.

One day Alex is quietly minding his own business at school when a sniper starts shooting at him. Alex is not injured, but Alan Blunt from MI6 tells the teenager that it would be better is Alex left England for a while until things calm down. He explains that he has a small job for Alex to do in Cairo, a city where Alex can live quietly and hopefully avoid his enemies, whoever they are. All Alex has to do is to attend the Cairo College, an international school, and keep an eye on things there. Blunt is concerned that someone may attack the school, which could be very problematical because the children of rich, famous, and powerful people attend the school.

Alex easily fits in with the students at Cairo College and he keeps an eye on what is going on in the school. Using gadgets that he was given, he spies on the new head of security at the school, a man who could be a potential threat to the school. Alex never imagines that his presence at the school has all been arranged by his enemies, and that he is just a pawn in a terrible game of chess that he has no control over.

This last Alex Rider title will have readers sitting on the edge of their seats. It is agonizing knowing that Alex is walking into a trap, and at times readers will wonder if the teenager will be able to save himself. Perfectly paced, and full of colorful characters and dramatic adventures, this is a book that will delight readers who have enjoyed the earlier Alex Rider novels.