Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Skeleton Key

Skeleton Key

Anthony Horowitz
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 to and up
Penguin, 2004   ISBN: 978-0142401026

Alex is always suspicious when someone from MI6 offers him something but this time the offer does not seem to have any hidden dangers. Mr. Crawley is willing to give Alex the opportunity to be a ball boy at Wimbledon. For this extraordinary opportunity all Alex has to do is to keep his eyes and ears open for anything unusual. And, for a while, all goes well. Alex gets to watch some superb tennis and he enjoys his work. Then he notices that one of the employees is behaving oddly and his time at Wimbledon goes steadily downhill from this point onwards.

In the end Alex uncovers a plot to fix the games and because of this he is put on a hit list. MI6 decides that it would be best if Alex were to leave England for a while until things calm down. As per usual their motives are far from altruistic. They have another operation in mind for Alex. This time he will be working with American CIA operatives on the island of Skeleton Key off the American coast. They tell him that all he will have to do is to pretend to be the son of two CIA agents – to give them a good cover in other words. The plan does not work out quite as planned and Alex finds himself getting tangled up with General Alexei Sarov, a man whose mission in life is nothing less than to take over the entire Russian government.

Once again Alex Rider finds himself being used as a pawn by MI6 and others, and once again he rises to the challenge in a most extraordinary way. Alex manages to do so much more than anyone can reasonably expect of him. As he overcomes his enemies he changes, he grows up, and he learns that he has to be very selective about whom he allows himself to trust.

In this third book in the Alex Rider series, Anthony Horowitz has once again created a thrilling story with colorful characters, plenty of action, and a plot full of twists and turns which keeps the reader guessing all the way through.