No sooner has Alex splashed down off the coast of Australia than he finds himself sucked into another adventure. This time he’s working for the ASIS – the Australian Secret Service – and his target is the criminal underworld of South-East Asia: the ruthless world of the Snakehead.
But this time Alex isn’t working alone. He’s teamed up with Ash, once his father’s best friend and now a secret agent with the key to unlock Alex’s past. But the odds are stacked against them. An old enemy has returned with a plan that will destabilize half the world. Caught between two secret services, with no one he can trust, Alex will need all his wits to survive.
Well, to be honest I am wondering where to start with this one; the seventh Alex Rider book in the series, is certainly very enjoyable. I was eagerly awaiting the release of the new – eighth – Alex Rider novel, Crocodile Tears, due to loving this series over the past years; particularly Scorpia, which I enjoyed immensely. The series begins with Stormbreaker, if anyone is interested in getting started. In any case, I was patient; it had been a while since I read an Alex Rider novel when Crocodile Tears came out, so I persevered and read Snakehead, the previous instalment, instead. Even though it was a reread, I was soon once again immersed in the gadgets, the action and the fights to the death, all over again..
Alex Rider lands in the South Pacific after falling from outer space in the previous book Ark Angel and is soon taaken to a military compound in Australia. Alex is instantly thrown into a challenge, while he is there the Australian Secret Intelligence Service test his mettle by trapping him and seeing how he reacts to a situation with a land mine. The enemy that Alex faces this time, is probably his worst yet; the infamous Snakehead gang that are responsible for sabotage and corruption all over the world. Alex asked to go on a mission with an agent named Ash to Thailand to infiltrate the Snakehead smuggling operation between Bangkok and Australia and initially Alex refuses, reluctant to get involved with this sort of thing again. He soon realises that there is more to this than meets the eye however and let’s just say agent Ash is a good reason to partake in the mission and delve further into his parents’ past..
Once again the infamous organization Scorpia are back, plotting to assassinate a group of rich celebrities who have organized a make poverty history-type conference on Reef Island. Major Yu, on the executive board of Scorpia, and leader of the Snakehead, organises the stealing of a powerful bomb, codenamed Royal Blue by the British Government. Major Yu plan is more severe than it first seems; if he can not be stopped, thousands of people will die..
While in Bangkok, after getting himself into trouble – this involves a rather large explosion which is always good to see – he meets an old friend who works for MI6. This is the point that he is told about the bomb by MI6; they ask him to locate the bomb and Alex’s gadget friend makes another appearance to kit him out.
Things soon quickly progress, a Snakehead member smuggles a disguised Alex and Ash, to Darwin aboard a container ship. Alex spots Royal Blue but things don’t go his way, and he soon finds himself in extreme trouble. Alex is taken to a special hospital in the rainforest and he faces a slow and painful death. Can he find his way out of a seemingly impossible place to escape and make it to MI6 in time to inform them of Yu’s plan..
There are a lot of surprises and revelations throughout the book and it seems once again that Alex can trust nobody but himself. This keeps you turning the pages all the way to the end, praying that Alex can save the day once again. The author Anthony Horowitz has obviously spent a long time writing this; two years he says on the back cover and the time he has spent concentrating/researching this is evident.
Fast-paced, action-packed a real thriller..