Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Anthony Horowitz's 'Alex Rider'

The last time I felt as excited about a character and its series of books was when I started reading the Harry Potter books... Now Anthony Horowitz has done something similar to me with his Alex Rider books. Spoilers follow so do not continue if you haven't read the series and don't want it spoiled for you !

The series starts with Stormbreaker and 14 year old Alex's paternal uncle has just died in an "accident"... Alex soon discovers, however, that his uncle Ian wasn't a banker, as he had been led to believe, but an MI6 agent. He visits Royal and General the "bank" where his uncle used to work, and finds instead that it's the offices of MI6, and they want to recruit him to finish the job that Ian Rider was engaged on when he was killed. Alex thus finds himself reluctantly working as a teenage spy. He is sent to Cornwall masquerading as the winner of a computer competition whose prize is to be the first person to use one of Herod Sayle's 'Stormbreaker' computers before schools up and down the country go online with Stormbreakers of their own. Herod Sayle reminded me a little of Mohammed Al Fayed, particularly as Sayle has been angling for British citizenship for years and has been promised it as a "reward" for his generosity in giving the computers to the schools. Alex, however, discovers that the computers are a deadly gift and he is forced to find a way to get to London from Cornwall in time to stop the Prime Minister from activating the Stormbreakers at a special ceremony that will be taking place at midday on April 1 at the Science Museum.

Alex's story continues in several more books, of which I've read Point Blanc and Skeleton Key so far. Horowitz has an Alex Rider website and there is going to be a Stormbreaker film out next year. The credited cast includes the following well-known names Ewan McGregor plays Ian Rider, Mickey Rourke plays Herod Sayle, Bill Nighy plays Alan Blunt (Alex's MI6 boss), Alicia Silverstone plays Jack Starbright (Alex's house-keeper), Missi Pyle plays Nadia Vole (one of Herod Sayle's allies), Robbie Coltrane plays the Prime Minister, Stephen Fry plays Mr. Smithers (Alex's MI6 gadget man) and Andy Serkis plays Mr. Grin (presumably not in a CGI suit for once !!) Relative unknown Alex Pettyfer will be playing Alex Rider.

I hear these books are quite popular with boys (unsurprisingly), but they're also pretty popular with older female readers too... I am sure the film is going to be a summer blockbuster next year.

Finale note: I'm off to Gloucestershire tomorrow for a week's Xmas break - so don't be surprised if I don't add much to my Blog before December 30. I wish you all an enjoyable and peaceful festive season.

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