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Scorpia is one of the most ruthless and successful criminal organizations in the world. It was formed in the early 1980s by spies and assassins from all over the globe who wanted to get rich. Now responsible for 1/10 of the world's terrorism, Scorpia's resume is truly appalling: it has overthrown two governments and arranged for a third to be elected unfairly, destroyed dozens of businesses, corrupted politicians and civil servants, and contributed to several major ecological disasters. 

In the opening pages of SCORPIA, Anthony Horowitz's fifth Alex Rider adventure, readers are introduced to Mrs. Julia Rothman, who is in charge of Scorpia's latest project --- Invisible Sword. Their client, a multibillionaire in the Middle East, believes that the friendship between Great Britain and the United States has made the West too powerful, and he wants Scorpia to terminate this alliance once and for all. 

In order to accomplish this, Mrs. Rothman reveals that thousands of schoolchildren in London will be killed if the United States can't meet certain demands that Scorpia has laid out. To say that these demands are unreasonable would be a huge understatement. There is no way that any American official would agree to such an arrangement --- and Mrs. Rothman is fully aware of this. Their refusal to cooperate would lead to the mass murder of innocent children, thus destroying the Anglo-American alliance forever.

While all this is transpiring, fourteen-year-old Alex Rider is leading a fairly normal life since his final confrontation with Damian Cray on Air Force One. Before the new school term begins, Alex decides to travel to Naples with his best friend Tom Harris, who will be visiting his brother. But he persuades Tom to spend a few days in Venice first. Why? Because Alex hasn't forgotten what contract killer Yassen Gregorovich told him right before his death: "Go to Venice. Find Scorpia. And you will find your destiny..."

After much investigation and a lot of snooping around, a determined Alex comes face to face with Mrs. Rothman, who informs him that his father was an assassin for Scorpia. He spent four months in the field and then worked as an instructor in their training school. Yassen Gregorovich was one of the assassins he helped train and even saved his life while on an assignment. Alex already knows that MI6, the British intelligence agency he's worked for in the past, ended his father's life, but all this time he's been unaware of the details surrounding his death. When he finally learns the awful truth from Mrs. Rothman, Alex agrees to abandon MI6 and join Scorpia.

At the time Alex has no idea of the death and destruction that Scorpia is planning. Eventually he finds out everything, but will it be too late to save thousands of children from the Invisible Sword?

SCORPIA is the most heartstopping adventure yet in this action-filled series, with an ending that will surprise you and a cliffhanger that will astound you!

Reviewed by on March 1, 2006

(Alex Rider #5)
by Anthony Horowitz

  • Publication Date: March 1, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction, Young Adult 11+
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books
  • ISBN-10: 0142405787
  • ISBN-13: 9780142405789