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Scorpia Rising

Review

Scorpia Rising

SCORPIA

The terrorist organization known as Scorpia has been in shambles ever since it was overthrown not once, but twice by an unlikely 14-year-old British spy named Alex Rider. The first time was completely unexpected, as MI6 had never before deployed a teenager to do their dirty work. The second time was, well, embarrassing. Now with Scorpia struggling to maintain their foothold --- and dignity --- within the organized crime world, it has decided to accept one final mission to reassert itself as a world power. This time Scorpia is going to draw Alex into a scheme all of its own, and above all else, failure is not an option.

The plan is quite simple. Dying billionaire Yannis Ariston Xenopolos wants the ancient Elgin marbles to be returned to Greece as a final wish. In order for this to happen, something must be done to motivate the British government to give them up. Scorpia has just the right motivation --- expose Alex as a government agent and connect him to the future assassination of the United States Secretary of State. All that is needed is a reason to get Alex to Cairo, Egypt, for the upcoming Secretary's speech and to document his involvement. While MI6 may be a top government organization, Scorpia has a few tricks up its sleeves that will put everything in motion.

ALEX RIDER

After surviving the worst year of his life, 15-year-old Alex Rider finally feels like he has shed off the brunt and brutal nature of being a spy. While the scars remain, both internally and externally, Alex has accepted that change must occur for his life to return to what it was before he became involved with MI6. He enjoys school, has real friends, and continues to thrive with his housekeeper, Jack Starbright. He's even thinking about life after high school, and the last thing he needs or wants is to become embroiled in the center of another government conspiracy. When you're in the spy business, though, you sometimes have no choice.

Alex wanted to lay low, but the sniper who tried to take him out while he was sitting in class forced him to do otherwise. After tracking down the sniper and giving him a taste of his own medicine, he finds himself once again sitting in the presence of Alan Blunt and Mrs. Jones from MI6 headquarters outlining his new mission. Reports have surfaced of hostile activity taking place at a prestigious school in Cairo, Egypt, and all MI6 wants Alex to do is enroll as a student and report back on what he finds. It's that simple. If there is anything Alex has learned, though, it's that missions are never that simple. Despite his reluctance, he agrees to go for his own safety, and this time Jack Starbright decides to tag along.

Thus begins the final mission of Alex Rider. He has survived gunshot wounds, burns, crocodiles, crazy madmen, and much more, but will he survive a terrorist organization that will stop at nothing until he is buried in the ground?

Anthony Horowitz has decided to end his popular series while on top. Devoted fans will be sorry to see the improbably teenage British spy go, but the long celebrated books end in a satisfying, if not bittersweet, conclusion. SCORPIA RISING is packed full of the usual thrills and chills, but also has a few surprises lurking around every corner that will catch you off-guard. Alex Rider may indeed be all grown up, but his legacy lives on in his epic adventures.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on March 22, 2011

Scorpia Rising
by Anthony Horowitz