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Scorpia Rising (Alex Rider) Hardcover – March 22, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Anthony Horowitz's life might have been copied from the pages of Charles Dickens or the Brothers Grimm. Born in 1956 in Stanmore, Middlesex, to a family of wealth and status, Anthony was raised by nannies, surrounded by servants and chauffeurs. His father, a wealthy businessman, was, says Mr. Horowitz, "a fixer for Harold Wilson." What that means exactly is unclear — "My father was a very secretive man," he says— so an aura of suspicion and mystery surrounds both the word and the man. As unlikely as it might seem, Anthony's father, threatened with bankruptcy, withdrew all of his money from Swiss bank accounts in Zurich and deposited it in another account under a false name and then promptly died. His mother searched unsuccessfully for years in attempt to find the money, but it was never found. That too shaped Anthony's view of things. Today he says, "I think the only thing to do with money is spend it." His mother, whom he adored, eccentrically gave him a human skull for his 13th birthday. His grandmother, another Dickensian character, was mean-spirited and malevolent, a destructive force in his life. She was, he says, "a truly evil person", his first and worst arch villain. "My sister and I danced on her grave when she died," he now recalls.

A miserably unhappy and overweight child, Anthony had nowhere to turn for solace. "Family meals," he recalls, "had calories running into the thousands…. I was an astoundingly large, round child…." At the age of eight he was sent off to boarding school, a standard practice of the times and class in which he was raised. While being away from home came as an enormous relief, the school itself, Orley Farm, was a grand guignol horror with a headmaster who flogged the boys till they bled. "Once the headmaster told me to stand up in assembly and in front of the whole school said, 'This boy is so stupid he will not be coming to Christmas games tomorrow.' I have never totally recovered." To relieve his misery and that of the other boys, he not unsurprisingly made up tales of astounding revenge and retribution.

So how did an unhappy boy, from a privileged background, metamorphose into the creator of Alex Rider, fourteen-year-old spy for Britain's MI6? Although his childhood permanently damaged him, it also gave him a gift — it provided him with rich source material for his writing career. He found solace in boyhood in the escapism of the James Bond films, he says. He claims that his two sons now watch the James Bond films with the same tremendous enjoyment he did at their age. Bond's glamour translates perfectly to the 14-year-old psyche, the author says. "Bond had his cocktails, the car and the clothes. Kids are just as picky. It's got to be the right Nike trainers (sneakers), the right skateboard. And I genuinely think that 14-year-olds are the coolest people on the planet. It's this wonderful, golden age, just on the cusp of manhood when everything seems possible."

Alex Rider is unwillingly recruited at the age of fourteen to spy for the British secret service, MI6. Forced into situations that most average adults would find terrifying and probably fatal, young Alex rarely loses his cool although at times he doubts his own courage. Using his intelligence and creativity, and aided by non-lethal gadgets dreamed up by MI6's delightfully eccentric, overweight and disheveled Smithers, Alex is able to extricate himself from situations when all seems completely lost. What is perhaps more terrifying than the deeply dangerous missions he finds himself engaged in, is the attitude of his handlers at MI6, who view the boy as nothing more than an expendable asset.

The highly successful Alex Rider novels include Stormbreaker, Point Blank, Skeleton Key, and the recent Eagle Strike.

Anthony Horowitz is perhaps the busiest writer in England. He has been writing since the age of eight, and professionally since the age of twenty. He writes in a comfortable shed in his garden for up to ten hours per day. In addition to the highly successful Alex Rider books, he has also written episodes of several popular TV crime series, including Poirot, Murder in Mind, Midsomer Murders and Murder Most Horrid. He has written a television series Foyle's War, which recently aired in the United States, and he has written the libretto of a Broadway musical adapted from Dr. Seuss's book, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. His film script The Gathering has just finished production. And…oh yes…there are more Alex Rider novels in the works. Anthony has also written the Diamond Brothers series.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Series: Alex Rider
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel Books; First Edition/First Printing edition (March 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399250573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399250576
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (200 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Megan B. on March 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Alex Rider was out of the spy business. Well, he thought he was until MI6 sucked him back into the world of death and espionage. Everything he cared about was at risk, his friends, Jack Starbright, his chance at ever being a normal teenager. But what MI6 want, they generally get so Alex is off to Cairo, Egypt- but this time he's not alone, Jack Starbright is coming with him.

The final installment in the Alex Rider series, I think, has the most emotional impact and the most serious voice than the others. Anthony Horowitz still manages to create a nail-biting atmosphere. While reading the book I constantly found myself almost at the edge of my seat, reading as fast as I could to figure out what would happen next. He really is a master at his craft; blending realism and fiction together in a way that flows and makes sense. I hope he writes more young adult books in the future as they are almost guaranteed to be great.

The ending. Oh the ending. So bittersweet and unexpected. Horowitz doesn't end his series as most would: in a word, happy. I have to admit that I was disappointed at the ending, although it was probably very realistic. But admittedly it is an ending that will stick in the minds of the reader for a while and as an author that's something to hope for. The only thing I have to say bugged me about Scorpia Rising is that the dialogue between Jack and Alex seemed almost stilted and awkward, and I'm pretty sure Horowitz didn't do that on purpose.

Overall, throughout nine books, nine different missions, numerous life and death circumstances, a plethora of cool gadgets, and many bad guys, I have been engrossed by the life of Alex Rider. Every book was great and although this book wasn't as fantastic as the others it is still as entertaining and as thrilling as the books that came before.

I salute you Mr. Horowitz.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Maci and Zoe Read Books on February 7, 2015
Format: Paperback
I am so sad that the Alex Rider series is over. This book is last one of the series and I am going to really miss the characters. Alex Rider has to travel to Egypt and go up against scorpia for the last time in, hopefully everyone will make it out alive. There were some unexpected things that happened that would never be imagined, although they do add a nice twist. All in all I am sad that this series is over but I am satisfied with the ending. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and all the other Alex Rider books and recommend them to anyone who likes spy novels are just action adventures. Whenever I was reading an Alex Rider book I could not put it down.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Keith Saye on June 23, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This last in the series, and Anthony Horowitz's best work out of all of the stories. Since my son introduced me to them, I have virtually devoured all of the books in the Alex Rider series as soon as they were out and this one took only a few hours for me to read, it was so gripping. Darker than the others, it is a fitting end to a great story line.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. King on August 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
I've been a devoted fan of the Alex Rider series since the debut of Stormbreaker in 2006, and this final installment maintains the high quality fast paced thrill of adventure that distinguishes this eminently readable collection. Designed as a junior James Bond, Alex is always presented as the reluctant teenage spy. His nemesis, SCORPIA, is an evil organization for hire which masterfully uses murder, torture, blackmail and subterfuge to achieve its ends. Countering this is a sometimes morally questionable MI6 run by the outwardly stiff and bland Alan Blunt, his mint sucking second Miss Jones and Smithers the somewhat puckish stand in for Q, who finally gets in on the action.

This time out SCORPIA is hired to "convince" the British government to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece. They develop an elaborate plan of deception to implicate Alex in the murder of the US Secretary of State (obviously Hillary Clinton, but unstated) and blackmail the British into submission. MI6 takes the bait and Alex soon finds himself planted in a elite school in Cairo, this time accompanied by his legal guardian Jack Starbright, bringing her into the danger as well. There are also elements of previous episodes in the book. Julius Grief, a malevolent clone altered to look like Alex from Point Blanc has a pivotal role, and Joe Byrne (the book's Felix Leiter) also makes an appearance.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By 7 Ezekiel C. on August 29, 2014
Format: Paperback
Scorpia Rising was fantastic! It was very suspenseful and made you want to read more. In the story Alex Rider is a secret agent working for MI6, the British version of the CIA. He has just defeated a terrorist organization known as Scorpia and now they are back for revenge. Scorpia lays a trap for Alex so that MI6 sends him to Cairo, Egypt. Alex starts investigating Scorpia when he thinks he is foiling their plans when it turns out to be there plan all along. It turns out even worse when Scorpia sends a boy with plastic surgery to look like Alex comes along. And Operation "Horseman" starts. There is a lot of action along with sadness. Some parts are quite sorrowful because this is the last book in the series and everything has to end. There are components that if you don't pay attention you'll miss interesting information, so read closely. Anthony Horowitz does a smashing job with the final installment of the Alex Rider series. I highly recommend reading this book if you are into action-packed adventures that will leave you on the edge of your seat!
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