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Scorpia (Alex Rider) Paperback – February 16, 2006
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Fans of the Alex Rider Adventures will not be disappointed by the slam-bang action in this fifth book in the spy thriller series, although the ending may leave them feeling a bit dismayed. A parachute jump onto the roof of a super-secure pharmaceutical complex, a desperate escape from a water-filled cellar under the canals of Venice, elegant and witty encounters with mega-criminals bent on death -- it's all here, and Alex, still 14-years old, comes out ahead every time in spite of the heavy odds against him. "Go to Venice. Find Scorpia. And you will find your destiny," Alex was told by a dying man at the end of the previous book, Eagle Strike. And so we find him; in Venice, with his friend Tom, looking for clues to his father's identity and death. Was he an agent of M16, the secret world organization that has used Alex before? Or was he a tool of Scorpia, the powerful international criminal agency that specializes in sabotage, corruption, intelligence, and assassination? And which are the bad guys? Alex loses track as he is recruited by the beautiful and deadly Julia Rothman, one of the nine executives of Scorpia, to be trained at their Venetian island school for assassins and to take part in a plot to kill thousands of 12 and 13-year-olds in England. Caught between shifting allegiances and different versions of his father's life and death, Alex outwits and outfights everybody as the plot rockets along to a smash finish that will leave readers breathless and shocked. (Ages 10-14) --Patty Campbell
From School Library Journal
Grade 7-10–Alex Rider, the 14-year-old spy and adventurer from Stormbreaker (2001), Point Blank (2002), Skeleton Key (2003), and Eagle Strike (2004, all Philomel), is back. While vacationing in Italy, he is recruited by the deadliest terrorist organization in the world, Scorpia, away from the world of M16, a British secret intelligence organization. Through a web of lies and deceit, Alex is persuaded to assassinate the deputy head of M16, a former friend and supervisor, while Scorpia plans a secret mission that will kill hundreds of thousands of British children in the blink of an eye. Missing his target and captured by M16, Rider is sent back into Scorpia, but this time as a spy. It is only with the teen's help that M16 can stop the organization's vicious threat. Of course, Alex Rider saves the day, but not without psychological mind gaming and fighting that will bring readers to the edge of their seats and keep them there until the final page. These titles are perfect for James Bond wannabes and reluctant readers. No prior knowledge of the previous books is necessary, as Horowitz drops clues from previous adventures.–Delia Fritz, Mercersburg Academy, PA
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Now, I gave it five out of five stars because of character development. In Alex, Mr. Blunt, Jack, and even Mr. Smithers, we see so much character development, though Especially in Alex. When he first started all we saw was a fourteen year old boy thrust into a world he never knew existed and most likely never wanted to know. In this book, the end, we see that Alex has grown so much, physically and emotionally. I really noted the growth during his (almost) torture scene. Fairly calm, for the most part, but still alert, aware. I loved this book, this whole series, in every twist, turn, and death.