Tuesday 26 September 2017

The Russian assassin who is out to kill Alex Rider

Anthony Horowitz is best known for his bestselling books featuring teen spy Alex Rider. The series has sold more than 13 million copies in English and has been translated into 28 languages and the first in the series, 'Stormbreaker' has become a hit movie.

With their mix of clever writing, action-packed plots and larger than life characters, it's not hard to see why they have enjoyed such popularity.

His new book, 'Russian Roulette' features an assassin, Yassen Gregorovich, whose mission is to kill Alex Rider.

In fact Alex only appears in the very final scene of the book, where he comes face to face with this killer – a young man that we have come to know and, yes, even like.

The book is cleverly constructed.

At the beginning of the novel Yassen is sitting in his anonymous hotel, preparing to kill Alex Rider. While he waits for the appointed time he reads back over his diary, an extraordinary chronicle of an even more extraordinary life.

Born Yasha, he tells of his boyhood in a small town, 600 miles from Moscow. His parents worked in a local chemicals factory but when there was an accident in the main laboratory they raced home and injected Yassen with the only existing syringe of an antidote.

The factory was producing chemical weapons and in particular, a form of Anthrax. Yassen went on the run, escaping before the Russian government burnt his village and everyone in it, including his parents. All this in the first three chapters.

Yassen travels to Moscow, takes up with some street children, becomes a thief and, when found robbing an apartment, is forced to become a food taster for mafia psychopath, Vladimir Sharkovsky. During an attempted assassination of Vladimir, Yassen discovers SCORPIA, the most dangerous criminal organisation in the world, and so his path is set.

But will Alex live or die? You'll have to read the book to find out.

If you've ever wondered how a killer is created, read 'Russian Roulette'. It's quite simply one of the best teen spy thrillers I've ever read. Don't miss it.

Sarah Webb

Irish Independent

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