After ending his Alex Rider series with flashback volume Russian Roulette (2013), Horowitz revives his bestselling adventure series, sending his hero on a pursuit that is very, very personal.
Held captive by sadistic enemies in Scorpia Rising (2011), Alex was forced to watch the murder of his best friend and caregiver, Jack Starbright. Now safe, recovered from his wounds, and with his enemies dead, the white, English teen has moved to San Francisco with his foster family, the Pleasures, also white. He’s trying to live a normal life; he’s going to school, trying to fit in, not standing out even though he’d like nothing better than to trounce the local bullies. Then, out of the blue, he receives a truncated email: “ALEXX / I’M AL.” Immediately, against all odds, he knows that Jack’s alive and trying to reach out to him. His guardians don’t believe it, having seen the footage of Jack’s death. But Alex won’t give up—and it doesn’t take him long to slip away and start a globe-trekking search for the only person who has always been there for him. The time has come to be there for her, regardless of the consequences, with or without the help of his friends from MI6. This time, he’s on his own. In his usual breakneck fashion, Horowitz whisks Alex from one improbable situation to another, all of which Alex survives by using his wits and whatever else happens to be at hand.
It’s as if there’d been no interruption; this installment is sure to please Alex’s legions of fans. (Thriller. 10-14)