THE ALEX RIDER PHENOMENON – GADGETS AND VILLAINS

Today we continue our series of posts about Alex Rider, the superspy who has enthralled millions of readers worldwide.

Alex’s creator, Anthony Horowitz chose to write about a teen supe spy because:

“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.”

As my own son approaches this ‘golden’ age, I have to agree with Horowitz that it’s a special time. I also feel a certain sadness for Alex that he is alone without parents to love and guide him through this important stage in his life.

But this feeling doesn’t last. The Alex Rider books are so full of vitality and action that it’s hard to feel sorry for the teen superspy for long.

THE VILLAINS

Alex Rider faces some formidable foes, but Horowitz has equipped him with the technology and the talents to defeat the most vile villains:

1.  Herod Sayle (Stormbreaker) – A wealthy computer genius seeking revenge on a childhood bully.

2.  Dr Grief (Point Blanc) – An evil mad scientist with plans to take over the world.

3.   Colonel Sarov (Skeleton Key) – A man who wants to bring back communism to ‘save’ his country and the world.

4.  Damian Cray( Eagle Strike) – An insane anti-drugs campaigner.

5.  Julia Rothman (Scorpia) – The ruthless head of a secret organization.

6.  Nikolei Drevin (Ark Angel) – A major criminal with big plans

7.  Major Winston Yu (Snakehead) – A man with major plans to disrupt a peace conference.

8.  Desmond McCain (Crocodile Tears) – Some people will do anything for money.

Anthony Horowitz says that the inspiration for his villains comes from people he reads about in newspapers. And of course many of these bad guys and girls have access to the latest technology.

WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY

I’m convinced that technology is part of the appeal of the Alex Rider books. Apart from the gadgets, there are guns, bombs, Geiger counters, cars, planes and rockets. In many of the books there is also a healthy dose of science.

Horowitz has this to say about his technology:

In Stormbreaker, it’s computer technology. That’s followed by cloning technology in Point Blanc. Scorpia looks at the extraordinary world of nanotechnology, particles so tiny that you could fit a million of them on the dot of this i. When I wrote Snakehead I had to dip my toe into the science of meteorology and the way tsunamis are formed. An in Ark Angel, of course Alex finds himself heading for outer space.

It seems there’s nowhere Alex won’t go and nothing he can’t conquer. I for one am looking forward to reading his ninth adventure, due in 2011.

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Published by

Dee White

Dee White lives with her husband and two sons in a small rural country town which has more kangaroos than people. She has worked as an advertising copywriter and journalist and has had numerous career changes because until recently, writing wasn’t considered to be a proper job. Letters to Leonardo, her first novel with Walker Books Australia, was published in 2009 to great critical acclaim.