Alex Rider: Nightshade by Anthony Horowitz

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Walker Books, 2020. ISBN: 9781406395877.
(Age: 10-16). Highly recommended. This book is number 13 in the series from Horowitz and does not disappoint his fans with another action-packed, exciting story involving Alex Rider, the teenage spy. Alex has officially retired from his duties with MI6 Special Operations and is looking forward to a normal life at school. A series of events involving a new terrorist organisition called Nightshade that uses children to perform their acts of violence convinces Alex to assist for one last time. Having caught Frederick Grey, one of the Nightshade children, MI6 special operations decides they need to send Alex into the prison where he is being held to get close to him and find out more about Nightshade. He is impersonating a former prisoner called Julius Grief who had plastic surgery to look just like Alex in the past. His handler Mrs. Jones has a personal interest in this project as her children were kidnapped to be part of Nightshade and Alex is tasked with trying to bring them home too.
Time is of the essence for Alex as MI6 knows Nightshade is planning a major terrorist attack on London within 3 weeks. Now, going into the highly secure prison is one thing as he has contacts there that can help him, but then Alex and Frederick escape Alex is taken back to Nightshade headquarters in Greece. Here things start to unravel for Alex as the attack draws nearer and the Nightshade controllers realize who he really is.
The book is certainly a great addition to this exciting series and fans of Alex Rider will love this story as it presents the real-world issue of terrorism and the horrifying idea that children are used to perform violent tasks in this way. The end of the story lets us know that this will not be the last of the books involving Nightshade. Themes: Espionage, Intelligence agencies, Terrorism, Adolescents.
Gabrielle Anderson