Russian Roulette by Anthony Horowitz
Walker Books, 2013. ISBN 9781406350869.
(Ages: 11+). Highly recommended. Realistic fiction. This book starts at about Chapter 17 of the first Alex Rider book (Stormbreaker). It tells the story of the mysterious Yassen Gregorovich's past and what made him who he is.
This begins with Yassen receiving a three word message from Scorpia; 'Kill Alex Rider'. Yassen is then struck by the similarities between himself and Alex and starts reading his diary to find out why.
From Estrov to Moscow to Venice, this is Yassen's story of how he came from a non-existent village to his family's killers' slave to the assassin he is in the Alex Rider series. There are some violent and somewhat grisly scenes, but all in all I recommend it highly.
Jos Alcorn (Student)