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Scorpia Rising
SCORPIA RISING.jpg
First edition cover
Author Anthony Horowitz
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Alex Rider series
Genre Adventure, spy novel
Publisher Walker Books
Publication date
31 March 2011
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 431
ISBN 9780142419854
Preceded by Crocodile Tears 
Followed by Russian Roulette 

Scorpia Rising is the ninth novel in the Alex Rider series, written by British author Anthony Horowitz. It was published on 31 March 2011.

Plot

Zeljan Kurst, chief executive of the criminal organization Scorpia, is approached by Yannis Ariston Xenopolos, a Greek billionaire suffering from terminal cancer, to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece. A tip-off leads MI6 to attempt capturing him at the British Museum, but Kurst escapes amidst an intense firefight between the SAS personnel and Scorpia operatives. Scorpia's executive board meets up on a riverboat in Paris, where new member Abudl-Aziz al-Razim, a former Mukhabarat and Al-Qaeda operative, is selected to be in charge of returning the Elgin Marbles back to Greece, he discusses plan involving Alex Rider (an old enemy of Scorpia's), which will result in Alex's death and the UK's downfall. Despite many members of the executive board expressing general amusement with Razim's plan, Levi Kroll protests and threatens to kill Zeljan Kurst if Scorpia does not let him leave, but is shot by a sniper Kurst set up (for this exact purpose) and Kurst then makes use of his body as part of Razim's plan. Meanwhile, Scorpia then manages to extract Julius Grief (a clone of Dr. Hugo Grief, but who had plastic surgery done to look exactly like Alex Rider) from a top-secret prison in Gibraltar, while at the same time faking his death. Scorpia begins its operation by arranging for Levi Kroll's body to be found in the River Thames. Using evidence stored in Kroll’s body, MI6 suspects an upcoming attack by Scorpia at the Cairo International College of Arts and Education (CICAE) in Cairo, Egypt. Alan Blunt, head of MI6, plans to recruit Alex on the mission, which his deputy, Mrs. Jones, refuses. At Alex Rider's school, Alex is attacked by a sniper in Mathematics class. Tracking down the sniper, he causes the helicopter, which the sniper was escaping in, to crash into the Thames. Later that evening, Alan Blunt and Mrs. Jones visit Alex in his house in Chelsea and arrange for Alex to go to Cairo and investigate the CICAE and Erik Gunter. MI6 think that something is not right at the CICAE, particularly when the school’s old head of security died in a hit and run case. So they send Alex in as a student. Jack Starbright, Alex's guardian, demands to come along to keep an eye on him, to which MI6 reluctantly agrees. Smithers, the gadget master, is also sent to aid Alex in his mission.

Alex's investigation of Gunter leads him to the House of Gold, a floating armaments workshop. There, Gunter commissions the purchase of a sniper rifle and kills the salesperson, known as Habib. Gunter then blows up the House of Gold, causing Alex to be swept into the Nile. Alex is then captured by an unknown organization (later turning out to be the CIA), who waterboard him for the information at their headquarters. The head of the CIA, Joe Byrne, dismisses CIA operative Blake Lewinsky and the interrogators, and explains the CIA are there to protect the American Secretary of State in Cairo, who is due to give a speech denouncing Britain's status as a world power. Alex tells Byrne about Gunter's involvement in Habib's murder, and Byrne agrees to keep an eye on Gunter. Presuming that the CIA will take care of Gunter, Alex and Jack decide to return to England, and visits Smithers' house to inform him about his decision. However, Scorpia operatives assault Smithers' house, and he and Smithers barely manage to escape thanks to the multitude of gadgets in the house, including a trap door in the doormat and an escape tunnel hidden in the fridge. Before leaving, Smithers removes a fat suit that he has actually worn a since Alex first met him.

Returning home, Alex finds that Jack has been kidnapped by Scorpia, and is instructed to go to a cemetery, the City of the Dead, where he is confronted by Julius and Gunter. Alex is taken to Razim's fort, where he reunites with Jack and spends a day within the fort heavily supervised. Jack reveals she plans to break out that night. That night, Alex is taken to Razim's laboratory, where Razim reveals that he anticipated her escape and Julius blows up Jack with a car bomb despite Alex's protests. Overwhelmed with grief, Alex passes out. The following night, Alex is taken back to Cairo. While waiting in a van, Gunter reveals Scorpia's plan to Alex. Scorpia has been compiling fabricated evidence alleging that MI6 used a teenage boy to kill the American Secretary of State, and plans to threaten the British government with the file which will frame Alex and destroy the reputation of the British government, forcing them to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece. However, Alex later manages to overpower and kill Gunter after Gunter is stung by a scorpion. He seizes the pistol and pursues Julius. He manages to stop Julius's attempt to shoot the American Secretary of State and he tries to flee. Julius is injured in the chase and gloats that Alex will never kill him, before attempting to shoot him, forcing Alex to return fire in self-defense, killing Julius. Alex then returns to the CIA, who forms a joint task force with the Egyptian secret service to take out Razim in the desert, taking Alex with them to help. When he arrives at Razim's fort, Alex, masquerading as Julius, manages to deactivate the fort's defense system before the CIA and the Egyptians attack the fort. Alex confronts Razim on a bridge, and Razim tries to shoot him, but Blake Lewinsky shoots out the bridge, causing Razim to fall into a pile of salt underneath. Razim dies as he gets sucked into the salt and suffocates, and the task force manages to overpower Razim's remaining men.

In the aftermath, the remaining Scorpia members are arrested or executed, including Kurst, causing Scorpia to disband as their reputation is utterly destroyed. Back in England, Blunt retires and leaves his job to Mrs. Jones, who reveals that she knew that Blunt ordered the sniper to fire at Alex's school. Due to the killing of Julius, Razim's gruesome death, and the supposed killing of Jack leaving him broken, Mrs. Jones vows never to use Alex as an agent ever again. Meanwhile, Alex, now the ward of Sabina Pleasure's father Edward, is preparing to leave for America, where he may go on to lead a normal life.

Characters

Protagonists

  • Alex Rider - Alex Rider is an incredibly skilled teenage spy. Throughout the series, Alex's mentality or body is damaged in some way after each mission, but after this one, he is marred forever.
  • Jack Starbright - Alex's housekeeper and mother figure, Jack is fiercely protective over Alex. Ultimately, her love for Alex proves to be both their downfalls.
  • Alan Blunt - The utterly ruthless Head of MI6, Alan Blunt is threatened with losing his job after the events of Eagle Strike, but his threat finally becomes real at the end of the book.
  • Mrs. Jones - Alan Blunt's empathetic, but equally ruthless Deputy Head and the only one of the two who is on good speaking terms with Alex Rider. She becomes the Head of MI6 after the events of the book.
  • Smithers - The incredibly warm-hearted quartermaster of MI6. It appears that his greatest gadget of all is his own skin: He looks fat, but that is just a disguise. He is very different underneath.
  • Prime Minister - The unnamed Prime Minister of Britain. He fires Alan Blunt from his job after becoming the Prime Minister.

Antagonists

  • Razim - Razim is the ultimate sociopath who intends to create a unit of measurement for pain. Despite his intelligence, he is shown to be almost completely incapable of emotion.
  • Julius Grief - A clone of Dr. Hugo Grief - From the book Point Blanc - who received plastic surgery that made him completely identical to Alex Rider. He is a sadistic and vengeful psychopath who is obsessed with killing Alex Rider.
  • Erik Gunter - A war hero from Afghanistan, who betrays his country to work for Scorpia.
  • Zeljan Kurst - The Head of the Executive Board of Scorpia. Kurst is arrested at the end of the book.
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