Dec 10, 2009

Alex Rider Week At The Double O Section

I've talked about Anthony Horowitz and his creation, teen spy Alex Rider, frequently on the Double O Section. As far back as my very first week of posting, in fact, when Horowitz and Young Bond author Charlie Higson were featured on my list of relevant people in spy media. Check out that post for a good primer on Alex Rider. I've followed up on that initial list twice, checking in on what was going on the world of Alex Rider on my first blogiversary and, recently, on my third. I've covered Alex Rider in books, film and comics. But I've never reviewed any of the Horowitz's novels here. And there's certainly a lot more to say about a character who's such a phenomenon in publishing right now. Horowitz created one of the great TV detectives in Christopher Foyle, hero of his brilliant series Foyle's War, and, unsurprisingly, his Young Adult books stand out in a market revitalized in the last decade by J.K. Rowling and flush with Harry Potter imitators ever since. It was a brilliantly simply formula he came up with:

Harry Potter + James Bond = Alex Rider

In the hands of a lesser writer, the concept might have come off as a blatant ripoff. But not in Horowitz's hands. (And not in Charlie Higson's, either, who performed a similar feat with his novels about Young James Bond. But I've discussed those plenty before.) The Alex Rider books are well-written adventures introducing a whole generation of Young Adult readers to the world of spy fiction. Over the next week, I'll be examining all aspects of the series in more detail.

I'll start by running down the basics. There are eight Alex Rider novels so far. They are:

Stormbreaker (2000)
Point Blanc (Point Blank in the United States) (2001)
Skeleton Key (2002)
Eagle Strike (2003)
Scorpia (2004)
Ark Angel (2005)
Snakehead (2007)
Crocodile Tears (2009)

The first three books have been adapted into graphic novels, as well, by Antony Johnston and artists Kanako and Yuzuru. They are:

Stormbreaker (2006)
Point Blanc (2007)
Skeleton Key (2009)

Stormbreaker was also adapted into a film in 2006. Despite a stellar cast, its distribution (what there was of it, anyway) was seriously mishandled in the United States by The Weinstein Company, and the film flopped.

We'll be looking at lots of these in more detail over the coming week, starting with the latest book, Crocodile Tears. Stay tuned!

2 comments:

David said...

I can't wait!

Christopher Mills said...

Great subject for a theme week! I'm looking forward to it!