Friday 25 May 2012

146. Agent 21: Reloaded by Chris Ryan

Agent 21: Reloaded by Chris Ryan
Published May 2012 Random House

From the publisher:

In the year since Zak Darke was approached by a shadowy government agency to become Agent 21, his world has changed completely. But there is no time to reflect on this - the undercover operations go on. Zak is sent to a port in west Africa, a known terrorist stronghold, under the guise of working on a charity volunteer project. But charity work could not be further from Zak's real mission - he must sneak on board an enemy ship, gather information - and then destroy it. Never has Zak's training been more useful: Trust nobody.

18 months ago Zak Darke 'died', he is now living as Agent 21. Zak has been undergoing his gruelling training at St Peter's Crag and he is about to be sent on his first solo mission.  Zak is sent to Africa on a mission to destroy a ship that carries as it;s passengers the terrorist group Black Wolf.  His cover is to work as a volunteer, building a school, but the school building is on hold on account of gun toting thugs. So not only do we have a mission to destroy a terrorist group, Zak takes it upon himself to help the community by dealing with the thugs.  While his escapades on land seem successful. the action really heats up out at sea, when things do not go quite to plan.

The book is told in alternate chapters.  Zak's story and then Ellie's (Zak's cousin) story. While Zak is on his mission Ellie is approached by a strange and threatening man and this leaves her extremely unsettled, not in the least because he showed her a photo that has more than a passing resemblance to her supposed dead cousin.  Her curiosity piqued, Ellie sneaks out in the wee small hours to visit her cousins grave, only to find that the grave has been dug up, and the coffin cracked open.  The mystery develops when she is visited by the mysterious Gabs, and finds out that someone is out to kill her.

I hadn't read book 1 of this series, simply called Agent 21, but I didn't feel that I had missed out on much of the story line. There's enough background information given, so that you can understand what has come before.

Boys seem to flock to Chris Ryan with almost the same enthusiasm as the have for Anthony Horowitz and Robert Muchamore, and I am not surprised.  Chris Ryan is ex SAS, and so he writes with a wealth of background knowledge in the world of covert ops.  There are fake identities, weapons training, deep sea diving on sunken military vessels where the bodies still remain, secret missions and a whole cast of bad guys,  including the one eyed assassin, Calaca.  As you can imagine by the storyline, you can expect some degree of violence in this book, gun fights, brutal stabbings and sprays of blood and gore.

Who will like this book: Boys age 12+
Read it if you like: Cherub series OR Alex Rider

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