I'm a bit behind the times with this one... It was released in 2004. They even made a film in 2006, which I haven't seen either. So if I'm the last person in the world to read this, then feel free to ignore!
We follow Alex, who at 14 has a pretty unusual life. As an orphan he's grown up living with his uncle, travelling and doing all sorts of interesting things. Alex is told that his uncle has been suddenly killed in a car crash, but things aren't adding up. It turns out his uncle worked for MI6 and was murdered.... and now they want Alex to finish the mission he started.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. A 3 certainly isn't bad - I just think that even though I read a lot of children's fiction, being a 30 year old woman probably means I'm not the target audience for this one ;) If you're looking for a solid action novel with a highly likeable main character then this is definitely for you.
Age Suggestion: 10+. I think to understand Alex's sarcastic humour and enjoy the action-nature of the story it's more suited to upper primary.
Ability Range: 10+. It's certainly not overly complicated vocabulary, but more specific to the action genre and the UK in general.
Content Notes: Alex is an orphan who's only living relative also dies, and this isn't really ever addressed / Alex doesn't really seem to grieve. This is the first book in a series though, so maybe there's more about it in later instalments. There's one particularly shudder-inducing comment about potentially eating dog, and otherwise just lots of gun violence and the threat of biochemical warfare.
If you're one of the last people to read this one, like me, check it out here!