Are you interested in the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz, but you are intimidated by just how many books there are in the series? Then this guide will have all the information you need.
In this guide we have gathered and simplified all the main stories in the Alex Rider series as well as the side books, and any other content of note like graphic novels.
If you are not familiar with the Alex Rider series, it follows a young boy who at the start of the series gets recruited by MI6 to be a spy. The first story in the series is called Stormbreaker and it is seen as the best starting point for the series.
This was published back in 2000, and the series has been getting new releases consistently since then.
The releases were previously a bit more frequent with the first few being annually, but Horowitz has slowed down in more recent years with stories being spread over a slightly longer period of time.
So, if you want to know about all the books in the series, but have no clue which are the best and where you should start, read on!
About The Alex Rider Books
As referenced in the introduction, the Alex Rider books follow the only spy who is a teenager.
We start the series following the death of the titular character’s uncle who unbeknownst to him is actually a British secret agent and this leads to Alex getting caught up in this world too.
The series has been getting new releases since 2000 with the most recent story being published in 2020, and since then the series has gained a reputable following and gains new younger and older fans consistently.
The author, Anthony Horowitz is also British, and his series has sold over 19 million total copies over its lifespan, and the books have sold well worldwide.
The plots created by Horowitz are well known for how fast-paced, and packed with action they are, as well as containing mature themes in a way that is suitable for a mixed audience.
If you are looking for a series to hook you in, the Alex Rider series should be a top contender.
While Horowitz is likely most well known for the Alex Rider series, it is not the only series he has written with other popular titles being his novels for the Sherlock Holmes and James Bond franchises gaining recognition, and he has also written for films and TV as well!
Alex Rider Books In Order
As previously mentioned, the first story in the Alex Rider series is Stormbreaker and this follows Rider when he is just 14 and has only recently been employed by MI6.
The first mission he has in his premier book is to take down the organization that is responsible for not just killing his mentor, but his uncle as well.
The way he does this is by going undercover in a school for international students that has connections to the private agency Scorpia.
While this is where the series starts, throughout the series Ryder will learn more and more about what it means to be involved with MI6 and the repercussions and moral lessons that come with the work he does.
While Alex Rider is told that his uncle actually died in an accident for not wearing his seatbelt, when Rider finds that the windshield of the car is filled with bullet holes, he starts to doubt the truth that he has been told.
However, what he is even more surprised to learn is that his uncle actually died while working on a secret mission with MI6, but once Rider has learned the truth, it will be harder to turn back than he thought.
Before he knows it, Alex is intertwined with groups of terrorists who are conspiring to kill him, so Alex is tasked with having to outsmart them.
He has now got the technology needed to have an equal footing, but if he does not have the courage, there is only so much he can do. Alex has the future of all children in England resting on his shoulders, so for his first mission, there is plenty of pressure!
- An amazing point to start the series and does a great job of introducing us to our protagonist.
- Will let you know if this is a series that you enjoy, or that you will not.
Point Blank (2001)
For his next big mission, Rider, still 14 is assigned to go, again, undercover at a school. Only this time it is a prep school for the elite which is used for straightening out teenage rebels.
Two fathers of students have been assassinated, and Rider needs to find out why. The exclusive Point Blanc Academy is located within the French Alps giving Rider a new environment he needs to become accustomed to.
While being undercover and getting used to a new life is one thing, balancing spy work with homework proves to be more of a challenge than Alex imagined. There is the charismatic Principal named Dr Grief, and the only other teacher is the strict Mrs Stellenbosch.
And Alex finds that most of the students at the school have been taught not just to be studious, but to be perfect and act almost identically.
When Alex starts to uncover the truth of the school, he finds that the villains are starting to catch on to him, but when the base of operations only has a black ski run as a way of escape, he finds that he will need to be more careful than ever.
- The unique environment for this one helps it stand out from the debut book in a good way.
- If you do not like teenage books that somehow always manage to be stuck in a school setting, this might frustrate you.
Skeleton Key (2002)
For just being 14, Alex Rider has already been through a lot, whether it is being shot at by terrorists who work on an international scale, or being chased down a mountain on a homemade snowboard, he has had to deal with facing death head on multiple times.
He has saved the world multiple times, but it has almost killed him as well. However, now in Skeleton Key, Rider has to face the desperation of a man who has nothing left to care for with his son and his country done.
This is the same man who has access to nuclear weaponry and who has a grudge against what Alex defends. He wants Russia to have the dominance it used to, and Alex is the only one who can stop him.
This is the first time that Alex has to team up with spies from America’s CIA. He is fighting against terror on the beaches of Miami and up to the icy northern regions of Russia.
- The massive stakes and changing settings of this story make it a thrill to read.
- If you are sensitive to stories surrounding nuclear war, this might be a skip.
Eagle Strike (2003)
In the fourth Alex Rider story we are introduced to Damian Cray who is an activist for peace, a famous philanthropist, and likely the most popular pop singer, however, he needs more if he wants to save the world too.
Rider realizes that the world will not be saved by Cray, but will likely need to be saved from him, because under all of the glamour of his daily life, Alex recognizes the twisted mind of Damian who is willing to sacrifice a lot to see his version of a perfect world be achieved.
But what makes this story different is that Alex does not have the aid of the government, so he is on his own to prove that Damian needs to be stopped.
- This is the first story that fleshes out the villain and makes them such a unique character worth following.
- The character of Damian can be grating and makes this story annoying for some to read.
What Alex Rider has been told is that he looks just like the father which he never got to meet, but what surprises him more is that his father may have also been an assassin on the side of the massively dangerous terrorist group: Scorpia.
This of course shatters Rider’s perspective of his life so far, and even worse, Scorpia wants Rider on their side. With such a weak will, Alex does not even have the energy to fight them, however, his new knowledge of their plan ‘Invisible Sword’ might change that.
- Getting to learn more about Alex’s past and family makes this an engaging read.
- If you are not a fan of more introspective spy thrillers, this might not be your favorite.
Ark Angel (2005)
Ark Angel shows Rider recovering from the bullet of a sniper that almost killed him, but of course he survived only to have to deal with even more trouble. Kidnappers actually snatch a patient from the hospital he is staying in, and Alex can not help but get involved.
When he manages to save the boy, he realizes the patient is the son of the richest man alive.
The billionaire is being targeted by a group of terrorists who target his outer space hotel project and want to do whatever they can to stop it, even if it means the remains of the hotel will be sent hurtling down to Earth.
- Following Rider after a life-changing injury gives this story a fresh perspective.
- The plot of an outer space hotel made this a little hard for some reader to believe.
Snakehead starts with Rider crashing on the coast of Australia and he is soon recruited by the local Secret Service.
They want him to infiltrate one of the more ruthless gangs in the southeast of Asia called Snakeheads, who are known to smuggle anything from weapons, to people.
This mission also gives Alex a chance to get to know more about his parents since he is working closely with his godfather. However, he starts to uncover a dark secret which may lead him to his most dangerous mission, and back to Scorpia.
- The fresh setting and Alex’s godfather makes this a nice change of pace.
- The Snakeheads being paired with Scorpia means they get a little overshadowed as antagonists.
Crocodile Tears (2009)
A successful con man has realized that there is massive potential for money if you get charity involved, and the more of a disaster you create, the more money you can source to ‘help’ it.
So, of course this leads the villain to produce the greatest disaster possible so he can profit from it. He does this by producing a genetically modified version of corn that on a windy day will release a potent virus capable of taking out a whole country.
Alex Rider gets involved to help stop this from happening, but this adversary might be the first able to stop him.
- The plot has a different structure from previous narratives and is a refreshing read.
- The focus on the villain and his scheme leaves Rider a little lost in the story.
Scorpia Rising (2011)
This story brings Scorpia back into the forefront as the antagonists who have bothered Rider for most of his life so far.
They were responsible for the death of his parents, and they keep coming back to try and mess with his life. This story takes place in the Middle East and is likely Alex’s most dangerous yet.
- The return to Scorpia was worth the wait.
- If you want a fresh villain, this will be disappointing.
Russian Roulette (2013)
This is a prequel to the main series and follows the story of Yassen Gregorovich. This character has been pivotal in the series, so getting to see his motivations is a rewarding experience for a fan of the series.
- Getting to learn more about Yassen is refreshing.
- If you are not a fan of the character, you will not be a fan of this story.
Never Say Die (2017)
This follow up continues just a few weeks after Scorpia Rising and shows Alex recovering from a tragic death, but when given a small chance of hope, Alex takes it!
- More Scorpia makes this more focused approach fun to follow.
- The villains feel just a little weak in this story.
Secret Weapon (2019) (Short Story Collection)
This short story collection is a change of pace, but a good read if you want something more digestible from the Alex Rider series.
- If you want a change of pace with the same characters this will be perfect.
- If you want something with more depth, this isn’t it.
The most recent mainline entry in the series follows Alex with a new threat, Nightshade, and they are planning to attack Alex’s hometown, which of course he needs to thwart.
- The new villains are threatening and a great way to revitalise the series.
- It’s sad to have to move on from Scorpia.
Hopefully this guide has given you all the key information on how to start the Alex Rider series!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is There An Alex Rider TV Show?
There was a TV adaptation of the second and fourth books in the series released on Amazon Prime!