|Series||Alex Rider series|
|Genre||Adventure, Spy novel|
|12 November 2009 (UK)
17 November 2009 (US)
|Followed by||Scorpia Rising|
Crocodile Tears is the eighth novel in the Alex Rider series by British author Anthony Horowitz. It was released in the UK on 12 November 2009, published by Walker Books, and in the U.S. on 17 November 2009. On 17 December 2008, the title was revealed (in code) to be Crocodile Tears. The book was succeeded by Scorpia Rising, released in March 2011.
A nuclear technician in India plants a bomb on a pump in a nuclear power station in Jowada but is killed by the blast. A cloud of nuclear steam slowly travels towards Jowada, and a charity called First Aid quickly reacts to the disaster.
Months later, Alex Rider is spending New Year's with Sabina Pleasure and her family in Scotland. He goes to a New Year's Eve party hosted by the rich businessman Desmond McCain, founder of the fictitious charity First Aid. As Alex, Sabina, and her father drive home, a sniper shoots the tire of their car, causing them to lose control and crash into a loch. Alex, Sabina, and her father barely escape from the vehicle. Their escape is helped by an Indian man who is unidentified and unknown to them at the time.
Alex is later approached by a journalist named Harry Bulman who wants to publicise Alex's MI6 activities. Alex is forced to cooperate with MI6 on one last mission if they want Bulman to get out of his life. He is tasked with finding more information about a genetically modified plants research facility named Greenfields. He enters the facility while on a school trip and plugs in a USB drive to copy the contents of director Leonard Straik's computer. Straik (who is accompanied by McCain) discovers that the computer has been compromised and orders a massive manhunt to find the person responsible. Alex barely escapes the facility alive. McCain recognizes Alex, however, and contacts Bulman to learn more about him. After Bulman discloses all that he knows, McCain murders him to keep him silent.
McCain kidnaps Alex and flies him into Kenya. McCain reveals that he created his charity, First Aid, to steal money from the general public, responding to disasters that he creates himself. Preparing his charity for these engineered disasters, First Aid arrives on the scene first and collects a large sum of money. McCain also explains that he asked Greenfields to engineer a poison called ricin for crops that would kill half the population of Africa. McCain says he will make hundreds of millions of pounds during the first few months of the plague and intends to steal the money before running away and assuming a new identity in South America (Switzerland in the American version). The Wheat would start producing the poison when given the biological trigger of a mold Alex found at Greenfields.
McCain takes Alex to a nearby river and makes him hang from a pole above a river infested with hungry crocodiles. After interrogating Alex, McCain decides to go back on his deal and leave Alex to die hanging from the pole whilst Bennett watches. Whilst Bennett mocks Alex a man creeps up behind her and murders her, the remains are eaten by the crocodiles. Alex is rescued by the man and remembers that he is the same person from the loch. The man reveals himself to be Rahim and states that he works for the Indian Secret Service which sent him to kill McCain as an act of revenge for the Jowada nuclear disaster. Rahim admits that he can not shoot McCain as he is well guarded but states that he has a bomb which he can use on a plane to eliminate McCain. Alex reveals McCain's plans and how he wants to combat them. Rahim states that he does not have enough explosive to blow the dam up nor can he do it as he is injured. Alex then sends a note via RAW to MI6 and Jack stating that he is safe. Due to his injuries Rahim passes out and Alex steals the bomb and sets off for the dam. Alex blows up the dam with a bomb, killing everybody except himself. He is rescued by Rahim in a plane. All the crops that were carrying the poison were destroyed in the flood.
They touch down at a nearby airport to refuel, but McCain arrives and shoots Rahim, killing him. Alex jumps out of the plane, but injures his ankle in the process. Just when Alex is about to be killed, he rolls a barrel of fuel over to McCain and blows it up with an explosive gel pen Smithers gave him. Alex watches as McCain burns to death in a pillar of flame.
A few weeks later Alex is back in London healing from his wounds. Jack comes in and sits with him, reminding him that his fifteenth birthday is coming soon. She also assures him that this was his last mission and that MI6 will leave him alone. Alex briefly smiles and rests for the day.