First edition cover
|Genre||Children's, Thriller, Spy novel|
|Publisher||Hodder and Stoughton|
|1 October 2007|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-340-91171-9 (first edition, paperback)|
|Preceded by||The Fall|
|Followed by||The Sleepwalker|
|James' eighth mission|
Following the collapse of KMG (Keith Moore's Gang) at the end of Class A, rival drug gangs the Mad Dogs and the Slasher Boys engage in a violent turf war for control of the Luton underworld. Cherubs Gabrielle O'Brien and Michael Hendry are sent to infiltrate the Slasher Boys. While carrying out a delivery for Major Dee, the leader of the Slasher Boys, Gabrielle's contact is killed by members of rival gang the Runts and Gabrielle is grievously wounded after being stabbed by a Runt.
Meanwhile, James Adams and his new girlfriend Dana Smith are helping on the last few days of normal training as instructors. While there, Ukrainian instructor Yosyp Kazakov is accidentally knocked out when trainee Kevin Sumner throws a smoke canister at him. The seven trainees, realising it will be hours before Dana returns with head instructor George Pike, overpower and bind James. When Dana and Pike return they free James. Pike is unable to fail all the trainees, so they decide to punish Kevin and his friend Ronan Welsh by ordering them to stand to attention holding rifles until dawn. James feels guilty about the severity of the punishment, but Kazakov tells him that "A soldier is only as tough as the person who trains them."
Disgraced instructor Norman Large tries to blackmail Lauren, threatening to kill CHERUB chairwoman Zara Asker's Beagle Meatball unless Lauren testifies to the CHERUB disciplinary committee that he was not drunk when he suffered a heart attack on a training exercise in the previous book. Kyle, James, Kerry, Lauren and Bruce decide to get revenge by setting up James with Large's adopted daughter Hayley and taking pictures of the two making out. When Large discovers their ploy he attempts to kill Meatball before being knocked out Lauren. Large is sacked by Zara, who also expels Kyle as she rationalizes that, as he is on the brink of retirement, he will simply quit CHERUB to avoid punishment. Kyle decides to go on a gap year before studying law at Cambridge, but not before James and the other cherubs throw him a leaving party.
Gabrielle barely survives her injury and the CHERUB Ethics Committee think of calling off the mission but are persuaded to send James and Bruce to infiltrate the Mad Dogs. James uses his past relationship with Keith Moore's son and Mad Dog associate Junior Moore to make infiltrating the gang easier. He is soon accepted into the gang and given a major role. An older gang member, David "Wheels" Kemp, invites James on a hotel robbery. However, James being given a high role annoys Junior, who Mad Dogs leader Sasha Thompson is trying to protect. Junior tries to persuade James to join him in the robbery of a travel agent, but James declines. Junior successful robs the travel agent but is arrested moments after.
Sasha plans a great drug robbery on Major Dee. They get into an apartment. Some gang members are by pretending the people need to fill in a form. They then Taser the woman who opens the door, before capturing nearly all the people inside with the use of handcuffs and rubber gags. James decides to help a young boy found inside who is not treated well, and one of the cocaine dealers is freed so he can continue dealing and avoid suspicion. However the gang have to leave not long after. James, though reluctant, loses his virginity to Sasha's daughter Lois, who suddenly meets him when he is having a bath. James tells his girlfriend Dana and Dana, although hurt, forgives him. Afterwards, James, Bruce and Michael successfully complete their mission and Bruce earns a black shirt.