Scorpia (novel)

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First edition cover
Scorpia Cover
Author Anthony Horowitz
Illustrator Jack Pare
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Alex Rider series
Genre Adventure, Spy novel, thriller
Publisher Walker Books (UK)
Publication date
1 April 2004
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 369 pg. (first edition, paperback) 388 pg. (second edition, paperback) 312 pg. (third edition, hardback)
ISBN ISBN 0-7445-8323-3 (first edition, paperback) ISBN 0-399-24151-5 (first edition, hardback)
OCLC 54824099
LC Class PZ7.H7875 Sc 2004
Preceded by Eagle Strike
Followed by Ark Angel

Scorpia is the fifth book in the Alex Rider series (stories about the adventures of Alex Rider a 14–15-year-old spy), written by British author Anthony Horowitz. It begins several weeks after the events of fourth book, Eagle Strike, and up to nine days before the sixth, Ark Angel.

The book concerns the plans of a criminal organisation attempting to disrupt UK/US relations by murdering schoolchildren. Alex thwarts them by infiltrating the organisation but is apparently killed by a sniper.

It was released in the United Kingdom on April 1, 2004 and in the United States on March 17, 2005.


The letters SCORPIA stand for "Sabotage, Corruption, Intelligence and Assassination".


In a secret meeting room of criminal organization SCORPIA, Julia Rothman briefs her colleagues on their latest project, codenamed "Invisible Sword." It is a plan to murder children aged 12 – 14 in Great Britain and destroy the friendly relations between the United States and the United Kingdom. Alex Rider is on a trip with his friend Tom Harris in Venice in search of SCORPIA, the name that Yassen Gregorovich gave Alex before dying in the prior novel. While investigating at a party being held in the house of Julia Rothman, Alex is captured by a SCORPIA assassin called Nile and is left to die in a water room, but manages to escape, barely. Alex is tutored about BASE jumping from Tom's brother Jerry and infiltrates the pharmaceutical company Consanto. He runs into Nile again; however, this time Nile takes Alex to see Julia Rothman. Rothman offers Alex a job at SCORPIA, which he accepts after Rothman tells him that SCORPIA had hired his father John Rider as an assassin. She also tells Alex that John was killed by MI6 during a prisoner exchange at Albert Bridge. Alex's first task is to kill his former MI6 superior, Mrs Jones.

SCORPIA sent a letter to the Government informing them of the power of Invisible Sword. To demonstrate, they tell them that they will kill the England B national football team as they arrive at London Heathrow Airport without using any weapons. Despite increased security, the team mysteriously dies. Alex sneaks back into England amid the chaos. He then sneaks into Mrs Jones's apartment to kill her, but is unsuccessful and is arrested.

Alan Blunt, the head of MI6, takes Alex to a COBRA meeting to figure out what Invisible Sword is and how to stop it. With Alex's help, they determine that SCORPIA embedded gold-encased nanoshells into the football players' bloodstream. The nanoshells were hidden in vaccinations and contained cyanide, and when activated by terahertz transmitters, the gold wore away and the cyanide was released into the bloodstream, killing all of the players instantly. SCORPIA will then kill London's schoolchildren, including Alex (Due to Rothman's hatred for him due to his father's later-revealed double-cross,) as they had all recently been vaccinated.

Alex agrees to help MI6 out and pretends to come back to Scorpia. Rothman and Nile take him to an abandoned church; Scorpia has placed a terahertz transmitter in a hot air balloon. At a certain height, Scorpia will then be able to activate the nanoshells across the entire London metropolitan area. Alex activates a transmitter disguised as a retainer in his mouth and the SAS invades the church. As the balloon begins to rise, Alex jumps onto it but is closely followed by Nile. Alex damages the transmitter dishes, causing them to plunge to the ground, and succeeds in knocking Nile off the balloon to his death. Rothman attempts to escape from the church but is crushed by the balloon's falling basket. In the final pages of the novel, Alex learns that his father was a double agent for MI6, and the bridge scene was staged. Scorpia learned that John Rider was still alive and SCORPIA took revenge by blowing up the plane that he and Alex's mother Helen were flying in. In Snakehead, it is revealed that a Scorpia agent within MI6 planted the bomb. In the final scene, as Alex exits the MI6 headquarters, a SCORPIA assassin and successful sniper shoots him in the chest, but he felt no pain. He collapses, and loses consciousness.


The official review from Amazon Canada said, "Fans of the Alex Rider Adventures will not be disappointed by the slam-bang action in this fifth book in the spy thriller series, although the ending may leave them feeling a bit dismayed." [1]


On the first lines of the first page of the last chapter 'A Mother's Touch', there is a reference to the horror film The Grudge, saying 'Scorpia never forgave. Scorpia never forgot.'.


The book won many awards and was accredited as an excellent book for young adults. It was nominated and won the following awards:

  • Lincolnshire Young People's Book Award
  • Grampian Children's Book Award
  • Berkshire Book Award
  • Gateshead Children's Book Award
  • Galaxy British Book Awards: The Children's Book of the Year
  • Doncaster Children's Book of the Year Award
  • Redbridge Children's Book Award
  • BAA and Expedia Book Awards
  • Berkshire Book Award
  • Lancashire Children's Book of the Year
  • Salford Children's Book Award
  • Staffordshire Young Teen Fiction Award
  • Lancashire Fantastic Book Award

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