||To meet Wikipedia's quality standards, this book-related article may require cleanup. (October 2011)|
UK first edition cover
|Original title||Ark Angel|
|Series||Alex Rider series|
|Genre||Adventure, Spy novel, thriller novel|
|1 April 2005|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-7445-8324-1 (first edition, paperback)|
|LC Class||PZ7.H7875 Ar 2005|
Ark Angel is the sixth book in the Alex Rider series written by British author Anthony Horowitz. The book was released in the United Kingdom on April 1, 2005 and in the United States on April 20, 2006.
Following the events of Scorpia, Alex Rider is in a hospital recovering from an assassination attempt. Four masked men come to the hospital attempting to kidnap Paul Drevin, the son of Russian billionaire Nikolei Drevin, who is financing a revolutionary space hotel named "Ark Angel". Alex, in an attempt to save Paul, pretends to be Paul and fights the men. He knocks all four of them out using a variety of hospital equipment, but then a fifth man comes in to the hospital and overpowers Alex.
Alex is taken to a flat in a building site, where he finds out the men belong to Force Three, an eco-terrorist group led by a man named Kaspar. Despite proving he is not Paul Drevin, Force Three locks Alex up and sets fire to the apartment. Alex escapes and Drevin invites him to come and stay for two weeks in the lap of luxury for saving his son and see an Ark Angel rocket take off. While at Drevin's home, Alex starts to befriend Paul, but decides to leave him and his father once they arrive in New York en route to Flamingo Bay, due to the overly competitive Drevin nearly killing him in a go-kart race. Alex later attends a football match at Stamford Bridge between Stratford East, a team that Drevin owns, and Alex's team, Chelsea. Stratford East loses thanks to a botched penalty, and the player responsible is murdered by Force Three with a caesium medallion that he wears in the shower; unaware of the element's explosive properties if exposed to water or air, he is killed when it blows up due to the hot water.
At the New York airport, Alex is held up at customs and taken to the CIA. He is told that Drevin is a banker for a number of criminal organisations, and is forcibly recruited by the CIA to gain information on him. Upon his arrival at Flamingo Bay, Drevin learns of Alex's CIA connections and decides to have him killed while scuba diving. Alex becomes trapped in a sunken ship named the Mary Belle, but with the help of Tamara Knight, an undercover CIA agent posing as Drevin's secretary, Alex escapes.
Alex and Tamara hide on the island but are captured shortly after Force Three arrive on the island. Drevin ties Alex up and then tells Alex that his rocket Gabriel 7 contains a bomb that will destroy Ark Angel, causing it to fall to Earth and destroy Washington, D.C. This will eradicate the evidence against him the CIA have accumulated in the Pentagon, as well as letting him reclaim some of his money spent on the (now regretted) Ark Angel project. It is also revealed that Drevin created Force Three so that they could take the fall for Ark Angel's destruction and has them killed to maintain an illusion of an attack upon him by them.
Alex escapes using a CIA gadget from Tamara, and meets up with the CIA. They go back to the island to prevent the rocket from taking off, but they are unsuccessful. Drevin, fearing he will be captured, tries to get away in a seaplane but encounters Alex. He attempts to shoot him, but instead wounds his own son by accident. Trying to flee in the seaplane, Drevin is unaware that Alex has tied two canoes to the plane in an attempt to prevent it from taking off; the canoes get caught in some trees and Drevin's plane is destroyed, killing him.
Alex is then chosen to board a second rocket to move the bomb before it explodes, since he is the only one small enough to fit inside the spacecraft. When Alex arrives, he sees Kaspar, who had been sent up earlier to activate the bomb, and fights him. Alex gains the upper hand when Kaspar is blinded by the sun's light, and Kaspar is then killed when he falls back on his own knife. Alex moves the bomb into the station's toilet and escapes; though initially reluctant to allow the bomb to destroy Ark Angel, he reconsiders upon seeing Earth thousands of miles below and realizing that it teems with life while the space hotel is utterly sterile and devoid of life or colour. His escape capsule splashes down in the sea near Australia. The bomb explodes and the satellite, instead of crashing onto Washington, is blown apart completely.
Philip Ardagh at The Guardian gave Ark Angel a positive review, stating "It's perfectly pitched at its readership. Ark Angel reads the way a children's thriller should read" and "This is a welcome new addition [to the series]." However, Joe Queenan of The New York Times gave the book a more negative review. Comparing it to Charlie Higson's Blood Fever, the reviewer criticised Ark Angel for having "zero intellectual content", calling Horowitz's prose style "clunky, uninspiring". He also described Alex as "oddly bland" and "humorless".
- "Ark Angel announced". Anthony Horowitz. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
- "Ark Angel in the USA". Anthony Horowitz news. February 2006. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
- Philip Ardagh (9 April 2005). "Alex rides again". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
- Queenan, Joe (18 June 2006). "Teenage Spy Books by Charlie Higson and Anthony Horowitz". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
- Official website of the Alex Rider series
- Ark Angel at Walker Books
- Anthony Horowitz Official Website