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First edition cover
|Series||Alex Rider series|
|Genre||Adventure, Spy novel, thriller|
|Publisher||Walker Books (UK)|
|4 September 2003|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Pages||388 pp (first edition, paperback)|
|Preceded by||Skeleton Key|
Eagle Strike is the fourth book in the Alex Rider series written by British author Anthony Horowitz. The book was released in the United Kingdom on September 4, 2003 and in the United States on April 12, 2004. It is set mostly in Southern France, Paris, Amsterdam, and London.
While on holiday in the South of France with his friend Sabina Pleasure, Alex Rider runs into the assassin Yassen Gregorovich, who killed Alex's uncle in the first novel Stormbreaker. When the Pleasures' holiday home explodes in a supposed gas leak, Alex suspects Yassen is involved and sneaks onto his yacht. He comes incredibly close to shooting Yassen, but Yassen outthinks him, captures him and enters him in a bullfight as punishment. After escaping, Alex calls a number he found on Yassen's mobile phone and hears pop star Damian Cray's voice. He tells MI6 about this, but Alan Blunt, head of the MI6 refuses to follow up on it as he believes it would be politically wrong if the press ever found out that MI6 was investigating Cray. Alex tells Sabina about his double life as a spy, but she does not believe him and refuses to speak with him.
Alex meets a photographer named Marc Antonio in Paris; he reveals that Sabina's father was investigating Cray, and Antonio is killed shortly afterwards by a death squad. Alex takes a taxi to Cray Industries in Amsterdam, where he hears Yassen and Cray talking about a flash drive. Cray catches Alex as he tries to sneak away and puts him in a real-life version of Feathered Serpent, a new video game developed by Cray Software Industries. Alex escapes and steals Cray's flash drive. An exciting chase breaks out between Alex and Cray's men, cutting across the streets of Amsterdam, which Alex narrowly survives. In response to Alex stealing the flash drive, Cray kidnaps Sabina and holds her for ransom. Alex attempts to force Cray to release Sabina, but Cray outmaneuvers him and forces Alex to hand over the flash drive. Both Alex and Sabina are thrown into a jail cell, where Sabina apologizes to Alex for not believing him.
Cray reveals his plan, code-named "Eagle Strike": he will board Air Force One and use its missile room to launch nuclear missiles at major drug-running countries to eradicate the drug trade, at the cost of millions of innocent lives. Sabina and Alex are locked in a room together, Sabina explains then when she first saw Cray when he kidnapped her, she knew Alex was right the whole time and should have believed him, Alex admits he had the stupid mistake of going after Cray which lead to Sabina's capture, the two reconcile. Yassen comes in and forces the two to put on nuclear-proof suits. After creating a diversion using a plane full of fake nerve gas, he, Yassen, Alex, and Sabina sneak aboard Air Force One at Heathrow International Airport. Cray plugs in the flash drive and activates the missiles. He then orders Yassen to kill Alex and Sabina; when Yassen refuses, Cray shoots Yassen and then Alex.
Sabina flies into a rage and attacks Cray. Before Cray can kill her, Alex, saved by a bulletproof jersey (given to him by Mr. Smithers), gets up and confronts Cray. After an intense fight that progresses across the entire plane, Sabina and Alex manage to push Cray out of the plane, along with a food service cart used by Sabina; both are sucked into the jet engine and shredded to pieces. The ingestion of the body and food cart also destroys the engine, causing the plane to lose control. Cray's pilot Henryk attempts to abort the take-off, but, as the plane has already reached V1 speed, he cannot do so safely and crashes the plane off the runway, breaking his neck in the process. Alex and Sabina survive the crash and Sabina presses a self-destruct button to destroy the missiles.
As Yassen lays dying, he tells Alex that John Rider, Alex's father, worked with him as an assassin and that if he does not believe him, he has to go to Venice and find something called "Scorpia". Alex is stunned at this revelation. At the end of the novel, Sabina tells Alex that she will be moving to San Francisco and then they share a kiss underneath a bridge.