Scorpia Rising

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Scorpia Rising
First edition cover
Author Anthony Horowitz
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Alex Rider series
Genre Adventure, spy novel
Publisher Walker Books
Publication date
31 March 2011[1]
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 402
ISBN 9780142419854
Preceded by Crocodile Tears
Followed by Russian Roulette

Scorpia Rising is the ninth novel in the Alex Rider series written by British author Anthony Horowitz. It was released on 31 March 2011. Horowitz had said, in the acknowledgements at the end of the book, that another novel, based on Yassen Gregorovich's life, would be written as the final book. This book is Russian Roulette, and was released in 2013.


Zeljan Kurst, the leader of the international terrorist organization Scorpia, arrives at the British Museum to meet with Yannis Ariston Xenopolos, a Greek billionaire terminally ill with cancer. Ariston explains that he wants somebody to steal a set of sculptures called the Elgin Marbles and return them to Greece; and offers to pay Scorpia $40 million if they will do so. Kurst recruits the emotionless Abdul Aziz Al-Rahim, also known as Razim, a former member of the Mukhabarat and a one time operative for Al-Qaeda, to be head of the operation. Razim lives in a fort located in the middle of the Sahara Desert, where he attempts to create a measurable unit of pain through torture experiments, which he will name after himself. At a Scorpia meeting, Razim suggests to blackmail the British government into letting them return the Elgin Marbles. He also reveals that he will involve Alex Rider, the reluctant teenage spy who defeated Scorpia twice, in his plan. Levi Kroll, a longtime member of Scorpia, disagrees with Razim's plan, fearing that Alex might defeat them again, and is killed while attempting to leave the organization.

At a secret prison in Gibraltar, Julius Grief, the clone of Hugo Grief who was given plastic surgery to resemble Alex, is being held captive. Julius is now hellbent on killing Alex Rider for the death of his so-called "father". One day, Julius finds a note under his bed that tells him to go to the prison library. There, he finds a hidden gun in a book. Julius uses the gun to hold his psychiatrist hostage, forcing the prison warden to open the prison gates. Julius flees and finds an abandoned Suzuki Jimny which he uses to evade the pursuing guards. Scorpia, who engineered Julius's escape, manages to retrieve him and escape by faking his death, using another Suzuki Jimny with a decoy of Julius to run over a cliff and crash. Scorpia begins its operation by arranging for Kroll's body to be found in the River Thames. Using evidence stored in Kroll's body, MI6 suspects an upcoming attack by Scorpia at the Cairo International College of Arts and Education in Cairo, Egypt.

At school, Alex Rider is nearly shot by a sniper, who wounds his best friend Tom Harris during his second shot. Alex manages to incapacitate the sniper by crashing his helicopter, in which he attempts to escape in, into the ocean. Alan Blunt and Mrs. Jones visit Alex in his house in Chelsea and suggests that, because of the attack, they arrange for Alex to take a vacation to Cairo, at the same time investigating the Cairo International College of Arts and Education undercover as a student. They want Alex to investigate Erik Gunter, the school's head of security whom they believe might have something to do with Scorpia. Jack Starbright, Alex's guardian, demands to come with him to keep an eye on him. Mrs. Jones also allows Smithers to go with Alex to co-ordinate Alex with the mission.

Alex's investigation of Gunter leads him to the House of Gold, a floating workshop. There, Gunter commissions the development of a sniper rifle and kills the salesperson. Gunter then blows up the House of Gold, causing Alex, who followed Gunter, to be swept into the Nile River. Alex is then kidnapped by an unidentified organisation and taken to their headquarters where he is waterboarded for information. Joe Byrne, head of the group (revealed to be the CIA), angrily dismisses the interrogators and takes Alex to his office. Byrne tells Alex that they are here in Cairo to protect the American Secretary of State, who will give a speech in Cairo denouncing Britain's status as a world power. Alex tells Byrne about Gunter's involvement in the salesperson's murder. Byrne decides to keep an eye on Gunter.

Alex decides to return to England, presuming that the CIA can handle the mission. He visits Smithers to tell him about this. However, Scorpia operatives assault Smither's house. Despite several booby traps incapacitating the Scorpia agents, Alex and Smithers barely escape with their lives. Knowing that he is targeted, Smithers reveals to Alex his last gadget: a fat suit. Alex is surprised that Smithers is actually a skinny Irishman in his thirties.

While Smithers goes into hiding, Alex returns home to find that Jack has been kidnapped by Scorpia. He finds a note telling him to go to a cemetery called the City of the Dead alone, or else she will die. Alex heads to the City of the Dead, where he is confronted by Julius and Gunter, who gives him the sniper rifle he acquired from the House of Gold and takes several pictures of Alex holding it. Alex is taken to Razim's fort, where he reunites with Jack. Razim tells Alex that he will be his next subject for his experiment and allows him to spend the day with Jack. That night, Alex is taken to Razim's laboratory, where Alex watches a video of Jack in a television monitor. Alex watches Jack as she escapes from her cell, knocks out a guard, and steals a Land Rover. However, Razim had in fact engineered this to allow Jack to flee; he reveals to Alex that the Land Rover is filled with explosives and gives Julius a detonator to blow up the Land Rover. Despite Alex's beg, Julius blows up the Land Rover, killing Jack. Overwhelmed with grief, Alex passes out.

The following night, Alex is taken back to Cairo. While waiting in a van, Gunter reveals Scorpia's plan to Alex: When the American Secretary of State gives her speech, Julius will shoot and kill her with Gunter's sniper rifle. Meanwhile, Gunter will kill Alex and leave his body, with the sniper rifle, lying on the street. Gunter also reveals that Scorpia has built a file on Alex called "Horseman", which contains his previous work for MI6. Scorpia will then threaten to release the file, which will frame Alex and destroy the reputation of the British government, forcing them to return the Elgin Marbles. When Gunter finishes, Alex asks for a cigarette. When Gunter tries to get one, a scorpion hidden inside the cigarette box stings him. Alex smashes Gunter's head into the door, killing him. He steals Gunter's pistol and pursues Julius. As Julius is about to shoot the Secretary of State, Alex yells out his name, causing Julius to fire back at Alex. After his rifle runs out of bullets, Julius kills a CIA agent and pockets his pistol. Julius is hit by a car and injured. He gloats that Alex will never kill him. As Alex turns back and walks away, Julius attempts to shoot him, forcing Alex to return fire in self-defense, killing Julius.

The CIA, who has formed a joint task force with the Egyptian secret service to take out Razim in the desert, take Alex with them to help. When he arrives at Razim's fort, Alex, posing as Julius, heads to the control room and destroys it with a hand grenade, deactivating the fort's defense system. The CIA and the Egyptians attack the fort. Alex confronts Razim in a bridge. Razim attempts to shoot him, but a CIA agent destroys the bridge, causing Razim to fall into a pile of salt underneath. Razim dies as he gets sucked into the salt and suffocates. The task force manage to overpower Razim's men.

In the aftermath, the remaining Scorpia members are arrested or executed, including Kurst, causing Scorpia to disband. Back in England, Blunt is retiring and leaves his job to Mrs. Jones, who reveals that she knows that Blunt ordered the sniper rifle to fire at Alex's school. Because of the killing of Julius, Razim's gruesome death, and the killing of Jack had left him broken, Mrs. Jones vows never to use Alex ever again. Meanwhile, Alex, now the ward of Sabina Pleasure's father Edward, is preparing to leave for America. Edward worries that Alex will never recover from the horrors he had been through, but hopes that he may still recover.



  • Alex Rider - The main protagonist, Alex Rider is an incredibly skilled teenage spy. Throughout the series, Alex's mentality or body is damaged in some way after each mission, but after this one he is marred forever.
  • Jack Starbright - Alex's housekeeper and mother figure, Jack is fiercely protective over Alex. Ultimately, her love for Alex proves to be both their downfalls.
  • Alan Blunt - The utterly ruthless Head of MI6, Alan Blunt is threatened with losing his job after the events of Eagle Strike, but his threat finally becomes real at the end of the book.
  • Mrs. Jones - Alan Blunt's empathetic, but equally ruthless Deputy Head and the only one of the two who is on good speaking terms with Alex Rider. She becomes the Head of MI6 after the events of the book.
  • Derek Smithers - The incredibly warm-hearted quartermaster of MI6. It appears that his greatest gadget of all is his own skin: He looks fat, but that is just a disguise. He is very different underneath.


  • Razim - The main antagonist of Scorpia Rising, Razim is the ultimate sociopath who intends to create a unit of measurement for pain. Despite his intelligence, he is shown to be almost completely incapable of emotion.
  • Julius Grief - A clone of Dr Hugo Grief - From the book Point Blanc - who received plastic surgery that made him completely identical to Alex Rider. Throughout the books, he shows signs of having a borderline personality disorder. He is a sadistic and vengeful psychopath who is obsessed with killing Alex Rider.
  • Erik Gunter - A war hero from Afghanistan, who betrays his country to work for Scorpia.
  • Zeljan Kurst - The Head of the Executive Board of Scorpia. Kurst is arrested at the end of the book.
  • Yannis Ariston Xenopolos - Who hires Scorpia to make the British return the Elgin Marbles to their rightful owners


  1. ^ Horowitz, Anthony (December 2, 2010). "Scorpia Rising – Trade Advertising". Retrieved 31 March 2011.