The Recruit (novel)

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The Recruit
Recruit cover big.jpg
First edition cover
Author Robert Muchamore
Cover artist David McDougal[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Media type Print (paperback)
Pages 342
ISBN 0-340-88153-4
OCLC 61439287
Followed by Class A

The Recruit is the first novel in the CHERUB series, written by Robert Muchamore. It introduces most of the main characters, such as James Adams (né Choke), Lauren Adams (née Onions), Kyle Blueman, and Kerry Chang. It was released in the United Kingdom by Hodder Children's Books on 30 April 2004, and by Simon Pulse in the United States on 30 August 2005.


Kyle's recruitment mission
Book(s) The Recruit
Agent(s) Kyle Blueman
Location(s) Nebraska House, London
Result Recruited James Adams
James' first mission
Book(s) The Recruit
Mission controller(s) Ewart Asker
Location(s) Fort Harmony, Wales
Target(s) Help Earth
Crime(s) Eco-terrorism
Result Green tickY Success
Promotion(s) James Adams:         

The Recruit begins with twelve-year-old James Choke in his combined science class in his first term of secondary school, where he accidentally slashes classmate Samantha Jennings' face with a nail on the wall after she teases him about his mother's obesity. He shoves his teacher over and runs home, an offence he is later expelled for, to find his stepfather Ronald Onions visiting his mother, Gwen Choke. He goes back to school to pick up his nine-year-old half-sister, Lauren Onions and they eat dinner at a local burger place. They return home to find Ronald gone and Gwen asleep, with multiple missed calls from the school on her phone and a note from the Deputy Head Teacher pushed under the door. Later that night, James discovers that Gwen has died, which he later finds out is from her consuming alcohol while taking painkillers. James is sent to a children's home called Nebraska House, where he shares a room with 13-year-old CHERUB agent Kyle Blueman. Lauren, however, is taken to live with her father Ronald Onions, who views James unfavourably and doesn't allow him to visit her. Contrary to Kyle's advice, James befriends Rob Vaughn and his friends. A few weeks later, James is called in to the police station, where he receives a caution for assaulting Samantha Jennings and his teacher, Cassandra Voolt. Later that night, Rob and his cronies convince him to steal a pack of beer from an off-licence. The shopkeeper catches him after Rob blocks the door, preventing James from escaping. He is escorted to the police station, where he is placed in a cell and his statement recorded.

The next morning, James awakes naked in a room at CHERUB campus. After dressing, he finds his way to reception, where the receptionist directs him to the office of CHERUB Chairman Dr. Terrence "Mac" McAfferty. He introduces him to CHERUB and puts him through a series of entrance tests where he meets Bruce Norris. He passes all the entrance tests, and is then sent back to Nebraska House to decide whether or not he wants to join. Kyle reveals that he was sent to recruit him. Upon returning to CHERUB, Kyle shows him his new room, and he meets his handler, Meryl Spencer. In her office, he chooses his new name, James Robert Anthony Adams (after Arsenal player Tony Adams). He is then given a physical assessment, and told to run 30 km per week and learn how to swim. He is taught to swim by Amy Collins, a sixteen-year-old black-shirt CHERUB. A few days after arriving at CHERUB campus, Kyle sneaks him onto a one-day mission in London to visit Lauren; Kyle is reprimanded but James gets off with a warning. Three weeks after his arrival at CHERUB campus, he and seven other recruits begin Basic Training, a rigorous 100-day course designed to prepare CHERUB agents for missions, and is paired up with Kerry Chang, a recruit with two attempts at Basic Training under her belt. Despite nearly quitting after spending Christmas night outside in their underwear, they both pass. Shortly after arriving back on campus, he finds out that Lauren has joined CHERUB as well and Ron has been sentenced to nine years in jail for physically abusing her.

Two months later, Amy tells James that their swimming lessons are over, and they have a mission together. Overseen by mission controller Ewart Asker, they are to stay with Cathy Dunn at Fort Harmony, a hippy commune in Wales. There, they discover that brothers Fire and World Dunn are planning an anthrax attack against 200 oil executives and politicians, including the United States Secretary of Energy and the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, at Petrocon, an oil conference held in the nearby Green Brooke conference center. They successfully prevent the attack, although accomplice Brian "Bungle" Evans manages to escape. For his exemplary job in the mission, James is awarded a navy shirt.


Development and publication[edit]

Development for both The Recruit and the CHERUB series as a whole began in 1999 when Muchamore was visiting his sister in Australia and found his twelve-year-old nephew complaining about the lack of any good reading material.[2] In 2001, Muchamore began working on an unnamed novel, KN1 (Kids novel 1). This draft was more violent than the published version, with James slashing Samantha's face open with broken glass.[2] Robert Muchamore did not approach a literary agent until Autumn 2002. By this time the novel was called CHERUB 1.0. He was rejected by the first agent but taken on by the second. Many different publishing companies disliked the novel and rejected Muchamore once again. In March 2003, Hodder Children's Books purchased CHERUB 1.0 and an unnamed sequel, both for release in 2004.[2]


The Recruit has been translated into 20 languages, including:

  • Czech - Nováček (The novice)
  • French - 100 jours en enfer (100 days in hell)
  • German - Top Secret: Der Agent (Top Secret: The agent)
  • Japanese - スカウト (Scout)[3]
  • Polish - Rekrut
  • Portuguese - O Recruta
  • Russian - Новобранец (The Rookie)
  • Spanish - Entrenamiento Básico (Basic Training)
  • Norwegian - Rekrutten
  • Danish - Ilddåb (Firebirth)
  • Dutch - Top Secret
  • Hebrew - מלאך: הגיוס (Angel: The Recruitment)


Graphic novel[edit]

The Recruit: The Graphic Novel
Author Ian Edginton
Illustrator John Aggs
Published 2012 (Hodder)
Media type Print (paperback)
ISBN 978-1444903188

A graphic novel adaption of the book, adapted by Ian Edginton and illustrated by John Aggs, was released on 4 August 2012 by Hodder Children's Books.[4]

Audio book[edit]

A 3-CD audiobook was released in the UK on 21 September 2006, read by Julian Rhind-Tutt.[5][6]

Critical reception[edit]

The Recruit received generally good reviews, and was nominated for eight awards, seven of which it won.[7] The Sunday Express described the book as "Punchy, exciting, glamorous and, what's more, you'll completely wish it was true."[8]


Award Category Year Result
Red House Children's Book Award Older readers 2005 Winner[9]
Bolton Children's Book Award 2005 Winner[10]
Medway Children's Book Award 2005 Winner[7]
Bishop Luffa Children's Book Award 2005 Winner[7]
Salford Children's Book Award 2005 Winner[11]
Doncaster Children's Book Award 2005 Runner up[7]
Sakura Medal 2007 Winner[12]
Richard and Judy Best Kids' Books Fluent 12+ 2007 Winner[13]
Kingston Young Readers Award 2007 Winner[7]


  1. ^ Muchamore, Robert. "Mad Dogs". Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Muchamore, Robert. "Robert Muchamore biography". Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "CHERUB: Mission 1 - Scout" (in Japanese). Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Muchamore, Robert. "The Recruit - Graphic Novel". Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  5. ^ "The Recruit audiobook". Hodder Children's Books. Archived from the original on 12 May 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "CHERUB: The Recruit [Abridged] [Audible Audio Edition]". Amazon. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Muchamore, Robert. "The Recruit". Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "The Recruit: Robert Muchamore". Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "Red House Children's Book Award - Past Winners". Red House. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  10. ^ "Robert Muchamore wins Bolton Children's Book Award". SLA. 4 July 2005. Archived from the original on 20 October 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  11. ^ "The 2005 Award". Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  12. ^ "Sakura Medal 2007 Winners". ASIJ. Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  13. ^ "The eight best books every child should read, by Richard and Judy". The Daily Mail. 25 October 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 

External links[edit]