Crocodile Tears (novel)
Crocodile Tears
Release date

June 7, 2010 (UK); November 16, 2010 (North America)


432 (UK); 400 (North America)

Publication order
Preceded by
Followed by
Scorpia Rising

Alex Rider - in the jaws of death

—Crocodile Tears tagline

Crocodile Tears (originally to be entitled Endurance Point) is the eighth book in the Alex Rider series by British author Anthony Horowitz.


Walker Books

Alex Rider's eighth adventure and the most action-packed yet...

Targeted by a hitman and under threat of his past being exposed by the media. Alex turns to MI6 for help but their help doesn't come cheap: they need Alex to spy on the activities at a GM crop plant. There he spots Desmond McCain, a high profile charity organizer, who realizes that Alex is on to him and the real plans for the money he's raising. Kidnapped and flown off to Africa, Alex learns the full horror of McCain's plot: to create an epic disaster that will kill millions. Forced to ask MI6 for protection, Alex finds himself being manipulated in a deadly game that could lead to the destruction of an entire East African country, but Alex manages to kill Desmond McCain in the end.


A nuclear technician in India places a bomb on a pump in a nuclear power station in Jowada for money but is betrayed by his paymasters, who desired for no witnesses to survive and is inevitably killed by the blast. As a result, a cloud of nuclear steam slowly travels towards Jowada, and a charity called First Aid quickly reacts to the disaster.

Meanwhile, Alex Rider is spending New Years with Sabina Pleasure and her family in Scotland. He attends a New Year's Eve party hosted by the wealthy businessman Desmond McCain, founder of the aforementioned charity First Aid. As Alex, Sabina, and her father drive home, a sniper shoots the tire of their car, causing them to lose control and crash into a loch. Alex, Sabina, and her father barely escape from the vehicle. Later it is revealed that McCain ordered snipers to shoot their car because he was suspicious of Sabina's dad writing a bad paper about him. Their escape is helped by an Indian man who is unidentified and unknown to them at the time.

Alex is later approached by a journalist named Harry Bulman who wants to publish Alex's MI6 activities. Alex is forced to cooperate with MI6 on one last mission in exchange for their help which involves intimidating and silencing Bulman, in fear that his chance of being a normal schoolboy will be forever ruined. He is tasked with finding more information about a genetically modified foods research facility named Greenfields. He enters the facility while on a school trip and plugs in a USB drive to copy the contents of director Leonard Straik's computer. Straik (who is accompanied by McCain) discovers that the computer has been compromised and orders a massive manhunt to find the person responsible. Alex narrowly escapes the facility alive after a wild shootout. McCain recognizes Alex, however, and contacts Bulman to learn more about him. After Bulman discloses all that he knows, he demands more money since he found out that McCain really needed this information, so McCain shoots him, silencing him - permanently.

McCain abducts Alex and flies him into Kenya. McCain then reveals the essence of his endgame. He created his charity, First Aid, to steal money from the general public, responding to self-manufactured disasters that he created himself. Preparing his charity for these engineered incidents, they always arrive on the scene first and collects a large sum of money.

McCain also explains that he asked Greenfields to engineer a poison called ricin for crops that would kill half the population of Africa. He plans to spray the plague mold over a nearby wheat field, which will later be supplied to the general public. McCain says he will make hundreds of millions of pounds during the first few months of the plague and intends to steal the money before running away and assuming a new identity in South America (Switzerland in the American version).

The next day, Myra takes Alex to a "field trip" towards the mentioned wheat field in a helicopter. When they arrive there, she asks Alex to pull a lever nearby, and he silently obeys. The helicopter releases a powdery substance into the field, which McCain later tells him that it was the mold that contained the plague he mentioned earlier, and said to him that when the operation was finished, he wants Alex to remember that he was the one to pull the trigger.

McCain then takes Alex to a nearby river and tortures him by making him hang from a pole above a river infested with hungry crocodiles. McCain claims he will let Alex off if he is satisfied with the answers he receives but after interrogating Alex, McCain decides to go back on his deal and leave Alex to die hanging from the pole whilst Myra watches. As Myra mocks Alex, a man creeps up behind her and impales her with a knife; she falls into the river and is devoured by the crocodiles. Alex is rescued by the man and remembers that he is the same person from the loch. The man reveals himself to be Rahim and states that he works for the Indian intelligence agency R&AW which sent him to kill McCain as an act of revenge for the Jowada nuclear disaster. Rahim admits that he cannot shoot McCain as he is well guarded but states that he has a bomb which he can use on a plane to eliminate McCain. Alex reveals McCain's plans and how he wants to combat them. Rahim states that he does not have enough explosive to blow the dam up, nor can he do it as he is injured. Alex then sends a note via RAW to MI6 and Jack stating that he is safe. Due to his previous injuries, Rahim passes out; Alex steals the bomb and sets off for the dam next to the poisoned wheat field. Alex clings on a ladder on the top of the dam, as the bomb blows up the dam, killing McCain's guards who were chasing after him. Alex survives and is rescued by Rahim in a plane. and all the crops that were carrying the poison were destroyed in the flood.

They touch down at a nearby airport to refuel, but McCain arrives and shoots Rahim, killing him. Alex jumps out of the plane, but injures his ankle in the process. Just as McCain was about to shoot him, Alex rolls a barrel of plane fuel he found nearby, (which McCain ruptured with some wild shots beforehand,) over to Desmond and blows it up with an explosive gel pen Smithers gave him back in the operation with Greenfield. Alex watched as McCain burned to death in a pillar of flame.

A few weeks later Alex is back in London healing from his wounds. Jack comes in and sits with him, reminding him that his fifteenth birthday is coming soon. She also assures him that this was his last mission and that MI6 will leave him alone, which is wrong.


  • Contrary to popular belief, MI6 did not let Alex live a normal life after this story, since they were forced to contact him yet again during the next novel.
  • The book's name is a reference to tears shed out of false, insincere display of sadness.
  • The way that McCain dies is very similar to how James Bond kills Franz Sanchez in License to Kill.

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Crocodile Tears Characters
Main Characters
Alex RiderAlan BluntTulip JonesJack StarbrightDesmond McCainSabina PleasureLeonard Straik
Other Key Characters
Edward PleasureSmithersLiz PleasureJohn CrawleyRavi ChandraHarry BulmanMyra BennettRahim