Eagle Strike (novel)

The newest Eagle Strike cover. (2011)

Anthony Horowitz




Walker Books


336 (UK); 352 (North America)

Publication order
Preceded by
Skeleton Key
Followed by

Alex Rider has just 90 minutes to save the world

—Eagle Strike tagline

Eagle Strike is the fourth book in the Alex Rider series by British author Anthony Horowitz.


Reluctant MI6 agent Alex Rider is relaxing in the south of France until a sudden, ruthless attack on his hosts plunges him back into a world of violence and mystery - and this time, MI6 don't want to know. Alex is determined to track down his friends' attackers, even if he must do it alone. But it's a path that leads to a long-buried secret - and a discovery more terrible than anything he could have imagined.


Fifteen years before the main series, two agents are sent to assassinate a drug lord. As one of them sets up his sniper rifle, the second alerts his partner to the presence of a black widow spider on his neck. In a dilemma as to what to do, the sniper lines up his shot just as the drug lord tries to board a helicopter and fires, killing both the spider and his target.

After the previous story, Alex Rider runs into the assassin Yassen Gregorovich (who killed Alex's uncle previously) while on holiday in the South of France with his friend Sabina Pleasure. 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 a penalty. 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 on the basis that he believes it would be politically wrong if the press ever found out that MI6 were investigating Cray. Alex tells Sabina about his double life as a spy, but she does not believe him when he brings her to the Royal and General, where all the staff there deny that MI6 was ever based there. Sabina leaves Alex, refusing to speak with him again.

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 sneaks into Cray Industries in Amsterdam, where he hears Yassen and Cray discussing a flash drive. At this point, Charlie Roper, a third man, and Cray start arguing about the deal they had. Roper is then trapped in a room, and two million dollars worth of nickels (owed to him by Cray as part of their deal) is poured on top of him, both paying and killing him.

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 Technology. Having played a fake version of the game earlier, Alex escapes and steals Cray's flash drive. A pursuit breaks out between Alex and Cray's men, cutting across the streets of Amsterdam, which Alex barely survives. In response to Alex stealing the flash drive, Cray captures Sabina and holds her as a hostage. 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, while killing millions of innocent civilians. Sabina and Alex are locked in a room together, Sabina then explains that 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 led to Sabina's capture and the two reconcile. Yassen comes in and tells 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 Smithers), confronts Cray. After an intense fight that progresses across the entire plane, Sabina and Alex manage to push Cray out of the plane. He is sucked into the jet engine and vaporised, along with a metallic trolley. The ingestion of the latter destroys the engine, causing the plane to lose control. Cray's pilot Henryk attempts to abort the takeoff, 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, with the latter pressing 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, explaining that he got the scar on his neck during one of the missions he was on (thus the first chapter of the book). Yassen continues to explain, saying that if he does not believe him, he has to go to Venice and find something called "Scorpia". Alex is stunned at this revelation. Sabina finds him and Yassen dies. At the end of the novel, Sabina tells Alex that she will be moving to San Francisco.


  • Portsmouth Book Award
  • Galaxy British Book Awards: The Children's Book of the Year
  • Book of The Year 2012:Awesome Books


Useful links


  • It is so far the only novel in which Alex Rider actively seeks out MI6.
  • It is also the only novel where MI6 does not officially assist Alex during his activities, except, of course, for Smither's gadgets.
  • Cray's death sequence is very similar to Gustav Grave's and Major Grant's, who are antagonists in Die Another Day and Die Hard 2 respectively. His character is also identical to Grave's.
  • The refusal of Yassen to kill Alex when he has multiple chances during this story is a callback to Stormbreaker's ending, when he defies SCORPIA's orders and shoots Sayle instead of Alex.
  • The chapter entitled 'Blood Money' is a reference to money which is paid to traitors.
  • In reality, Cray's plan would fail, since the fingerprint from the President would come out backwards.
  • The two agents in the prologue are John Rider and Yassen Gregorovich. Their codenames are Hunter and Cossack.


  • In reality, Cray's ultimatum would not work because the fingerprint he copied from the President would come out backwards.


Eagle Strike Characters
Main Characters
Alex RiderAlan BluntTulip JonesJack StarbrightDamian CraySabina PleasureYassen Gregorovich
Other Key Characters
Edward PleasureSmithersLiz PleasureMarc AntonioCharlie RoperJohn RiderHenryk

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