Friday, 14 January 2011

Chris Ryan - Agent 21 - Book Review

                                     book cover of 

Agent 21 


Chris Ryan

  • Pages 320
  • Published By Red Fox
  • Date 6 January 2011
  • Age 14+                          
When Zak Darke's parents die in an unexplained mass murder he's left alone in the world. That is until he's sought out by a mysterious man: ‘I work for a government agency,’ the man tells him. ‘You don’t need to know which one. Not yet. All you need to know is that we’ve had our eye on you. There’s a possibility you could help us in certain . . . operational situations.’
Zak becomes Agent 21. What happened to the 20 agents before him he'll never know. What he does know is that his life is about to change for ever . . .

Finally, a new series is in the offering from Chris Ryan, former SAS soldier, who avoided capture for 7 days and covered 188 miles of desert in subzero temperatures with no food, and little water. His remarkable escape was the longest in the history of the Regiment and earned him a Military Medal. The author has used some of his real-life experiences to good use. These certainly appears to help him in writing high-octane, fuelled action combat/spy books. Each book gives an authentic touch to the story - they will certainly capture the interest of any reluctant reader and encourage them into the power of a good story.

Agent 21 is definitely a book more suitable for the teenage market - it deals with some very strong issues. To be honest, the cover itself suggests that this book has an older reader in mind as well. However, the plot is very well thought out and written - it was a very enjoyable book to read. 

Zak Darke's parents die under mysterious circumstances, in Nigeria and that becomes the driving force behind Zak. However, a mysterious stranger follows Zak, leading him to eventually discover that they actually know more about his parents mysterious deaths. Zak needs to know more. As a result, he is whisked away to a secret location in the north of England and becomes highly trained in the skills and arts of becoming an Agent. 

The story itself is quite simply written especially for a teenage book. At times, I found that there was just not enough detail included. Although, the drug factory encounter had a lot of detail threaded throughout and was particularly engaging.

Another aspect about this book was that there didn't appear to be a sub-plot weaved into the storyline. It is based really around a simple storyline but it told through a frank and no nonsense approach. However, the ending leaves a great potential for the next book in the series and perhaps this will be further developed.

This book is a good read - Chris Ryan's military background shows throughout the book and definitely makes it a more enjoyable read then most. I will continue to keep reading the other books that he's written in the series - they are certainly filled with many great action moments. 

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