Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz - Characters, Plot Summary, Conflict, Themes

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A. Title/AuthorB. SettingC. CharactersD. Plot SummaryE. ConflictF. ThemesG. BibliographyA. Stormbreaker by Anthony HorowitzB. London and Port Tallon, England. Modern TimeC.Alex Rider is the main character of the novel. He is a 14 year old boy who lives with his uncle Ian because his parents were killed. His life is transformed as his dead uncle's true identity is revealed and he is blackmailed into joining MI6 as a spy. He discovers the secret behind the Stormbreaker computers and in the end, Alex saves England from a deadly virus.

Ian Rider is Alex's uncle who had custody of him after his parents died. Ian was supposedly a banker, but when he suddenly is killed by a "car accident", Alex finds out that he was actually an MI6 secret agent who was killed in action.

Jack Starbright is an American housekeeper for Ian and Alex. She lives with them and cleans in return for money.

She is Alex's only hope left when Ian dies. Alan Blunt threatens to send her back to America if Alex doesn't work for them.

Alan Blunt is the Chief Executive of the Special Operations Division of MI6. He assumed the role of "bank chairman" when Ian Rider was killed. He gave Alex his missions along with Mrs. Jones.

Mrs. Jones is the Head of Operations at MI6. She gives all the agents their missions. She and Alan Blunt blackmailed Alex into working for them.

Wolf was one of the men that Alex trained with. He constantly harassed Alex, but Alex did him a huge favor by pushing him out of a plane when they were skydiving. Alex saved Wolf's career.

Herod Sayle is the villain of the story. He is building Stormbreaker computers for all British schools. However, he is secretly putting devices in the computers that will release a lethal disease. He attempts to kill Alex and fails. Yassen Gregorovich kills Sayle in the end.

Yassen Gregorovich is a Russian paid assassin who killed both Ian Rider and Herod Sayle. He was working to assemble the Stormbreakers.

Mr. Grin is Herod Sayle's assistant who does all of his dirty work and has a deformed face. Mr. Grin attempts to kill Alex and fails. Alex ends up killing Mr. Grin in the end.

Nadia Vole is one of Herod Sayle's assistants. She tricks Alex into a deathtrap with a giant jellyfish, but the jellyfish ends up killing her when Alex escapes.

D. Police come to Alex's house in the middle of the night to let him and Jack know that Ian was killed in a car crash. Alex finds his uncle's car to find bullet holes all over the car. Alex goes to Ian's funeral where everyone seems odd and he sees an employee of the bank carrying a handgun. Mr. Blunt invites Alex to the bank to go over the will. Alex starts snooping around when men catch him and shoot him.

Alex wakes up in a house somewhere in the countryside. He, Blunt, and Mrs. Jones have dinner. Alan Blunt introduces his real identity and that Ian was a spy. They talk about his uncle's mission, Herod Sayle, and the Stormbreakers. They blackmail Alex into going undercover as a boy who has won a trip to meet Sayle.

Alex has only two weeks to train for his MI6 mission. The adults he is training with harass him constantly, especially Wolf. Alex keeps going and does well. In the end, Alex saves Wolf's career by pushing him out of a plane.

Alex goes to Sayle Enterprises to investigate what is going on there. He finds a note from Ian Rider, but can't understand it. After snooping around and being attacked several times, Alex discovers that the note is a map of underground tunnels leading to a secret room. He goes to this room and finds out that the Stormbreakers are being loaded with chemicals that release a lethal disease on command.

Alex is caught and brought to Sayle and Mr. Grin who threaten and interrogate him. Then, as they leave, Nadia Vole enters and tells Alex she's working for MI6, but tricks him into falling into a tank with a giant jellyfish. Alex breaks open the tank and escapes. Nadia is killed by the jellyfish.

Alex, while under attack, jumps onto a plane being piloted by Mr. Grin. With very little time before Sayle and the Prime Minister turn the computers on at a ceremony in London, Alex orders Mr. Grin to fly to London. Alex jumps out and detonates a bomb in the plane, which sends Mr. Grin to his death. Alex parachutes into the Science Museum, and at the last second, shoots the Stormbreaker, Sayle, the Prime Minister's hand, and other objects, stopping the disease from being released.

Alex is a hero now. He thinks everything is over. But, when he gets in a taxi to go home, Herod Sayle is the driver. Sayle has a gun pointed at him and takes him to the top of a skyscraper. A helicopter arrives. Just as Sayle is about kill Alex, a gun fires and Sayle drops to the ground. The pilot turned out to be Yassen Gregorovich, the man who killed Ian Rider. Alex asks if he's going to kill him now. Yassen says that he has no instructions for Alex, and flies away.

E. One of the conflicts in this novel is Herod Sayle versus society. Sayle was made fun of by the Prime Minister when they were kids and went to school together. He was made an outcast at school because of his ethnicity and how he looked. Sayle is lashing out by trying to kill all schoolchildren in Britain. All of his life, Sayle has been bottling up his anger and now he is releasing it.

Another conflict in this novel is between Alex and Yassen Gregorovich. Alex finds out that Yassen killed his uncle and begins to hate him. Alex also is afraid of the man as well. When Alex sees Yassen working with the Stormbreaker operation, Alex thinks of him as even more of a villain. In the end, Yassen kills Sayle as he's ordered. He decides to leave Alex alive, and tells him that he should go back to his life. As Yassen flies away, he waves his hand. Alex wonders if it is a gesture of friendship. Alex still hates him for killing Ian Rider, and said he would kill Gregorovich someday.

F. One theme of this novel is with risk comes reward. Alex was constantly taking risks to get what he wanted. He jumped out of the bank building to get into Ian's office. He snooped around Sayle Enterprises to find out about the Stormbreakers. Alex went through the underground passageways to get to the locked room. Alex jumped onto a fast-moving plane while being shot at to escape and save the country. Alex Rider was constantly taking risks and they always got him where he needed to be. Taking risks in life will get one far, but playing it safe won't help to change anything.

Another theme of Stormbreaker is that people are sometimes not who they seem. On the surface, Herod Sayle seemed to be a generous man who was giving away many computers to all the school. However, he was really a crazed maniac who was plotting to kill all students in England with biological weapons. Yassen Gregorovich seemed to be a cold-blooded killer who would kill anyone who stepped in his way or put him off. However, Alex told him right to his face that he was going to kill him. Yassen told him to go back to a normal life, and that they shouldn't meet again. Yassen does have some sense in him. Some people are not who they seem to be, whether their true self is better of worse.

G. Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz, Walker Books, 2000.