So here’s a Christmas treat: a world exclusive for those of you who visit my website. It’s an extract from Chapter Two of my new Alex Rider novel, NEVER SAY DIE.(You can let me know what you think of the title, by the way, either here or on Twitter. It’s going to be called STEEL CLAW in Germany!)
It’s been five weeks since Alex left England at the end of SCORPIA RISING, and the new chapter finds him living with Sabina’s family in San Francisco. As you’ll see, things aren’t going very well for him. I’m not giving too much of the plot away but I will tell you that by the end of this chapter, everything has changed. Something happens that forces Alex to leave America and head back east– starting with Cairo. There are some old friends, but also some old enemies, waiting for him. As always, there’s plenty of action.
It’s actually been four years since I wrote an Alex Rider novel. The last one was RUSSIAN ROULETTE and I really intended to stop there. When I started writing Alex, I was worried that if I kept going too long, I would run out of ideas. How many more gadgets could I think up? How many more bad guys plotting to destroy the world? I thought there was a danger that the books would get less and less interesting – and I didn’t want that to happen.
But the strange thing is that Alex has never been more popular and lots of readers, particularly schools, were asking for more. So my editors at Walker Books decided to create a collection of short stories – all of which had been published at one time or another in newspapers or magazines. They asked me to take a look at the material and maybe make a few adjustments. This was earlier this year.
Well, I looked at the stories and decided that they were too short and too sketchy. If they were going to be in a book, I’d have to make them a bit more exciting. So I started work polishing and expanding the stories and then I decided to write a couple of completely new ones…just for the fun of it. To my surprise, the first new story – ALEX IN AFGHANISTAN – turned out to be one of the best I’d ever written (at least, I thought so). It has some real twists and turns and an amazing action sequence - involving a horse and a military jeep full of men with machine guns. I loved writing it. In fact I’m really happy with the entire collection which is going to be called SECRET WEAPON and which will be published in 2018.
But then one thing led to another. Working on the stories, I found that I had plenty of new ideas for Alex after all. More than that, I really enjoyed writing about him. I’d missed him. So before I knew what I was doing I had started writing NEVER SAY DIE. I finished it in five months over the summer and, again, I’m pleased with the result.
The book is being published in June next year and you’ll be able to decide for yourself. I’m so excited to be relaunching Alex and hope you enjoy this brief extract.