Target: Drug Rat Alpha Force are an elite team of five highly-skilled individuals brought together to battle injustice. The team join a covert SAS operation in South America, fighting to catch an evil drugs baron. To gain information, they infiltrate a tight-knit community of street kids then head into the isolated mountains where a terrifying and twisted hunt is to test their individual skills to the max ...Contains Chris Ryan's top SAS tips for survival in cave systems.
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(198mm x 129mm x 17mm)
Publisher: Random House Children's Publishers UK
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Having survived their ordeal on a tropical island, teenagers Alex, Li, Paulo, Hex and Amber decide to put their various skills and new-found respect and friendship to good use. They plan to use orphan Amber's considerable inheritance to pay for training and equipment that will help them to right wrongs around the world. When Alex visits his father, who is on SAS business in Ecuador, he is appalled by the living conditions of the street kids. On hearing that a shadowy figure, known only as the Rat-Catcher, is killing these children for sport, Alex informs his fellow members of Alpha Force that they have their first assignment. It may turn out to be their last. This is the sequel to Survival, the first Alpha Force adventure that described how the group met and how adversity made them put aside their differences in order to keep each other alive. This new instalment is every bit as exciting, but better suited to a slightly older audience. The violence, although never trivialized, might be too extreme and disturbing for the younger end of the age range (10+) who might have enjoyed the original novel. Ryan's view seems to be that this is a violent world and that it is better to confront atrocity than to bury it. Nevertheless, with its references to murder, drug-trafficking and glue-sniffing, this is a long way from the Famous Five, so buyer beware. Survival was the better book because it dealt to a greater extent with the group's struggles with themselves and each other as they came to terms with their desperate circumstances. Rat-Catcher certainly makes for heart-pounding entertainment but something has been lost by introducing such an unlikely scenario as providing five youngsters with the means to battle injustice without anyone noticing. Amber's uncle, the co-ordinator of their mission, says that he is not sure about letting them climb a treacherous mountain to infiltrate a cocaine factory. You have to say he has a point, but our intrepid heroes will not be held back. Both books in the series so far emphasize the merits of teamwork but never lose sight of the fact that these are five very different teenagers with their own hang-ups and who are still learning from their mistakes. This is a thrilling read for those who have the stomach for it and will no doubt recruit even more acolytes for Chris Ryan's distinctive brand of action-adventure. It is doubtful that the tourist board of Ecuador will be rushing to recommend it. Ages 12+ (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Chris Ryan
Chris Ryan was born in 1961 in a village near Newcastle. In 1984 he joined the SAS. During his ten years in the Regiment, he was involved in overt and covert operations and was also Sniper team commander of the anti-terrorist team. During the Gulf War, Chris was the only member of an eight-man team to escape from Iraq, of which three colleagues were killed and four captured. It was the longest escape and evasion in the history of the SAS. For this he was awarded the Military Medal. During Ryan's last two years in the Regiment he selected and trained potential SAS recruits, he left the SAS in 1994 and is now the author of many bestselling thrillers for adults, as well as the ALPHA FORCE series for younger readers. His work in security takes him around the world. He has also appeared in a number of TV programmes, including HUNTING CHRIS RYAN, PUSHED TO THE LIMIT (Toughest Families) and TERROR ALERT (Sky TV, 2004).