There is a moment from the fifth Alex Rider book, Scorpia, that has been haunting me for the last few days.
Alex (a fourteen year boy) has chosen to train as a professional assassin with a secret organisation called Scorpia. In this paragraph (page 184), Alex is standing alone on the roof of the Scorpia building:
“Alex felt hatred welling up inside him. It was stronger than anything he had ever experienced in his life. He wondered if it would be possible to live an ordinary life again one day. There seemed to be nowhere for him to go. Maybe it would be better for everyone if he just took one more step. He was already standing on the very edge. Why couldn’t he just let the night take him?”
I remember reading this two years ago and I had two reactions. As a reader, who has known Alex Rider since he was first lured in to work for MI6, the thought of him considering suicide at the age of fourteen was heartbreaking. But as a writer, I was so thrilled that Anthony Horowitz had given me that moment.
Yes, Alex is living an incredible life that most people can only imagine, but it comes at a price. No matter how well he copes, every single mission is going to scar and in these little moments we remember that Alex Rider is just human.