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Skeleton Key

(Alex Rider #3)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  47,424 ratings  ·  1,412 reviews
Alex Rider has been through a lot for his fourteen years. He's been shot at by international terrorists, chased down a mountainside on a makeshift snowboard, and has stood face-to-face with pure evil. Twice, young Alex has managed to save the world. And twice, he has almost been killed doing it. But now Alex faces something even more dangerous. The desperation of a man who ...more
Paperback, 327 pages
Published February 16th 2006 by Puffin Books (first published September 25th 2002)
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Tamzin They are making a TV series about Alex Rider now, The author of the Jason Steed series is the screen writer. It stars Otto Farrant
Lailani Orphaned 14-year old spy Alex Rider is asked by the British spy agency MI6 to be a ball boy at Wimbledon. While at the tournament, he uncovers a sinis…moreOrphaned 14-year old spy Alex Rider is asked by the British spy agency MI6 to be a ball boy at Wimbledon. While at the tournament, he uncovers a sinister plan carried out by a Chinese gang that involves rigging the outcome by drugging certain tennis players. Afterward, the gang members attempt to redeem their reputation by trying to kill Alex. He is forced to go into hiding.

Alex vows — once more — to never work for MI6. Of course, as was the case in book two of this series, MI6 officials manipulate Alex until he accepts their latest case. Since attempts are being made on Alex’s life, MI6 feels that Alex should travel to Florida as part of a joint spy mission with the CIA. Alex flies to Miami and meets two agents that pose as his parents, Carver (male) and Troy (female). After a week of training, the three travel to Skeleton Key, an island near Cuba. The CIA agents leave Alex at the hotel while they spy on those in the mansion of a mad Russian general, Alexei Sarov. The CIA had received a report that the general recently bought uranium.

Alex convinces agents Carver and Troy to let him accompany them on a scuba diving excursion, which is really another spy operation. Carver and Troy are killed by a trap set by Sarov in a cave underneath his mansion, and Alex is taken hostage. The mad general doesn’t want to hurt Alex, even though he knows Alex is an MI6 agent. Alex reminds the general of his only son who was killed in the war between Afghanistan and his country. General Sarov offers to adopt Alex. Sarov thinks Alex is considering his offer as they fly to Russia where the general plans to set off a nuclear bomb in a harbor of outdated and rusted Russian submarines. On the way, they stop in London to fuel their jet, and Alex escapes. Sarov recaptures Alex, but not before the young spy is able to get the attention of the authorities. In Russia, Sarov and his men seize control of a submarine yard and the nuclear bomb is lowered onto the top of a sub. Alex manages to stall Sarov and his men until Russian soldiers arrive to take control of the situation. The bomb is defused. Sarov realizes that Alex does not want to be his son and shoots himself.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  47,424 ratings  ·  1,412 reviews

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Cristina Monica
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: espionage
3.5 stars.

Gosh, this series is so addictive!

Even if it's completely unrealistic.

Even if Alex Rider should have died 50 times over at this point.

Alex grows on you. I pity his situation of being an orphan but I admire the amount of strength he shows every day and especially during missions to save the world. Go Alex!
Ahmad Sharabiani
Point Blanc = Point Blank (Alex Rider, #2), Anthony Horowitz
Point Blanc is the second book in the Alex Rider series, written by British author Anthony Horowitz. The book was released in the United Kingdom on September 3, 2001 and in North America on April 15, 2002, under the alternate title: Point Blank. The book opens with the death of American electronics billionaire Michael J. Roscoe in an elevator shaft in his New York City offices, arranged by a reputable contract killer known only as The G
Lila Kims
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Alex. Is. Awesome. I've probably said it before, but I'll say it again. And probably again. And probably again. (What can I say? He's great!) I am sooooo going to keep reading this series. Absolutely. Definitely. Undoubtedly.

I especially loved the villain in this book. Er, I mean, I hated him. But I loved how he was done. Although I did hate him, I also pitied him. His evident pain - his deep emotions - added a wonderful layer of realism to him.

On another note, the "vacation" setting really fits
Clive Harrison
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the third Alex Rider book, following on from “Stormbreaker” and “Point Blanc,” and the two previous books are also available as graphic novels. This book sees Alex rider forced to go into hiding on Skeleton Key, an island near Cuba, where a Russian General called Sarov is hatching a plan to change the history of the world.
I'm am really getting into the series now because this book splits into to adventures although they both flow and are both the same adventure but seem to be in differen
Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alex is doing a personal favor for Mr. Crawley when he sets off a chain of events that puts him in Skeleton Key, near Cuba, working for the CIA. The Third book in the Alex Rider series. The best Alex Rider book I Have read so far. I could not believe the ending i was actually confused. Liked it a lot . Alex Rider Adventure Skeleton Key Hardcover Anthony Horowitz ...more
Ryan Buckby
Nov 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Another book in the series, this book continues the journey of Alex Rider a 14 year old boy who is a spy for MI6 and is about to embark on is third mission.

After reading this book i feel like this one lacked something the other two had and i feel like it was a let down for me and i hope the next book picks up the series again for me. Alex is this time taken to Cuba with to CIA agents to investigate General Sarov an evil man who is trying to get his evil plan that will change the world for the wo
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 3.5*

The Alex Rider series is a fun read although it is a bit far fetched at times (especially the parts where Alex a 14 year old boy manages to escape near death situations while his adult counterparts mostly fall victim to them)! Overall a fun read and quite action packed!
Feb 22, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: worst-books, series
I'm sorry, but this book was absolutely horrible.
Benjamin Thomas
The third book in the Alex Rider series doesn’t let up on the gas pedal at all. Alex really has had all he can take with these MI-6 assignments but when offered to be a ball boy at Wimbledon merely in exchange for keeping an eye out for something “unusual”, he takes the bait. That leads to the first part of the escapades in this book. But after he uncovers a drug plot designed to influence illegal gambling and saves the entire tournament, it’s on to the real plot of the story. Here again, Alex j ...more
Aaron Vincent
Aug 29, 2010 rated it liked it
This is my seventh Anthony Horowitz book and I noticed a couple of bold moves in the sudden change in his patterns. Some are good, some are craps.

In the first two books of Alex Rider and in all the Gatekeepers books, his main villain always have some kind of physical deformities, creepy appearance and sometimes, even monstrous. I like these books but the villain pattern is getting tiring. Good thing that in Skeleton Key, he introduced us the General Alexeis Sarov, a sixty something years old Rus
Jun 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: badass-hero
Rating: 3/5
***Minor spoilers***

I was pretty disappointed with this one. I really enjoyed Point Blank, but this book pretty much paled in comparison to it. Don't get me wrong, it was enjoyable enough, but it wasn't everything I was hoping for.

This book begins shortly after Alex recovered from France and has started to go to school again. Alex gets sucked back into his work at M16 when he is asked to become a ballboy at Wimbledon so he can keep a look out for anything suspicious. After some unfort
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Synopsis: After thwarting Herod Sayle's evil plans and attending the bizarre school Point Blanc undercover, Alex Rider is ready to be done with MI6...but, when one of the agency's bigwigs invites him to Wimbledon to check out a possible threat, Alex ends up killing a Chinese gang member in a fight...which means Alex has to leave the country. MI6 sends him on assignment with two members of the CIA, to check out criminal activity in Cuba on a place known as Skeleton Key. As a lifelong resident of ...more
Luisa Knight
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, action
Alex Rider isn't just any fourteen-year-old. He's mentally quick, knows self defense and adheres to a strong code of justice. Give him some gadgets and he'd make the perfect spy. After all, who would suspect a kid? And that's why MI6 want him so badly!

The series isn't just made up of individual adventure stories of espionage. The titles start becoming linked a little further into the series. It seems like Alex has a history. And because of it, his future with MI6 seems shaky and will leave the r
Jimmy R.
May 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Skeleton Key was a phenomenal book, and I couldn’t put it down. I loved everything about it; the action, the suspense and the twists to the plot. The only thing is that I read the series out of order. There was one main action part in the middle, and my favorite is at the end. One of the parts is in the middle, and it is when Alex, Carver, and Troy went Scuba diving for a possible underwater entrance to Sarov’s mansion. Carver and Troy (two Adults who work for the CIA) go down first. After a whi ...more
Dec 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the Alex Rider series, and upon reading this book, I was thrilled. It was always action-packed, and this book started to take a slightly darker mood, with more emotions and such. One of the things I love about the series is how REAL it is. In a fantasy book, because it is fantasy, writing realistically is always a big part. In other books with spy kids, they're always thrilled to be a spy and "putting themselves in danger". But Alex Rider is different. In the first two books, I always tho ...more
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book "Skeleton Key" is a thrilling exciting novel. From the moment you open he book from the time you close it there is action all around. I ended up reading at separate time, taking a long break in between reading this and i regret it because the ending could have come any faster. Overall I was more than happy about the book and enjoyed every page I turned. I would recommend this book to anyone but mainly guys.

Alex Rider is a 14 year old boy with fair hair and brown eyes, his parents were
Mar 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I decided to read "Skeleton Key" by Anthony Horowitz because lots of my friends had read it and had said it was a great book. I had read the first book in the series before and I thought it was really good. The cover of the book isn't very exciting but the content inside the book definitely is.

My favorite character in the book is Conrad. He is a really strange man with an eye to kill. Years before the book was set, Conrad was trying to sneak a bomb into a highly populated area when the bomb blew
Dec 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Alex Rider has been through a lot in his life. He has been almost electrocuted by a giant jellyfish, been held prisoner twice, and has stood face to face with evil. But none of his prievous experiences will even come close to this one. One day after soccer practice, Crawley, a man who works for MI6, appears, asking Alex to be a ball boy and keep an eye on the Wimbledon tennis tournament and watch for anything supspicious, since there had been a break in. Immediately, he spots a guard who is up t ...more
Feb 05, 2012 rated it liked it
3.5 For me, I think this one is the weakest in the series, if not simply the least memorable. I don't mind the formulaic plots, or the cliche spy movie stuff ('Before I kill you, I shall tell you my whole plan' etc) because that's the nature of this genre. It's 007 at age 14. But this book is altogether way too similar to the first book. The idealistic bad guy, the scarred sidekick, the plane ride of doom, the whole thing, really.

We do of course meet Sabina, who is fun. And we get to see Alex d
Apr 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
great book i am reading it right now it has a very interesting story line but it is kind of ridiculous that the spy is fourteen.
Dec 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Skeleton Key by Anthony Horowitz is one of the books in the series of Alex Rider. The story begins in England where Alex is given a mission, the story goes that Alex gets mixed up in a chinese triad operation(must read the book to find out who the triads are)and that he has to flee out of England if he does not want to get killed. Alex works at an english organization called MI6, but he is not a official agent for them because he dislikes them a lot. MI6 sends Alex to the CIA for his safety, bu ...more
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
The main characters in this book are Alex Rider; a 14 year old English school boy who was drafted by MI6 (British special forces) after his uncle was killed in action. Alex is also accompanied by his housekeeper and more or less guardian, Jack Starbright. There is also an evil villain in this book and his name is General Alexi Sarov. This guy was big in the Soviet Union and when they went down he lost everything including his only son. This is what caused him to hold Alex captive for much of the ...more
Joyce ☘ clutteredbooks ☘
Kids, especially boys, are going to love this series. It's a spy novel with a 14 year old boy as the hero (and I mean hero in all aspects *eye roll*) who saved the day world from a crazy military man who wanted to clean up the world with his nuclear bombs. Yes, a 14 year old boy saved the world.

I appreciate the fun it presents but it didn't reel me in. It's a classic 'it's not you, it's me' dilemma. I own the whole series so I know I'll read the next books eventually. However, I'm not compelled
Dominic Cruz
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The plot of the story was well developed, and the transitions from place to place was well done .
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Read with one of my students. It was OK, 2.5
Grace Bittle
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen-ficton
Another awesome Alex Rider adventure!
Dia Nair
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd actually rate this 4.5 stars because the plot was really interesting and creative but l think that some bits were just slightly too lucky. And the ending l feel was really good how the author worded it and made everyone worry (hard to explain without spoilers) but l hated it happening because it was very unlikely to happen and wayyyy too lucky!
This is the third book in the Alex Rider series.

These Alex Rider books are spies books, basically Alex Rider, a 14 year old, is involved in missions, and has to play his part as spy there, even when he doesn't want to, when he just wants to be a normal kid, doing what normal kids should be doing.

It's really interesting to see how he gets involved in all of that, because he lives in London and the MI6 sometimes finds missions in which Alex fits perfectly. Some agents hesitate because he is too yo
Shreyas Kallimath
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Imagine being a spy at the age of 13 or 14. Action, gadgets, and adventure! Sounds real cool doesn't it? But Alex Rider doesn't think so. Alex Rider has been shot at, been kidnapped, and has been stuck in all sorts of terrible mishaps, only at the tender age of 14! Imagine that! He makes us realize that fame, power, and strength all comes at a price: the assurance and guarantee of your safety. "Skeleton Key" by Anthony Horowitz, is the third installment in his series: Alex Rider. This book is fi ...more
Kavya Deshpande
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
The third installment of the spy- adventure series "Alex Rider" comes in the suspenseful and gripping form of Skeleton Key. Teenager Alex Rider, the disinclined but prized spy of the MI6, is in trouble with the Chinese Triads- in order to save him, the MI6 have to get him out of the country, and this means that he will have to act as the cover for two CIA agents as they investigate Russian General Sarov on a private island near Cuba. Anthony Horowitz writes the story in his usual no- nonsense st ...more
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Anthony Horowitz, OBE is ranked alongside Enid Blyton and Mark A. Cooper as "The most original and best spy-kids authors of the century." (New York Times). Anthony has been writing since the age of eight, and professionally since the age of twenty. In addition to the highly successful Alex Rider books, he is also the writer and creator of award winning detective series Foyle’s War, and more recent ...more

Other books in the series

Alex Rider (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Stormbreaker (Alex Rider, #1)
  • Point Blank (Alex Rider, #2)
  • Eagle Strike (Alex Rider, #4)
  • Scorpia (Alex Rider, #5)
  • Ark Angel (Alex Rider, #6)
  • Snakehead (Alex Rider, #7)
  • Crocodile Tears (Alex Rider, #8)
  • Scorpia Rising (Alex Rider, #9)
  • Russian Roulette: The Story of an Assassin (Alex Rider, #10)
  • Never Say Die (Alex Rider, #11)

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“What happened?" he demanded. "I heard an explosion!"

"Yeah.That was me. I set the boat alight."


"I set fire to the boat."

"But we're on the boat!"

"I know.”
“Alex decided he’d had enough. He put down his knife. “All right,” he said. “You’ve made it pretty clear that you don’t want to work with me. Well, that’s fine. Because I don’t want to work with you either. And for what it’s worth, nobody would ever believe you were my mom because no mom would ever behave like you.”
“Alex…,” Carver began.
“Forget it! I’m going back to London. And if you’re Mr. Byrne asks why, you can tell him I didn’t like the jelly, so I went home to get some jam.”
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