Home Page

Guided Reading

Alex Rider - Stormbreaker

Alex glanced at his watch. About three minutes had passed since Crawley had left the office and he had said he would be back in five. If he was going to find anything here, he had to find it quickly. He pulled open a drawer in the desk. It contained four or five thick files. Alex took them and opened them. He saw at once that they had nothing to do with banking.

The first was marked: NERVE POISONS. NEW METHODS OF CONCEALMENT AND DISSEMINATION. Alex put it aside and looked at the second. ASSASSINATIONS: FOUR CASE STUDIES. Growing ever more puzzled, he quickly flicked through the rest of the files, which covered counterterrorism, the movement of uranium across Europe and interrogation techniques. The last file was simply labelled: STORMBREAKER.

Alex was about to read it when the door suddenly opened and two men walked in. One of them was Crawley. The other was the driver from the junkyard. Alex knew that there was no point trying to explain what he was doing. He was sitting behind the desk with the Stormbreaker file open in his hands. But at the same time he realised that the two men weren’t surprised to see him there. From the way they had come into the room, they had expected to find him.

“This isn’t a bank,” Alex said. “Who are you? Was my uncle working for you? Did you kill him?”

“So many questions,” Crawley muttered. “But I’m afraid we’re not authorised to give you the answers.”

The second man lifted his hand and Alex saw that he was holding a gun. He stood up behind the desk, holding the file as if to protect himself. “No…” he began.

The man fired. There was no explosion. The gun spat at Alex and he felt something slam into his heart. His hand opened and the file tumbled to the ground. Then his legs buckled, the room twisted, and he fell back into nothing.



  1. From the headings on the files Alex read, what profession do you think the owner of this office works in? 
  2. Why didn’t Alex try to explain to the men what he was doing in the office? 
  3. What clues in the text suggest that Crawley and the man with the gun are not the people in charge? 
  4. What kind of literary feature is used in the words, ‘The gun spat at Alex…’?
  5. Which feature is used in the final sentence of the extract? What is the effectiveness of using this feature here?