If you’re an adventurous teenager, what’s the next best thing to being a highly-trained, covert operative taking part in top-secret and death-defying special missions?
Reading an Andy McNab book.
It’s only on the pages of the former SAS man’s heart-pounding, all-action thrillers that we can truly begin to understand what is involved in being a real-life combatant, and now he brings all the suspense and excitement of his adult novels to the teen fiction market.
Terminal Velocity is the second book in his cracking DropZone series which features the rough, tough Raiders, a group of teenagers who front as an elite skydiving team but are actually undercover spies working for Britain’s intelligence services.
Under the guidance of their ice-cool leader Sam, an ex-SAS explosives expert who has seen service in active war zones, the team is developing into a pretty impressive unit.
One of the golden boys of the group is 17-year-old Ethan Blake whom we first encounter in the midst of a terrifying life-and-death situation during a skydiving training jump.
His canopy is in a nightmare tangle and if he doesn’t do something quickly, he’ll touch 120-135mph terminal velocity and hit the ground never to rise again.
If not routine, it’s all in a day’s work for the youngster who loves Danger with a capital D.
What Ethan hasn’t reckoned on is being picked to go undercover on what will be his most perilous mission yet - infiltrating a bunch of ruthless and brutal criminals.
For some time now, homeless teenage boys have been disappearing from the streets; no one looked for them until one turned up battered, beaten and fighting for his life.
He died in hospital but not before revealing that he had been kidnapped and then forced to take part in illegal, high-stakes cage fighting.
MI5 believe that the man behind the highly organised operation is an arms dealer known as ‘Mr X’ who has been on their wanted list for years.
They need to find a way into the cage-fighting syndicate, not just to expose Mr X but also the criminals and terrorists he deals with.
There’s only one way in and that’s to use a teenager who is cool-headed, fearless and trained in hand-to-hand combat... so when top dog Johnny gets injured, that leaves only Ethan to fill the breach.
His life just got seriously scary.
McNab’s brilliant DropZone books pack a real punch for adrenaline junkie kids...well written and plotted, full of thrills and spills and accompanied by a glossary that reads like an army skydiving training manual.
A new ‘high’ in teen fiction.
(Doubleday, hardback, £10.99)