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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Horowitz, Anthony: Stormbreaker

  Amazon  

4 stars

After Ian Rider dies in a car accident, fourteen-year-old Alex Rider discovers that his secretive uncle was not in fact a bank manager, as he'd always said, but a spy who died while on a mission. Alex is recruited by MI6--not quite willingly--to take over where his uncle left off, trying to uncover the evil schemes of a billionaire philanthropist whose plans to benefit England's schoolchildren smell fishy.

Stormbreaker is a sort of James Bond adventure for the 9-12 set. There's a version of "Q," for instance--the man behind Bond's clever gadgets: Smithers equips Alex with a number of helpful goodies, including a pimped-out Nintendo GameBoy Color. The bad guy's an evil genius whose henchmen have inventive ways of disposing of enemies. And the villain also enjoys one of those Bond-ian, spill-all moments near the book's end, when he explains his master plan right before the hero's imminent death. (I love the fact that the madman's father is described as a "failed oral hygienist.")

Stormbreaker is the first book in Anthony Horowitz's bestselling Alex Rider series. (The book was made into a 2006 film starring Robbie Coltrane and Alex Pettyfer.) I can understand the series' success. It's a good read, filled with action and decent writing. I would argue that a couple scenes in the book have credibility problems, but I wasn't too bothered by it. I'd certainly be willing to suspend my disbelief for as long as it takes to read the next installment.

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