Scorpia Rising is the ninth novel in the Alex Rider series, written by British author Anthony Horowitz. It was published on 31 March 2011. Zeljan Kurst, chief executive of the criminal organization Scorpia, is asked by Yannis Ariston Xenopolos, a Greek billionaire suffering from terminal cancer, to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece. A tip-off leads MI6 to organise an operation to try to capture him at the British Museum, but Kurst escapes amidst an intense firefight between the SAS personnel and his own security detail. Scorpia's executive board meet up on a river boat in Paris, where Razim, selected to be in charge of returning the Elgin Marbles back to Greece, discusses his plan involving Alex Rider. Despite many members of the executive board expressing general amusement with Razim's plan, Levi Kroll hotly protests and threatens to kill Zeljan Kurst if Scorpia does not let him leave. Kroll is shot by a sniper Kurst set up and Kurst makes use of his body as part of Razim's plan. Meanwhile, Scorpia manages to help Julius Grief escape from a top-secret prison in Gibraltar, while at the same time faking his death.
Scorpia begins its operation by arranging for Razim body to be found in the River Thames. Using evidence stored in Razim’s body, MI6 suspects an upcoming attack by Scorpia at the Cairo International College of Arts and Education in Cairo, Egypt. Alan Blunt, head of MI6, plans to recruit Alex on the mission, which Mrs Jones, refuses. At Alex Rider's school, Alex is attacked by a sniper in Mathematics class. Alex takes revenge on the sniper by following him to a helicopter in which he plans to escape in, causing the helicopter to crash into the Thames; that evening, Alan Blunt and Mrs. Jones visit Alex in his house in Chelsea and suggest that, because of the attack, they should arrange for Alex to be relocated to Cairo, the guise being to investigate the CICAE undercover as a student, they want Alex to investigate Erik Gunter, the school's new head of security whom they believe might have something to do with an upcoming assault on the school. Jack Starbright, Alex's guardian, demands to come with him to keep an eye on him.
Smithers, the gadget master, was sent to aid Alex in his mission. Alex's investigation of Gunter leads him to the House of a floating armaments workshop. There, Gunter kills the salesperson known as Habib. Gunter blows up the House of Gold, causing Alex to be swept into the Nile River. Alex is captured by an unknown organization who waterboards him for information at their headquarters; the group turns out to be the CIA, the head of the CIA Joe Byrne angrily dismisses the interrogators and tells Alex that they are here in Cairo to protect the American Secretary of State, due to give a speech in Cairo denouncing Britain's status as a world power. Alex tells Byrne about Gunter's involvement in Habib's murder, Byrne agrees to keep an eye on Gunter, thus and Jack decides to return to England, presuming that the CIA can handle the mission, visits Smithers' house to inform him about his decision. However, Scorpia operatives assault Smithers' house, he and Smithers manage to escape. Smithers reveals after the assault that he has worn a fat suit since Alex first met him, which he removes to escape the attempt on his life.
Returning home, Alex finds that Jack has been kidnapped by Scorpia, is instructed to go to a cemetery called the City of the Dead, where he is confronted by Julius and Gunter. The duo gives him the sniper rifle Gunter acquired from the House of Gold and takes several pictures of Alex holding it. Alex is taken to Razim's fort, where he reunites with Jack and spends a day with in the fort supervised. Jack reveals she plans to break out that night; that night, Alex is taken to Razim's laboratory, where Razim reveals that he anticipated her escape and that the Land Rover Jack is driving on is filled with explosives. Despite Alex's protests, Julius blows up the Land Rover. Overwhelmed with grief, Alex passes out; the following night, Alex is taken back to Cairo. While waiting in a van, Gunter reveals Scorpia's plan to Alex, full of fabricated evidence alleging that the MI6 used a teenage boy to kill the American Secretary of State. Scorpia will threaten the British government to reveal the file to the public, which will frame Alex and destroy the reputation of the British government, forcing them to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece.
However, Alex manages to overpower and kill Gunter after Gunter is stung by a scorpion. He seizes pursues Julius, he manages to stop Julius' attempt to shoot the American Secretary of State, Julius tries to flee the scene. When Julius is injured in the chase, he gloats that Alex will never kill him, before attempting to shoot him, forcing Alex to return fire in self-defense, killing Julius. Alex returns to the CIA, who forms a joint task force with the Egyptian secret service to take out Razim in the desert, taking Alex with them to help; when he arrives at Razim's fort, masquerading as Julius, manages to deactivate the fort's defense system before the CIA and the Egyptians attack the fort. Alex confronts Razim on a bridge, who attempts to shoot him, but a CIA operative destroys the bridge, causing Razim to fall into a pile of salt underneath. Razim dies as he gets sucked into the salt and suffocates, the task force manages to overpower Razim's men. In the aftermath, the remaining Scorpia members are arrested or executed, including Kurst, causing Scorpia to disband as their reputation is destroyed.
Back in England, Blunt retires and
Eagle Strike is the fourth book in the Alex Rider series written by British author Anthony Horowitz. The book was released in the United Kingdom on September 4, 2003 and in the United States on April 12, 2004, it is set in Southern France, Paris and London. Eagle Strike follows Alex Rider as he goes to rogue to stop a madman celebrity from launching 25 nukes at various locations across the world to stop the drug trade. In a prelude chapter that takes place 15 years before the main series, two unnamed assassins travel through the Amazon jungle in search of their target, a major drug lord. Locating him, they prepare to take him out from his secret hideout. However, a black widow spider lands on the neck of Cossack. Changing his position, Hunter manages to hit the black widow and take out the target with a single shot from his sniper rifle. Once escaping, Cossack thanks his partner for saving him before heading back to civilization. After the events of Skeleton Key, Alex Rider is on holiday in the south of France with his friend Sabina Pleasure, where he spots Yassen Gregovich at the beach and follows him, but stops after a close encounter that endangers him.
The house that Sabina and her family are staying in explodes, injuring Sabina's father in the process. Convinced it was Yassen, Alex locates him on a yacht but is captured by Yassen's associates, Yassen sends him to fight a bull. Alex manages to escape from the bullfight and discovers that the man Yassen was in contact with was a billionaire pop star-turned environmentalist, named Damian Cray. Failing to convince MI6, Alex starts his own investigations on Cray and attends Cray's launch of a new gaming system called "Gameslayer", its flagship game, Feathered Serpent, in which he participates in a demonstration, his suspicions about Cray grow as the next day Alex hears about the death of a journalist, questioning Cray over the violence of the game, set in Aztec times. He locates a journalist named Marc Antonio, a friend of Edward Pleasure, in Paris, investigating Cray. Marc reveals what he has been investigating Cray and a deal he made with a man called Charlie Roper, an American NSA agent. Marc is killed by Cray's men.
Alex sneaks into Cray Software Technologies in Amsterdam, where he hears Roper and Cray talking about a flash drive, before they start arguing about the deal. Roper is trapped in a room, two million dollars worth of nickels is poured on top of him, both paying and killing him. Cray catches Alex as he tries to sneak away and puts him in a real-life version of Feathered Serpent. Alex steals Cray's flash drive. A pursuit breaks out between Alex and Cray's men across the streets of Amsterdam, which Alex narrowly survives, thanks to a bicycle laden with gadgets, courtesy of MI6 gadget-master Smithers. In response to Alex stealing the flash drive, Cray captures holds her for ransom. Alex goes to Cray's convent home and attempts to force Cray to release Sabina, but Cray refuses and forces Alex to hand over the flash drive. Cray explains his reasons for attempting to have Sabina's father killed and having Antonio killed. Cray reveals his plan, code-named "Eagle Strike": he will board Air Force One and use its missile room to launch a total of twenty-five nuclear missiles at major drug-running countries around the globe to eradicate the drug trade, at the cost of millions of innocent lives.
Leaving Sabina and Alex locked in a cellar together and Alex apologize to each other and reconcile. Yassen forces the two to put on hazard suit. After creating a diversion using a plane full of fake nerve gas, he, Yassen and Sabina sneak aboard Air Force One at Heathrow International Airport. Cray plugs in the flash drive and activates the missiles, before asking the pilot, Henryk, to fly them to Russia, where Yassen will be honoured as a hero. After Sabina insults Cray, Cray demands Yassen to kill Alex, which he refuses. Yassen is killed by Cray before Cray shoots at Alex. Sabina attacks Cray. Before Cray can kill her, saved by a bulletproof jersey, gets up and fights Cray. After an intense fight that progresses across the entire plane and Alex manage to push Cray out and into the jet engine, vaporising him instantly; the engine is destroyed, causing the plane to lose crash before take off. Alex and Sabina survive the crash, but Alex is wounded and Sabina is forced to use the self-destruct button to destroy the missiles.
As Yassen lays dying, he reveals to Alex that he knew his father, John Rider, he had worked with him as an assassin. He shows a scar on his neck, which shows that Alex's father had saved him once. Yassen tells Alex he must go to Venice, find someone called "Scorpia", before he dies. At the end of the novel, Alex is visited by Mrs. Jones, who apologises for not believing him, questions him about the final interaction between him and Yassen, she asks. Lying to her that Yassen shared nothing important, Alex vows to discover the truth of Yassen's story and prepares to find Scorpia, he meets with Sabina, who tells him that she and her family are moving to San Francisco. Sharing a kiss, the two go their separate ways
Stormbreaker is a young adult action-adventure book written by British author Anthony Horowitz, is the first novel in the Alex Rider series. The book was released in the United Kingdom on 4 September 2000, in United States release on 21 May 2001, where it became a New York Times Bestseller. Since its release, the book has sold more than nine million copies worldwide, been listed on the BBC's The Big Read, in 2005 received a California Young Reader Medal; the book's plot revolves around Alex Rider being secretly recruited into MI6 to investigate the Stormbreaker computer factory and stop a terrorist attack that will kill hundreds of thousands of British school children. A film adaptation, starring Alex Pettyfer as Alex Rider, was released in 2006; the book begins with Alex Rider learning that his uncle and guardian, Ian Rider, has been killed in a car crash. Unknown to Alex and his housekeeper, Jack Starbright, Ian's job as a banker was a cover for his role as an MI6 agent. Alex becomes suspicious upon being told that Ian had not been wearing his seat belt and discovering that Ian's office has been emptied out.
He finds his uncle's car at a wrecking yard, discovers that his uncle had been murdered, being shot several times. After a near escape from a car crusher, Alex is asked to visit Ian's former employers, ostensibly a bank called "The Royal & General", he breaks into Ian's office at the bank, discovering evidence of his uncle's double life before he is knocked out by a drugged dart. After waking up, Alex meets his deputy, Mrs Tulip Jones, they reveal the truth about his uncle's job, explain that they had sent Ian to investigate Herod Sayle, a wealthy Lebanese businessman who has developed a revolutionary new computer, the Stormbreaker. Sayle plans to give a free Stormbreaker to every secondary school in the United Kingdom, accompanied by a grand activation ceremony in the Science Museum as a gesture of thanks for the country taking him in when he was a child, after a wealthy American couple sent him to England after he saved their lives in Olive Street. In his last communication with them, Ian had warned MI6 that the Stormbreakers could not be allowed to leave Sayle's manufacturing plant, but before he could explain, he was assassinated by Yassen Gregorovich, a professional killer working for Sayle, on the return to London.
Intending to use him to covertly investigate Sayle, MI6 recruits Alex by blackmailing him. They put him through a gruelling eleven-day long stint at an SAS training camp, before deploying him to Herod Sayle's base in Cornwall, using the alias of another boy, Felix Lester, who won a competition to visit the plant and be the first child to use a Stormbreaker. To aid him in his mission, Alex is given a grappling hook disguised as a yo-yo, acne cream capable of dissolving metal, a Nintendo Gameboy which functions as a transmitter, smoke screen, surveillance camera and microphone and bug detector, by MI6 agent Smithers. Sayle shows Alex around his mock-Victorian mansion, which houses a large jellyfish aquarium containing a giant Portuguese Man o' War, located in his office. Alex meets Mr. Grin, a butler and henchman whose name derives from his time as a circus performer, catching knives with his teeth. An accident in his hometown left him without a tongue and two large scars, which give him the appearance of constant smiling.
The trip goes well, with Alex finding a cryptic diagram made by his Uncle Ian in the canopy of his four-poster bed. However, Sayle grows to dislike Alex, firstly after Alex is discovered in a restricted area of the base, when Alex defeats Sayle in a game of snooker. While investigating the base at night, Alex sees several of Sayle's agents unloading metal cases with great care from a Chinese nuclear submarine at the local port, with Yassen supervising; when one of the agents drops a metal case, he is promptly shot dead by Yassen. The next afternoon, Alex decides to visit Port Tallon, the nearby village, but finds himself attacked by a pair of armed guards on quad bikes, he survives by tricking the guards into crashing: one collides with an electric fence while the other falls from a cliff face. While searching the library, Alex finds a map in a book about tin mining which matches the diagram left by Ian, discovering that Sayle's land once belonged to Sir Rupert Dozmary, a tin-mining magnate.
He learns that Ian had borrowed several books about viruses, assumes that Sayle plans to use the Stormbreaker network to release a computer virus into Britain's computer infrastructure. Alex investigates the Dozmary mine and, following the path left by his uncle, discovers a large computer manufacturing facility, where the Stormbreaker computers are being filled with a strange fluid. Alex realises that the'viruses' being investigated by Ian were not computer viruses, but biological weapons. Alex is detected, nearly escapes but is caught and tranquilised; when he comes to, Sayle explains to Alex his plan. When Sayle attended school, he was bullied because of his skin colour; the worst bully was none other than the future Prime Minister, leading him to despise English children, all of Britain in general. As a result, Sayle plans to take revenge on the Prime Minister and Britain with his "April Fools Joke". Alex is le
Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. It is bordered to the north by Spain; the landscape is dominated by the Rock of Gibraltar at the foot of, a densely populated town area, home to over 30,000 people Gibraltarians. In 1704, Anglo-Dutch forces captured Gibraltar from Spain during the War of the Spanish Succession on behalf of the Habsburg claim to the Spanish throne; the territory was ceded to Great Britain in perpetuity under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. During World War II it was an important base for the Royal Navy as it controlled the entrance and exit to the Mediterranean Sea, the Strait of Gibraltar, only 8 miles wide at this naval choke point, it remains strategically important. Today Gibraltar's economy is based on tourism, online gambling, financial services and cargo ship refuelling; the sovereignty of Gibraltar is a point of contention in Anglo-Spanish relations because Spain asserts a claim to the territory. Gibraltarians rejected proposals for Spanish sovereignty in a 1967 referendum and, in a 2002 referendum, the idea of shared sovereignty was rejected.
Evidence of Neanderthal habitation in Gibraltar from around 50,000 years ago has been discovered at Gorham's Cave. The caves of Gibraltar continued to be used by Homo sapiens after the final extinction of the Neanderthals. Stone tools, ancient hearths and animal bones dating from around 40,000 years ago to about 5,000 years ago have been found in deposits left in Gorham's Cave. Numerous potsherds dating from the Neolithic period have been found in Gibraltar's caves of types typical of the Almerian culture found elsewhere in Andalusia around the town of Almería, from which it takes its name. There is little evidence of habitation in the Bronze Age, when people had stopped living in caves. During ancient times, Gibraltar was regarded by the peoples of the Mediterranean as a place of religious and symbolic importance; the Phoenicians were present for several centuries since around 950 BC using Gorham's Cave as a shrine to the genius loci, as did the Carthaginians and Romans after them. Gibraltar was known as Mons Calpe, a name of Phoenician origin.
Mons Calpe was considered by the ancient Greeks and Romans as one of the Pillars of Hercules, after the Greek legend of the creation of the Strait of Gibraltar by Heracles. There is no known archaeological evidence of permanent settlements from the ancient period, they settled at the head of the bay in. The town of Carteia, near the location of the modern Spanish town of San Roque, was founded by the Phoenicians around 950 BC on the site of an early settlement of the native Turdetani people. After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, Gibraltar came under the control of the Vandals, who crossed into Africa at the invitation of Boniface, the Count of the territory; the area formed part of the Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania for 300 years, from 414 until 711 AD. Following a raid in 710, a predominantly Berber army under the command of Tariq ibn Ziyad crossed from North Africa in April 711 and landed somewhere in the vicinity of Gibraltar. Tariq's expedition led to the Islamic conquest of most of the Iberian peninsula.
Mons Calpe was renamed the Mount of Tariq, subsequently corrupted into Gibraltar. In 1160 the Almohad Sultan Abd al-Mu'min ordered that a permanent settlement, including a castle, be built, it received the name of Medinat al-Fath. The Tower of Homage of the Moorish Castle remains standing today. From 1274 onwards, the town was fought over and captured by the Nasrids of Granada, the Marinids of Morocco and the kings of Castile. In 1462 Gibraltar was captured by 1st Duke of Medina Sidonia. After the conquest, Henry IV of Castile assumed the additional title of King of Gibraltar, establishing it as part of the comarca of the Campo Llano de Gibraltar. Six years Gibraltar was restored to the Duke of Medina Sidonia, who sold it in 1474 to a group of 4350 conversos from Cordova and Seville and in exchange for maintaining the garrison of the town for two years, after which time they were expelled, returning to their home towns or moving on to other parts of Spain. In 1501 Gibraltar passed back to the Spanish Crown, Isabella I of Castile issued a Royal Warrant granting Gibraltar the coat of arms that it still uses.
In 1704, during the War of the Spanish Succession, a combined Anglo-Dutch fleet, representing the Grand Alliance, captured the town of Gibraltar on behalf of the Archduke Charles of Austria in his campaign to become King of Spain. Subsequently most of the population left the town with many settling nearby; as the Alliance's campaign faltered, the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht was negotiated, which ceded control of Gibraltar to Britain to secure Britain's withdrawal from the war. Unsuccessful attempts by Spanish monarchs to regain Gibraltar were made with the siege of 1727 and again with the Great Siege of Gibraltar, during the American War of Independence. Gibraltar became a key base for the Royal Navy and played an important role prior to the Battle of Trafalgar and during the Crimean War of 1854–56, because of its strategic location. In the 18th century, the peacetime military garrison fluctuated in numbers from a minimum of 1,100 to a maximum of 5,000; the first half of the 19th century saw a significant increase of population to more t
Russian Roulette (novel)
Russian Roulette is the tenth novel in the Alex Rider series written by British author Anthony Horowitz. It was first published in 2013; the novel serves as a prequel to the Alex Rider series but focuses on the childhood of the assassin who appears in many of the books, Yassen Gregorovich. Shortly after the Science Museum scene in Stormbreaker, Yassen Gregorovich receives an order to kill Alex Rider; the connection the two of them share prompts Yassen to recall his past. In the past, Yassen is a young boy in a small Russian village named Estrov, his parents work at a nearby fertiliser factory that secretly develops chemical weapons for the Russian government. He is forced to flee his home after an accident at the factory contaminates the whole village with a deadly strain of anthrax, genetically modified to spread much faster than it would in normal conditions. Yassen's parents escape from the factory and give him the only sample of antidote, before they advise him to flee to Moscow and seek Misha Dementyev, a friend of Yassen's father.
Yassen escapes into the forest with his best friend Leo Tretyakov as attack gunships sent by the Russian authorities destroy the village, to contain the outbreak and cover up the development of the chemical weaponry. They narrowly avoid a band of soldiers ordered to hunt down all the survivors of the Estrov disaster, by escaping through a narrow sewage pipe, find shelter in an old construction hut. Leo dies of the disease that night and Yassen continues on alone, narrowly avoiding getting caught by the police and escaping onto a train for Moscow. Yassen finds Dementyev in Moscow University, he is aware. Yassen evades arrest and joins a gang of petty thieves who had pick pocketed him earlier, persuades them to rob a flat owned by Vladimir Sharkovsky, a wealthy businessman whom Yassen overheard Dementyev talking to on the phone; as the smallest of the gang Yassen is chosen to crawl through a fortochka and let the other members into the house, but Sharkovsky unexpectedly returns to the flat and captures Yassen.
Sharkovsky decides to let Yassen live and work as a food taster due to the recent death of the previous one, forces him to play a game of Russian Roulette with a single bullet, of which Yassen is reluctant but he survives. After making two unsuccessful attempts to escape, Yassen spends the next three years at Sharkovsky's estate, serving as his food taster as well as a general labourer. One night, he learns that Sharkovsky had been responsible for the deaths of his parents and subsequent destruction of his village, having cut corners regarding safety at the factory to increase profit, vows to kill him. One day, a Scorpia assassin, infiltrates the compound and shoots Sharkovsky killing him. Yassen talks Grant into letting him escape with him, the two meet up with Julia Rothman, one of the commanders of Scorpia, it is revealed that Sharkovsky in fact survived the attempt on his life, Grant is subsequently killed by Rothman for his failure. Rothman offers to let Yassen join Scorpia: her rationale is that his past has been erased by the Soviet authorities, thus no records of him exist anywhere else in the world, making it difficult, if not impossible, for authorities to track him down.
Yassen agrees, his only other option being to return to Russia, where Sharkovsky's people will no doubt be looking for him. Yassen spends the next four months at Scorpia's training facility on the island of Malagosto before being given his first contract, which he is unable to carry it out, Scorpia decide to pair him up with John Rider, Alex Rider's father and an MI6 double agent within Scorpia; the pair work two contracts together. During the first contract, John saves Yassen's life, expresses doubt that Yassen has it in him to be a killer, suggests that he give up if he does not want to be one; the second contract takes place in Paris, where Yassen again hesistates to kill the target, admits to John that he does not want to be an assassin. As John and Yassen wait in an airport – Yassen planning to take a plane to Berlin and vaporise – Yassen discovers a gadget from MI6 in John's luggage, subsequently discovers his true allegiance. Feeling betrayed from this revelation, guessing that John has warned Scorpia about his defection in an attempt to weaken them further, Yassen abandons his original plans and returns to Sharkovsky's estate, using the skills he learned from Scorpia to infiltrate the place and confront Sharkovsky.
He reveals his true identity, as well as Sharkovsky's role in influencing his life, before playing Russian Roulette, this time with five bullets in the revolver, seeing it as his last chance to leave the path of a killer. Yassen once again survives, kills Sharkovsky, he resolves to become a professional killer to prove John's beliefs about him wrong. The final chapter takes place during the last chapter of Stormbreaker. Yassen –, recalling the events of the novel after receiving an order to kill Alex – kills Herod Sayle, not because of orders from Scorpia as he had claimed to Alex, but so that he could talk with John Rider's son. Yassen chooses to disregard Scorpia's order to kill Alex to repay John for saving his life, tells Alex not to become a spy, since he still feels that he has a chance at a normal life; the book was released on 12 September 2012 and 9 December 2013
Anthony Horowitz, OBE is an English novelist and screenwriter specialising in mystery and suspense. His work for young adult readers includes The Diamond Brothers series, the Alex Rider series, The Power of Five series, his work for adults includes the play Mindgame two Sherlock Holmes novels The House of Silk and Moriarty, he wrote two novels featuring his own detectives. He was chosen to write James Bond novels by the Ian Fleming estate, starting with Trigger Mortis, he has written for television, contributing scripts to ITV's Agatha Christie's Poirot and Midsomer Murders. He was the creator and writer of the ITV series Foyle's War and Injustice and the BBC series New Blood. Horowitz was born in Stanmore, into a wealthy Jewish family, in his early years lived an upper middle class lifestyle; as an overweight and unhappy child, Horowitz enjoyed reading books from his father's library. At the age of 8, Horowitz was sent to Orley Farm, a boarding preparatory school in Harrow, Middlesex. There, he entertained his peers by telling them the stories.
Horowitz described his time in the school as "a brutal experience", recalling that he was beaten by the headmaster. At age 13 he went on to Rugby School, a public school in Warwickshire. Horowitz's mother introduced him to Dracula, she gave him a human skull for his 13th birthday. Horowitz said in an interview that it reminds him to get to the end of each story since he will soon look like the skull. From the age of 8, Horowitz knew he wanted to be a writer, realizing "the only time when I'm happy is when I'm writing", he graduated from the University of York with a lower second class degree in English literature and art history in 1977, where he was in Vanbrugh College. In at least one interview, Horowitz claims to believe that H. P. Lovecraft based his fictional Necronomicon on a real text, to have read some of that text. Horowitz's father was associated with some of the politicians in the "circle" of prime minister Harold Wilson, including Eric Miller. Facing bankruptcy, he moved his assets into Swiss numbered bank accounts.
He died from cancer when his son Anthony was 22, the family was never able to track down the missing money despite years of trying. Horowitz now lives in Central London with his wife Jill Green, whom he married in Hong Kong on 15 April 1988. Green produced Foyle's War, the series Horowitz wrote for ITV, they have two sons. He credits his family with much of his success in writing, as he says they help him with ideas and research, he is a patron of child protection charity Kidscape. Politically, he considers himself to be "vaguely conservative". Anthony Horowitz's first book, The Sinister Secret of Frederick K Bower, was a humorous adventure for children, published in 1979 and reissued as Enter Frederick K Bower. In 1981 his second novel, the Magician and the Mysterious Amulet was published and he moved to Paris to write his third book. In 1983 the first of the Pentagram series, The Devil's Door-Bell, was released; this story saw Martin Hopkins battling an ancient evil. Only three of four remaining stories in the series were written: The Night of the Scorpion, The Silver Citadel and Day of the Dragon.
In 1985, he released a collection of retold tales from around the world. In between writing these novels, Horowitz turned his attention to legendary characters, working with Richard Carpenter on the Robin of Sherwood television series, writing five episodes of the third season, he novelised three of Carpenter's episodes as a children's book under the title Robin Sherwood: The Hooded Man. In addition, he created a half-hour action adventure series loosely based on William Tell. In 1988, Groosham Grange was published; this book went on to win the 1989 Lancashire Children's Book of the Year Award. It was based on the years Horowitz spent at boarding school, its central character is a thirteen-year-old "witch", David Eliot, gifted as the seventh son of a seventh son. Like Horowitz's, Eliot's childhood is unhappy; the Groosham Grange books are aimed at a younger audience than Horowitz's previous books. This era in Horowitz's career saw Adventurer and Starting Out published. However, the most major release of Horowitz's early career was The Falcon's Malteser.
This book was the first in the successful Diamond Brothers series, was filmed for television in 1989 as Just Ask for Diamond, with an all star cast that included Bill Paterson, Jimmy Nail, Roy Kinnear, Susannah York, Michael Robbins and Patricia Hodge, featured Colin Dale and Dursley McLinden as Nick and Tim Diamond. It was followed in 1987 with Public Enemy Number Two, by South by South East in 1991 followed by The French Confection, I Know What You Did Last Wednesday, The Blurred Man and most The Greek Who Stole Christmas. Horowitz wrote many stand-alone novels in the 1990s. 1994's Granny, a comedy thriller about an evil grandmother, was Horowitz's first book in three years, it was the first of three books for an audience similar to that of Groosham Grange. The second of these was The Switch, a body swap story, first published in 1996; the third was 1997's The Devil and His Boy, set in the Elizabethan era and explores the rumour of Elizabeth I's secret son. In 1999, The Unholy Grail was published as a sequel to Groosham Grange.
The Unholy Grail was renamed as Return to Groosham Grange in 2003 to help readers understand the connection between the books. Horowitz Horror and More Horowitz Horror saw Horowitz exploring a darker side
Afghan refugees are nationals of Afghanistan who left their country as a result of major wars or persecution. The 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan marks the first wave of internal displacement and refugee flow from Afghanistan to neighboring Pakistan and Iran that began providing shelter to Afghan refugees; when the Soviet war ended in 1989, these refugees started to return to their homeland. In April 1992, a major civil war began after the mujahideen took over control of Kabul and the other major cities. Afghans again fled to neighboring countries. A total of 6.3 million Afghan refugees were hosted in Pakistan and Iran by 1990. As of 2013, Afghanistan was the largest refugee-producing country in the world, a title held for 32 years. Afghans are the second largest refugee group after Syrian refugees; the majority of Afghan refugees are located in Pakistan. Some countries that were part of the International Security Assistance Force took in small number of Afghans that worked with their respective forces.
Ethnic minorities, like Afghan Sikhs and Hindus fled to India. There are over one million internally displaced people in Afghanistan; the majority of the IDPs in Afghanistan are as a direct and indirect result of conflict and violence, although there are reasons of natural disasters. The Soviet invasion caused 2 million Afghans to be internally displaced from rural areas into urban areas; the Afghan Civil War caused a new wave of internal displacement, with many Afghans moving to northern cities in order to get away from the Taliban ruled areas. Afghanistan continues to suffer from insecurity and conflict, which has led to an increase in internal displacement. According to the UNHCR, there are 2.6 million registered refugees in 70 countries around the world, with the majority being hosted by two countries, the Islamic Republics of Iran and Pakistan. About three in four Afghans have gone through internal, external or multiple displacement in their lives. Pakistan has been home to over a million refugees for 40 years.
1.5 million registered Afghan refugees were reported to be living in Pakistan in addition to 1 million more unregistered refugees. However, due to security concerns as well as increasing political tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan, there has been an influx of refugees returning to Afghanistan. Pakistan allowed Afghan refugees legal refugee status until December 31 of 2016, after which they would be required to leave or be deported, however in September the deadline of their return was extended until March 31, 2017. On December 16, 2014, there was a terrorist attack on a school in Peshawar by the Pakistani Taliban group Tehreek-e-Taliban, the leaders of which are claimed to be based in Afghanistan in areas outside of Kabul control according to senior Pakistani officials; the attack killed at least 145 people, most of them school children. Following the attack, the Pakistani government adopted the National Action Plan to tackle terrorism and one of the 20 points of this action plan was to establish a comprehensive policy to register Afghan refugees.
Since 2015, there have been reports of Afghan refugees in Pakistan encountering serious harassment and pressure to return to Afghanistan. There has been an ongoing exodus of tens of thousands of refugees as of February 2015. According to the Human Rights Watch, in 2016 there were about 365,000 documented and 200,000 undocumented Afghan refugees repatriated from Pakistan; the mass exodus has been described as voluntary repatriation by the Pakistan government as well as UNHCR, however in a recent report the Human Rights Watch described it as unlawful coercion of Afghan refugees and voluntariness of return has been questioned. According to The World Factbook, in 2015 there were about 1 million registered and between 1.5 and 2.0 million undocumented refugees in Iran. The majority of these refugees were born in Iran during the last three and a half decades, however they are still considered citizens of Afghanistan. In 2016, there was a decrease of spontaneous returns from Iran by 21 per cent and a decrease of deportations by 14 per cent compared to 2015 figures.
Iran's initial response towards Afghan refugees, driven by religious solidarity, was an open door policy where Afghans in Iran had freedom of movement to travel or work in any city in addition to subsidies for gas and health coverage. Starting in the early 2000s when the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs of Iran started registration of all foreigners, including refugee, issued temporary residence cards. In 2000, the Iranian government initiated a joint repatriation program with the UNHCR. Since the 2000s, there have been laws passed in order to encourage the repatriation of Afghan refugees, such as limits on employment, areas of residence, access to services including education. Afghans in Iran After the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001, over 5 million Afghans were repatriated through the UNHCR from Pakistan and Iran to Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans began returning to Afghanistan in recent years. According to the United Nations, by the end of 2016 about 600,000 documented and undocumented Afghans were repatriated from Pakistan.
According to the IOM, the return of undocumented Afghan refugees from Pakistan in 2016 were more than twice the number of 2015, increased by 108 per cent from 2015. The remaining registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan numbers around 1.3 million. In the same year, UNHCR reported. Most of them were born and raised in Pakistan and Iran in the last three and a ha