Table of Contents
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Epub ISBN: 9781407050140
ALPHA FORCE: UNTOUCHABLE
A RED FOX BOOK 978 0 099 48233 8 (from January 2007)
0 099 48233 9
First published in Great Britain by Red Fox, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books
This edition published 2005
5 7 9 10 8 6 4
Copyright © Chris Ryan, 2005
The right of Chris Ryan to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
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A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
Printed and bound in Great Britain by Cox & Wyman Ltd, Reading, Berkshire
Meet the team:
lex – A quiet lad from Northumbria, Alex leads the team in survival skills. His dad is in the SAS and Alex is determined to follow in his footsteps, whatever it takes. He who dares . . .
i – Expert in martial arts and free-climbing, Li can get to grips with most situations . . .
aulo – The laid-back Argentinian is a mechanical genius, and with his medical skills he can patch up injuries as well as motors . . .
ex – An ace hacker, Hex is first rate at code-breaking and can bypass most security systems . . .
mber – Her top navigational skills mean the team are rarely lost. Rarely lost for words either, rich-girl Amber can show some serious attitude . . .
With plenty of hard work and training, together they are
– an elite squad of young people dedicated to combating injustice throughout the world.
, Alpha Force are in the Scottish Highlands helping to run an activity camp for teenagers. Soon they begin to discover that not all is as it seems on the laird’s estate . . .
Don’t miss any of the missions in the Alpha Force series:
Also available by Chris Ryan, published by Century/Arrow, for adult readers:
STAND BY, STAND BY
THE KREMLIN DEVICE
TENTH MAN DOWN
THE HIT LIST
LAND OF FIRE
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
(the story of his experiences in the SAS and Iraq)
CHRIS RYAN’S SAS FITNESS BOOK
CHRIS RYAN’S ULTIMATE SURVIVAL GUIDE
HERE’S WHAT READERS THINK OF THE ALPHA FORCE SERIES:
‘Instantly readable, and I found it hard to put down.
A cool read!’
‘All the Alpha Force series are great.
Keep writin’, Chris, the world of books will be boring without you!’
reader from Leeds
‘A really gripping read that is bound to keep your fingernails short’
Andrew, from New Zealand
‘This book had me hooked from the start: it was really cool . . . it was so amazing
I went and bought the next one in the series!’
Lisa, from Wiltshire
‘To describe the book in one word
– only one word suits the job, GREAT!’
reader from Cornwall
‘From the first page you are drawn into the story and you can’t put it down. I was excited by every word. This book is amazing! Chris Ryan builds suspense better than JK Rowling! This gripping novel keeps you reading for hours and is ideal for 11–16 year old boys and girls alike’
‘I enjoyed this book because the characters were fun and the plot was interesting. The reader also finds out things that the characters do not know, so they act unpredictably creating unexpected twists and turns. I would recommend this book to teens because this is an action book where the heroes are teens themselves. It also contains the added bonus of Chris Ryan’s top SAS tactics’
Thomas, from Middlesex
‘I bought this book for my brother and ended up reading it myself!’
Clare, from Plymouth
‘It keeps you wondering what will happen and has twists and turns all the way through’
Luke, from Lincolnshire
‘I love these books and think they’re really great.
It’s really great how Chris Ryan can write about such adult matters yet still make them young adults’ books; they’re a real inspiration! Rating: 10/10’
Kelly, from Edinburgh
On a cold night in early spring James Fletcher climbed out of his hired Land Rover, checked the battery icon on his digital camera, ran his torch once more over his Ordnance Survey map and set off over the dark hillside.
He picked his way carefully over the boulders, using a ski pole to keep his balance. It was a clear night, the stars twinkling in tiny points. He identified Jupiter to the south, Saturn to the west, the full moon setting. He also identified the circumpolar constellations, Leo and Virgo on the ecliptic, Bootes with its bright star Arcturus, Coma Berenices and Hercules with the M13 globular cluster. James Fletcher’s knowledge of the night sky was much wider than average – he was a professor of astronomy. He’d come to a holiday cottage far up in the north of Scotland to spend his Easter break photographing one of the night sky’s most spectacular phenomena – the Northern Lights, or aurora borealis.
He’d seen them many times before but never failed to delight in them. Streams of ghostly greenish-blue light caused by electrically charged particles streaming off the sun and colliding with gases in the Earth’s ionosphere. And just now there was plenty of solar activity, so tonight’s display should be a good one. He was hoping to get some really special shots for his website.
He became aware of a sound – a vehicle was approaching. A white glow appeared from under the ridge: headlights coming up the steep slope. He smiled. Another astronomy nut, no doubt. Well, that was nice – he’d have company.
The headlights bounced up over the ridge. They were closer together than a car’s – probably one of those chunky quad bikes he had seen people travelling around on.
a quad bike. Over the noise of the engine he heard shouts. Two riders.
James waved. He thought they’d cut the engine and come and talk to him. They didn’t. The headlights remained on, the engine idling. He couldn’t see the riders because they were in shadow. But he heard them talking. One of them said, ‘He’s got a camera.’
It seemed a little unfriendly, but James was used to dealing with quirky scientists. Many of his colleagues behaved oddly when confronted with strangers. James held out his hand and walked over to introduce himself.
One of the riders shone a torch straight at him. It fixed on his eyes, flicked down his waterproof jacket and trousers to his boots, then went back up to his face. James put his hand up to shield his eyes and blinked through his fingers. ‘Er – do you mind, you’re dazzling me.’
A voice came out of the shadows. ‘He’s on his own.’
Something was wrong. They thought he shouldn’t be there. ‘Er, I’m sorry,’ said James. ‘I didn’t think this was private property.’
‘He’s got a camera,’ another voice repeated.
James heard someone step off the bike and approach him. But he couldn’t see him, so he never saw the gun.
His last moments were a deafening noise, a blow like a sledgehammer – and a torch still shining in his eyes.
The man walked up close to the body and looked down at him. A sawn-off shotgun smoked in the crook of his arm. Birds and night animals screeched and hooted as the echo of the shot died down, but it wasn’t an unusual thing to hear in these hills. He broke the breech of the shotgun and flicked the spent cartridge onto the grass. That wasn’t an unusual thing to find in these parts either. A smell of cordite and gunpowder rose into the air, mingling with the smell of charred flesh.
‘Is he dead?’ asked his companion, still on the bike.
The man ran his torch over the body. James Fletcher’s throat and chin were a hole filling with dark blood.
The man on the quad lit a cigarette. ‘Get that camera.’
The gunman peered closer at James Fletcher’s ruined chest. Little pieces of glass and twisted metal twinkled in the dark, wet mess of flesh. The camera was smashed. ‘It’s not going to tell any tales,’ said the man. ‘What are we going to do with him?’