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Agent 21: Book 1 [Paperback]

Chris Ryan
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
Price: 1.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

6 Jan 2011 Agent 21 (Book 1)

Some authors just write about it. Chris Ryan has been there, done it, and lived to tell the tale. Agent 21 is the first in the action-packed adventure series by the real-life SAS hero.

When Zak Darke's parents die in an unexplained mass murder he's left alone in the world. That is until he's sought out by a mysterious man: 'I work for a government agency,' the man tells him. 'You don't need to know which one. Not yet. All you need to know is that we've had our eye on you. There's a possibility you could help us in certain . . . operational situations.'

Zak becomes Agent 21. What happened to the 20 agents before him he'll never know. What he does know is that his life is about to change for ever . . .

Frequently Bought Together

Agent 21: Book 1 + Agent 21: Reloaded: Book 2 + Agent 21: Codebreaker: Book 3
Price For All Three: 12.47

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Red Fox (6 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849410070
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849410076
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chris Ryan was born near Newcastle in 1961. He joined the SAS in 1984. During his ten years there he was involved in overt and covert operations and was also sniper team commander of the anti-terrorist team.

During the Gulf War, Chris Ryan was the only member of an eight-man unit to escape from Iraq, where three colleagues were killed and four captured. It was the longest escape and evasion in the history of the SAS. For this he was awarded the Military Medal.

For his last two years he was selecting and training potential recruits for the SAS. He wrote about his experiences in the bestseller The One That Got Away, which was adapted for screen, and since then has written three other works of non-fiction, fourteen bestselling novels and a series of childrens' books.

His latest series of novels - the Extreme books take you even further into the heart of the mission with more extreme action, more extreme language and more extreme pace. Like Call of Duty or Medal of Honor, you'll feel part of the team.

He lectures in business motivation and security, and is a consultant for a security organisation. You can find out more information on Facebook at You can also follow Chris on Twitter @exSASChrisRyan

Product Description


"Boys are less likely than girls to read for fun so it is even more important their books are gripping from the off. This one certainly is" (Natasha Harding The Sun)

"SAS hero Chris Ryan sets a cracking pace for this story of school boy Zak Darke's recruitment by a government agency" (Love Reading)

"Ryan draws on the same knowledge which made his series of SAS-themed books such a success and is set to follow up his previous popularity among both adult and younger readers" (Sheffield Star)

"The ensuing plot is well paced and exciting enough to keep even seasoned fans of the genre interested . . . Agent 21 shows a lot of promise" (

"This one hits the ground running and does not let up until the end, and I cannot imagine even the pickiest teen reader finding anything uncool about a story concerning such a topical - and dangerous - issue" (

Book Description

Some authors just write about it. Chris Ryan has been there, done it and lived to tell the tale. Agent 21 is the first in the action-packed adventure series by our real-life SAS hero.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Teenage boy becomes secret spy 13 Mar 2011
I'm a big fan of the Alex Rider books by Anthony Horowitz and the Young Bond books by Charlie Higson, so when I saw this and read the blurb, I picked it up immediately because it sounded like a book in the same vein. I've never read anything by Chris Ryan before but I know that he's written mainly adult novels and has very recently branched out into YA. I read `Agent 21' in one evening. It's not a particularly long book but it was so thrilling that I couldn't put it down.

The formula is pretty similar to other books in this genre, however unlike some series which do start to get a little far-fetched (fast cars and multiple gadgets), the story was realistic enough to believe that it could actually happen. Zac Darke is recruited by a shadowy government organisation after the death and suspected murder of his parents. He's trained to become a teenage spy and then sent on a mission to infiltrate and capture a notorious drug lord in Mexico. Along the way he has to use all the skills he's been taught and survive on his wits and guile alone to avoid detection.

I loved this book! It was fast-paced and exciting and a thrill-ride from start to finish. The storyline is pretty simple but well executed. Chris Ryan has plenty of experience in learning how to survive from his time in the SAS and therefore situations felt authentic and believable. I really liked Zac who makes a likeable hero. He's intelligent and brave and clever and I enjoyed following his progression from normal teenager to fully-fledged spy. He has to make difficult choices and learn when everything isn't as black and white as it might first appear to be.

There are plenty of books about boy spys on the market but this one really stood out for me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC 14 April 2012
This book is the story of Zak Darke, a teenage boy who is orphaned my his parents' mysterious deaths and after living in unhappiness for a few months, is approached by a secret agency, so he hence becomes agent 21. He is then trained on an island off the Scottish coast before being sent on his first mission: to bring down drug lord Cesar Matinez.

I am a 14 year old girl who has never read one of Chris Ryan's books before (they don't really appeal to me) and thought that after quite a slow start, this book is honestly one of the BEST books I have ever read. DO NOT underestimate this book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Secret Agent Boy 30 Jan 2011
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
As a huge reader, I've heard of Chris Ryan's work before both military as well as civilian however I've not really had the chance to read his work, as to be honest, I' m not a huge fan of modern military exploits. As such it was with great delight when Random House let me loose with this book, a brand new young adult title set in a mysterious world of espionage.

It's definitely a book that will appeal to young male readers as it has some great adventure, it has a hero with morals and above all else it has a fast moving plot that doesn't ease up from the throttle from start to finish. Add to this some great dialogue, a chance to explore a country that we in the UK know very little about alongside the chance to see the seedier side to wealth that has been purchased through pain and suffering. All in, its pretty well rounded and whilst Darke in name as well as nature, it's a title that will hopefully spawn a whole successive series as there's so much more to be explored and hopefully a prequel with Gabriella as the lead character.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kids stuff 13 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Given Ryan's previous books I was expecting another fast flowing and intense storyline. Unfortunately this was more of a teenage story of schoolboy adventure. Highly implausable storyline for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different from Chris's Norm... But good!! 9 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've probably read most of Chris Ryan's books, and I have to say when I started reading this I was more than a little worried.
Using a young boy as the main character seemed to me like a bad idea.
I was totally wrong however, I enjoyed this probably more than any of is others.
Great read and I shall be straight onto the next.
In short very surprised to have liked this!
Well worth the money!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing read 3 April 2012
By Penins
Format:Kindle Edition
this was a gr8 fun and fast paced ,but not too fast, book. i realy enjoyed it as it was action packed and did not drag on for too long! i was realy surprised to discover that agent 21 is only 13 years old which makes it another alex rider kind of book ALTHOUGH it is still DIFFERENT in all the important ways . it is kept unique as their is no mr smithers and the hero is totaly willing and is not blackmailed which was , as far as im concerened, a short-coming in the alex rider series. if u like alex rider u will love this even more as chris ryan injects his genious into this book!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book from Chris Ryan 24 Feb 2011
By Jaytee
Format:Kindle Edition
I've read a lot of Chris Ryan's books and I wasn't sure what to expect with this one. I was pleasantly surprised however what a good read it was. The characters were in-depth enough for the plot and the length of the story and there is plenty of depth with the main character 'Zak'. Despite what other reviews say who give it a bad rating, I chose to ignore them and find out for myself what this book was like. Chris Ryan doesn't usually disappoint, so I was very happy when I found myself engrossed in this book wanting to read more and more as the story continued.. I really look forward to the next book in this series. Well done Chris!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Shotal tit
Where on the cover does this book indicate it is for the younger reader? Answer...nowhere.
So is it? Well it reads that way. The minimilast writing style is woeful. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Steveatki
3.0 out of 5 stars Average
in terms of chris ryan books it's very basic and lacks the ability to draw you completely in. its written more for young teenagers . Read more
Published 2 months ago by Joe salter
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing!!
I would recommend this to everyone!!! It's amazing from page 1 to the end .. Outstanding piece of work . Thanks chris!! .. Now to buy book 2 :)
Published 3 months ago by Harry gold...
3.0 out of 5 stars it ok
Great value for money fast delivery
but not for me I like Chris Ryan's more gritty stuff
ok for teens
Published 5 months ago by colin jeary
4.0 out of 5 stars spy story
good story but aimed at a younger age group maybe. However it gives insights into how spies work and the risks they take.
Published 6 months ago by mike walsh
5.0 out of 5 stars Book
A great book for a great price. My nephew loves Chris Ryan and this was well worth the money I paid
Published 6 months ago by Charlie001
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent adventure
My daughter has read all of this series and raves about them!! She has re read them and hopes to buy the set. She says 10/10!!! This copy was bought for a friend's son.
Published 6 months ago by Tiffin Scrace
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal
This book had me locked in from the first page! I was finding myself wondering about what was going to happen next even when I wasn't reading it! Read more
Published 9 months ago by Paul Kimber
4.0 out of 5 stars great story for all the family
Took this for my son to read on holiday and although he became quite engrossed initially, other activities then occupied his time. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Parkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars a great read
Sitting on the edge of my seat. What a good book. I hope agent 21 has a lot more adventures to go
Published 10 months ago by susie osbore
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