Seventeen-year old British computer hacker Carl Hobbes is shocked when American agents pick him up on his way home from school and take him into custody. Sure, he hacked his way into Fort Knox – which is supposed to be impenetrable – but it was just for fun, to see if he could do it. No one got hurt from his prank, right? But the American government doesn’t think it was funny at all, especially as gold bars from Fort Knox start ending up in the hands of terrorists all over the world.
At the police station, Carl’s assigned lawyer tells him about his offer:
“It’s from the American authorities,” she began, as if this made it something I couldn’t refuse. I’m not sure what I expected to hear. When Ms. Greene finished, I asked her to repeat it so I could be sure I hadn’t missed some kind of catch.
According to her, I had actually been invited by the Americans to fly out and answer some friendly questions. This wasn’t an order, she stressed. It was a request for me to come voluntarily. Once they understood exactly how I had managed to hack into such a high-security financial institution, they would put me on a plane home again. I wouldn’t be arrested or earn any criminal conviction. Not a caution or even a fine. As part of this package, my father would be forbidden to talk to the press, as would I on my return. In fact, they proposed that the whole thing would be kept completely off the record.
It sounds like a good idea, but Carl soon realizes he’s gotten into more than he bargained for, as he is transported secretly to a military prison deep in the Arctic among world-famous terrorists and his questioning takes some surprising turns.
This is an action-packed thriller, with plenty of unexpected plot twists to keep you glued to the page. I grew to like Carl and couldn’t wait to find out what would happen to him. My son and I are both looking forward to the upcoming sequel, Goldstrike.
307 pages, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster)