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Point Blanc is the second book in the Alex Rider series, written by British author Anthony Horowitz. The book was released in the United Kingdom on September 3, 2001 and in North America on April 15, 2002, under the alternate title Point Blank.

In 2007, it was adapted into a graphic novel, written by Antony Johnston, and illustrated by Kanako Damerum and Yuzuru Takasaki.

200px-Pointblanc

PlotEdit

After getting into trouble with a drug dealer and the police, Alex Rider is assigned by MI6 to investigate the deaths of billionaires, Michael J. Roscoe in New York and General Viktor Ivanov on the Black Sea. Each of them had a son attending Point Blanc, an academy in the French Alps run by a South African scientist, Dr. Hugo Grief, and both died under mysterious circumstances. This may seem like a coincidence, but Alan Blunt is suspicious, and sends Alex to investigate. Alex's cover is that of the son of a supermarket magnate, Sir David Friend. After spending a week as a member of Friend's family, Grief's assistant Mrs. Stellenbosch, arrives to take him to the academy. Alex is taken to a hotel in Paris on the way to Point Blanc, where his dinner drink is drugged. His bed is then transported where Mrs. Stellenbosch strips Alex and photographs his entire body. After the examination, Alex's clothes are put back on and he is returned to his hotel room, without him ever realising what had happened.

Upon arriving at Point Blanc, Alex meets a student who goes by the name of James Sprintz. James thinks something is wrong with the academy because the other boys were rebellious before and then suddenly became complacent. One day, James is taken and replaced with a look-alike who is no longer rebellious. The following night, Alex examines the forbidden third floor to find replicas of the boys' rooms upstairs, with TV screens monitoring the boys' behaviour downstairs. Following later investigations, Alex finds the real boys locked in a basement jail. Alex sees James and tells him the truth, his identity and the reason why he was sent to Point Blanc. Mrs. Stellenbosch, who is a teacher at Point Blanc, is told of this after someone overhears it via a bug planted in the cell and knocks Alex unconscious, captures him and turns him over to Dr. Grief, who then reveals his plan to take over the world, named "Project Gemini".

In the 1980s, Grief cloned sixteen copies of himself in his home country of South Africa (where he greatly supported the apartheid regime). While the real boys are at Point Blanc, a plastic surgeon named Baxter surgically alters Grief's 14-year-old clones to resemble them. Soon, the clone and the real boy are swapped. The replica rooms are used by the clones to imitate the boys' behaviour so the parents will not notice that they have been swapped. When the parents die and pass on their inheritance, Dr. Grief will take the assets from the clones. Eventually, he will be the most powerful man in the world, and reinstate apartheid globally.

Grief imprisons Alex, planning to dissect him alive the next day for a biology class. Alex uses his exploding ear-stud that was given to him by MI6's gadget genius Smithers to escape his cage. He improvises a snowboard, using an ironing-board to escape, and Grief sends his guards on snowmobiles with machine guns to take him down. He almost makes it to the bottom of the mountain but a machine gunner put there by Grief as a last resort is waiting for him. Just as the man is about to fire, a train gets in the way. Alex jumps on top of it but he loses his balance, falls and passes out.

Alex is taken to a hospital in Grenoble, where a visiting Mrs Stellenbosch is told that Alex has died. However, it is revealed that Alex is alive, and MI6 then sends him out again with a team of SAS soldiers (among them is Wolf, an SAS soldier introduced in Stormbreaker) to help liberate the school. As Dr. Grief attempts to escape, Alex kills him with a snowmobile by driving it up a ramp and crashing it into Grief's helicopter, jumping off at the last second. In the final chapter of the novel, Alex goes to his school to find a clone that resembles him, who avoided capture and escaped. The clone and Alex fight, starting a fire in the science building, ending with one of them falling to his death. It is left ambiguous as to whether the clone or Alex survived, though at the beginning of Skeleton Key it is revealed that both survived, and the clone was sent to a top secret prison in Gibraltar.

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