The Agent 21 series of books is a series of young adult fiction books written by the British action thriller writer Christopher Ryan, who was once a member of the SAS, before he turned his hand to writing fiction. The Agent 21 series centres around an orphan by the name of Zak Darke, whose parents were killed in an unsolved mass murder. However, when Zak is approached by a mysterious man who claims to work for an unnamed government agency, his world is changed, when he becomes Agent 21, employed by this mysterious government agency for reasons that are, at first, unknown to him. However, as the series progresses, things start to become clearer for our hero. The Agent 21 series is Chris Ryan’s third series set for young adults, after the Alpha Force and Code Red series of books. Incidentally, Chris Ryan is merely a penname of a writer whose birth name is Colin Armstrong; Ryan’s other pseudonym is Molly Jackson. Ryan, who is a quinquagenarian, was born in 1961 and his birthplace is Newcastle upon in England in the UK. Ryan’s niche is especially mystery and thriller, and juvenile literature series.
Order of Agent 21 Series
The first book in the Agent 21 series is imaginatively titled Agent 21. This book sets the scene for the series, as we get to meet our hero, Zak Darke, and it’s not long before the scene is set with the unexplained death of his parents. Zak is then forced to live with his aunt and uncle, and for all three of them, it’s not a happy time. Zak’s aunt and uncle don’t want him living with them, and he, in turn, just doesn’t want to live with them. It’s fair to say that Zak’s life is a misery. However, things change when he is approached by a mysterious man who offers him the chance to become Agent 21 and work for a mysterious government agency. Zak, of course, accepts the offer, and is trained up to become the latest teenage spy. His first real mission is to travel to Mexico to try and take down a notorious drug lord. Chris Ryan stops himself from going too over-the-top with the spy business, and instead tries to keep the book grounded in reality enough for the reader to think that this kind of thing just might happen in the real world, and he uses a lot of the techniques and skills her learned in the SAS to make it even more believable.
Reloaded is the second book in the Agent 21 series, which was published in 2012. That was then followed by Codebreaker in 2013, and in the same year, the fourth book in the Agent 21 series, The Wire was published, although it is more a short story or novella, and could be considered book 3.5 in the series.
In 2014, the fifth book in the Agent 21 series was published. The title of the book is Deadfall, and we see Zak sent on a mission which, at first seems easy enogh – surveillance in South Africa. What could go wrong? Well, when an old enemy of Zak’s shows up along with a team of child soldiers, what was supposed to be a routine operation suddenly becomes Zak Darke’s toughest mission to date. Zak ends up trapped in the deepest, darkest jungle in the country, and he’ll have to dig deep into all his training just to make it out of this operation alive.
Under Cover, the six book in the series, was published in 2015, and in 2016, the seventh book in the series, Endgame, was published in the globally successful Agent 21 series of books.
Writing books aside, Chris Ryan has other occupations including working as a TV presenter and doubling up as a security consultant. Did you know that Ryan previously served as a sergeant in the Special Air Service and has a military medal? Ryan has since relocated to Florida.
Chris Ryan started writing books hard on the heels of being discharged from the Special Air Service. Ryan has authored many series of books, standalone books, novels, and non-fiction work. Agent 21 series is among Ryan’s most notable work. Like Ryan’s other books, Agent 21 series is a fictitious account of his exploits during his military service.
Basically, Agent 21 series comprises of six major works. There are six editions of the first book in Agent 21 series. The first edition of that book was initially published in October 2010, titled Agent 21; and the book is shelved under the fiction, spy fiction, young adult, action, thriller, adventure, mystery, juvenile literature (specifically middle grade), and crime genres.
Zak Darke is the featured main character in the 2010 book named Agent 21. Meet protagonist Zak Darke. Darke, who is aged thirteen, is an orphaned child following the deaths of his parents in a disastrous food poisoning incident in Nigeria. Consequently, the intelligent and courageous Darke moves in with his London-based uncle wherein the boy’s life is ordinary.
The turning point in Chris Ryan’s book, Agent 21, is when Zak Darke chances upon a stranger who commends on his suitability as an employee of a certain secretive governmental organization. Darke undergoes a months-long training before being sent undercover as a multilingual spy and given the code name Agent 21. Darke is mandated to investigate and help nab a Mexican drug lord. Darke realizes that he is up against a merciless and menacing hard target; the story segues into a life-threatening first-time mission in this award-nominated book.
Agent 21 Awards
In 2012, scribbler Chris Ryan was nominated for the Grampian Children’s Book Award, thanks to his book named Agent 21.
Agent 21 Books Into Movies and TV Shows
Chris Ryan’s 2007 book entitled Strike Back, which is the first one in the Strike Back trilogy, has since been made into a similarly named television series. The show has five seasons and 46 episodes, and initially aired in 2010. The starring actors are Richard Armitage, Philip Winchester, and Sullivan Stapleton who play the roles of protagonist John Porter in various sections of the show.
Chris Ryan’s 1995 book titled The One That Got Away was made into a 1996 TV movie. Paul Grenngrass wrote the script. The starring actor is Paul McGrann, who appears as Corporal Chris Ryan.
Best Agent 21 Books
The following are the three best books in the Agent 21 series.
Agent 21: The first one is the aforementioned book named Agent 21.
Agent 21: Reloaded: This is the second book in the Agent 21 series and was initially published in 2012. Zak Darke is mandated to travel to a West African seaport disguised as an aid volunteer, discreetly board a certain rogue ship, and collect intelligence before destroying the vessel.
Codebreaker: The third book in Agent 21 series was originally published in 2013. London is faced with terror threats, prompting the authorities to summon Zak Darke and task him with using clues to predict where and when the next terror attack will occur.
Other Book Series You May Like
Readers who liked Agent 21 series authored by Chris Ryan also liked the following series of books. The first is called “Drop Zone” series, a duology penned by Andy McNab. It features protagonist Ethan Blake, a world-weary teenager who joins a team that, on face value comprises of skydivers but is actually an elite military unit. The second is titled “Agent Six of Hearts” series, a tetralogy authored by Jack Heath. It features a teenage superhuman called Agent Six of Hearts. The third is named Bodyguard series, a quintet authored by Chris Bradford. It features protagonist Connor Reeves, a highly-trained bodyguard aged fourteen who is mandated to guard an unsuspecting president’s daughter.
Agent 21 FAQs
Q: Who writes the Agent 21 series of books?
A: The Agent 21 series of books is written by the British author Chris Ryan.
Q: What is the first book in the Agent 21 series of books?
A: The first book in Chris Ryan’s Agent 21 series is titled Agent 21, which was published in 2011.