Alias:Recruited and A Secret Life, by Lynn Mason

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“Before she was CIA, before she was SD-6…and largely, before she was interesting.”

To tide you over the summer until the new series starts, as well as an ‘official companion’, Random House has published two novels, which fill in the back story before the show. Recruited tells of how Sydney Bristow was brought into SD-6, while A Secret Life details her first overseas mission, infiltrating a Paris fashion house being used as a cover for gun-running.

Neither are exactly great literature; they seem to be aimed at early teen readers (not that you’d know from the covers), and of necessity, the plot-lines are linear and straightforward, this being before Sydney realised SD-6 were evil, her father’s involvement, etc. There’s disturbingly little action, and a significant quantity of Mills & Boon-esque romantic prose. Bizarrely, it’s mainly over Noah Hicks: viewers of the show know how well that turned out. Save Francie, few other regulars make appearances – Sloane and someone who might be Dixon get cameos, and that’s it.

Recruited is the stronger, rating half a grade higher; the mechanism of the recruitment is well-handled, and we initially see a very different Syd from the uber-confident one of the TV series. A Secret Life hardly contains enough meat for one episode, the prose frequently toppling into drool, especially when it talks about Hicks. However, as light summer reading, these are harmless stuff, and as an afternoon would likely suffice, they won’t waste too much of your time.

By: Lynn Mason
Publisher: Random House

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