Anthony Horowitz is the author of the Alex Rider teen spy series as well as TV shows such as Midsomer Murders and Foyle’s War. His latest book, The Word Is Murder, is out now.

Prisoners of the Sun

by Hergé

Stuck in a depressing boarding school, surrounded by abuse of one kind or another, I found my escape through this book’s colourful pages.

At ten I wasn’t a strong reader, yet Tintin took me somewhere extraordinary, travelling through secret passages to mysterious empires and meeting endless exotic characters. It taught me how powerful a well-told story could be—and it was then that I decided to be a writer.

 

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens 

Strangely I read this while staying at the British embassy in Istanbul—it was a gloomy, Gothic building and turned out to be the perfect place for reading Great Expectations. I’d had to read Hard Times at school and that had rather put me off Dickens, as I fear it does many children.

This entirely different novel changed my opinion; it took me through a huge range of emotions, from the terror of Pip and Magwitch’s first meeting to the desperately sad ending. The vividness of the writing fired my imagination and has profoundly affected my work.

 

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

by William L Shirer

Shirer’s study of how nationalism can be used for evil is presented as a straightforward, factual account of Hitler’s rise to power—and how it all went wrong.

He shows in brilliant detail how an idea can grab a nation before people even notice they’re being led down a terrible path. With the extreme beliefs around us today, Shirer’s account seems more relevant than ever.

 

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