CHERUB: Shadow Wave - Robert Muchamore

CHERUB: Shadow Wave - Robert Muchamore


Violent altercations at the biker music festival known as the Rebel Tea Party in August 2008 led to a brutal gang war between the Brigands Motorcycle Club and their bitter rivals the Vengeful Bastards. The stabbings, shootings and property destruction climaxed in October when Brigands national president Ralph ‘the Führer’ Donnington ordered a series of successful arson attacks on Vengeful Bastard clubhouses.

But the Brigands’ triumph was short-lived. A random police stop on a suspicious vehicle unearthed homemade incendiaries intended for another Brigands attack. Two members of South Devon Brigands were arrested and a search of their London hotel room led to the seizure of firearms, sixty thousand pounds in cash and a laptop containing incriminating e-mails. The messages mentioned the arson attacks on clubhouses and contained financial records relating to South Devon Brigands’ illegal weapons-smuggling operation.

Eight of the nineteen full members of South Devon Brigands were arrested and charged. Further searches led to more evidence of criminal activity and the arrest of twenty additional bikers, from other Brigands chapters and associate gangs.

Despite this success the Führer remains in control of the Brigands. But with many close associates in jail he can no longer separate himself from his gang’s day-to-day criminal activities. After years of evading imprisonment the Führer is more vulnerable than ever before.

Excerpt from an internal police memo written by Chief Inspector Ross Johnson,

head of the National Police Biker Task Force (NPBTF) January 2009.


James Adams cupped his hands under a mixer tap, splashed tepid water up

towards his face and looked at his reflection in a mirrored bathroom cabinet. He’d let his hair grow shaggy and had straw-coloured bristles across his face. His acne was behaving itself, except for the red volcano near his Adam’s apple.

James was going for the biker look, wearing wrecked Nikes, oil-stained jeans and a sleeveless AC/DC T-shirt. The effect was completed by an oversized chrome belt buckle shaped like a skull. He flexed his thick arms and felt good about the way he looked: muscular shoulders, big biceps and thick tufts of hair in his pits. A recent growth spurt would be his last and had left him dead on six feet tall.

‘Hey there beautiful,’ James told himself. Then he tried to look menacing. He shot a fist towards the mirror. ‘What are you staring at?’ he shouted. ‘You wanna start something? See where it gets you, you Tottenham-supporting nerd. Bang!’

James laughed as the imaginary Tottenham fan crumpled to the ground, but there

was no one else in the house to hear. He’d established his identity as James Raven the previous summer while living here with a mission controller and two younger agents, but he was living alone on this second phase of the mission. The back story was that he’d fought with his parents, quit studying A-levels and absconded to his family’s Devon holiday home to pursue a career as a full-time rebel.

James grabbed a black leather jacket and slid it up his arms as he bolted

downstairs. He then took his keys and mobile from a crystal bowl by the front door. Hash sixty-nine took him into the handset’s hidden phonebook where he tapped the number for his mission controller, John Jones.

‘No sign of the Führer yet, boss,’ James told him. ‘Gonna be at least fifteen

minutes late.’

John’s placid voice came back down the phone. ‘When was the Führer ever on


‘Is everything at your end set?’ James asked. ‘Kerry OK?’

‘Tickety-boo,’ John agreed. ‘Kerry knows her stuff.’

‘We can’t let the Führer off the hook,’ James said seriously. ‘I’ve been on his arse for more than ten months.’

‘Any butterflies?’ John asked.

‘Sweaty palms, stomach churning,’ James admitted. ‘I’ve done enough missions

now, but there’s always a few tense moments.’

John laughed. ‘Expect it’ll be your last time if this goes down right.’

‘Better go, they’ll be here soon,’ James said, feeling stunned as he dropped the Samsung into his jeans.

Your last time.

The three words made James feel like someone had smashed a brick around his

head. He thought about his missions: Help Earth, KMG, Arizona Max, Leon Tarasov, the Survivors, the AFA, Denis Obidin, Mad Dogs, Street Action Group. Was the Führer his last target? Was today the final act of his CHERUB career?

The idea sent a sad ache through James, and remembering what he’d seen in the

mirror upstairs made him sadder still. CHERUB agents were kids. They were effective because they were small and innocent and adults didn’t suspect them. But James was no child. He was seventeen years old. He had the kind of imposing physique