Fiction Reviews

The X Files Origins: Agent of Chaos

(2017) Kami Garcia, Atom, £9.99, pbk, 312pp, ISBN978-0-349-00296-5


This might be the first, or the second, or perhaps actually the joint equal first X Files Origins novel for a juvenile readership, since it was published on the same day, as the companion 'The X Files Origins' novel Devilís Advocate written by Jonathan Mayberry which recounts the adventures of a young Dana Scully, but in this one - Agent of Chaos Ė we witness an adventures involving a young Fox Mulder.

'Iím a believer,' the Monkees sang, and so is Fox Mulder but perhaps not always so, but when we join him in Agent of Chaos, one thing is clear, that he is frustrated. It is five years since his sister, Samantha, disappeared and not much has been happening in the investigation into how or why she vanished. Mulder blames himself for her disappearance and not finding out what happened. Then he is given a fresh start as he is moved away from Marthaís Vineyard, and all the baggage he carries around with him there, to Washington. He has hardly arrived before a boy turns up dead and another child is abducted. Could this be related to the disappearance of Samantha? He has to find out, but heís a long way from wearing that dark suit, that dark coat and carrying a badge that opens doors and gets people to talk, as well as carrying a gun and a torch for investigating dark spaces. He is just a nosy kid, and he has already got a thing about authority. Fortunately, he has help in the form of Gimble, his best friend, and his friendís father, the Major, a retired soldier who is investigating the death of his wife and thinks he might find the answer in the coded pages of a Michael Moorcock book, or in whatever conspiracy theory that is currently ticking his boxes. More help and sexual tension comes in the form of Phoebe, who is super smart and can wrap the boys around her little finger, and is a sort of stand-in for Dana Scully, but can the three of them find the missing girl before she turns up dead too?

So all in all we have some creepiness, some teen sleuthing, a whole lot of 1970s references, and conspiracies by the bucketful, oh, and some familiar faces lurking in the background just to keep the FBI connection ticking along nicely Ė no spoilers here, and while tales of the young Mulder are never going to be that much of a revelation or putting our teen hero in that much jeopardy, considering we know what is going to happen to the older Mulder in years ahead, but Agent of Chaos is an entertaining enough read for teenagers.

Ian Hunter

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