Shadow Wave is all about James and his friends' last few weeks as agents of CHERUB as James has one last mission with the Brigands.
After a tsunami causes massive devastation to a tropical island, its governor sends in the bulldozers to knock down villages, replacing them with luxury hotels. Guarding the corrupt governor’s family isn’t James Adams’ idea of the perfect mission, especially as it’s going to be his last as a CHERUB agent. And then retired colleague Kyle Blueman comes up with an unofficial and highly dangerous plan of his own. James must choose between loyalty to CHERUB, and loyalty to his oldest friend.
- The book's narrative is split into four parts: the first in May 2009, the second between December 2004 and March 2005, the third back in May 2009 and the last in December 2009
After the Brigands' weapons dealing activities are uncovered, many members of the South Devon Brigands are arrested, forcing the Fuhrer to take a more proactive role in the gang’s activities. James, who has returned to South Devon to continue his mission from the previous book, comes up with the idea of setting up a sting operation. During a weapons deal between the Brigands and two Chinese gangsters, who have enlisted Kerry as a translator, armed police arrive to bust the Brigands. Rhino is killed in a shootout, while Kerry brutally subjugates Dirty Dave. The Fuhrer forces James to escape from the restaurant where the deal occurred by dropping down onto a cliff face, but when he tries to follow the Fuhrer gets a leg trapped between two rocks, causing a gruesome compound fracture in his thigh. With the Brigands destroyed, James returns to campus.
Back on campus, mission controller Chloe Blake gets married to carer Isaac Cole. Many ex-cherubs return to celebrate, including Kyle, Amy, John Collins, Dana and Mr Large. At the after-party, James mentions to Kyle that he, Lauren and Kevin have an upcoming mission to pose as the children of David Secombe, a government agent acting on behalf of the Britsh government to sign a multi-billion pound weapons deal with Malaysian defense minister Tan Abdullah. Kyle is surprised, and reveals that he has “history” with Abdullah.
December 2004-March 2005
Kyle travels to Malaysia to replace George Pike for the last few days of basic training after the instructor suffers a burst appendix. In Malaysia he meets a local, Aizat Rakyat, who asks Kyle to be a pen-pal. However, soon after Kyle’s arrival the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami strikes the Indonesian coast, forcing Kyle, Large and the trainees to take refuge in their hotel. The island is untouched by the tsunami but is later hit by a “shadow wave”, a wave created when the tsunami rebounded off the coast of Thailand. The cherubs then help rescue several of Aizat’s fellow villagers trapped in their huts when the wave struck. However, soon afterwards Malaysian police working for Abdullah, who is then the island’s governor and wants the villagers’ land, arrive and evict the villagers. Aizat attacks the police chief and is brutally beaten by the police, while Large orders the cherubs to return to the hotel.
A month later, Aizat contacts Kyle to ask for help in resisting Abdullah’s activities. Kyle does some investigating and discovers a charity, Guilt Trips, which campaigns on behalf of people affected by global tourism. Kyle contacts Helena Bayliss, a journalist who campaigns for Guilt Trips. Helena decides to travel to Malaysia to help Aizat and his fellow activists under the pretense of writing an article on a hotel Abdullah has built. Speaking to Aizat, Helena learns that he and the activists plan to disrupt the hotel’s opening ceremony. The hotel has sent a man to follow Helena though, and the next morning the hotel’s director confronts her to warn her against mentioning the villagers in her article. Undeterred, Helena agrees to help the activists sneak into the hotel. They succeed in disrupting the opening ceremony but are captured by police. Aizat is tortured by police, only to be released after Abdullah realises that the world’s media is paying attention to the situation. Helena, meanwhile, is deported and given a lifetime ban from Malaysia.
Return to May 2009
James arranges his plans for university with Meryl. It is revealed that James has learned of his father’s existence, but decides to defer meeting him for the time being. James then tries to convince mission controller Ewart Asker to cancel CHERUB’s role in the arms deal, with no success. James also speaks to Lauren to try and get her to withdraw from the mission, but Lauren declines.
James decides to help Kyle expose Abdullah’s activities; after Bruce catches wind of their scheme, he tags along too. The trio travel to London to meet up with Helena, who now runs Guilt Trips’ global operations, and journalist Hugh Verhoeven. Tipped off by a tracking device James had planted on Lauren’s phone, Lauren, Kevin and Abdullah’s wife and children are accosted by protestors outside Elbridge’s. The group flee to their hotel, where Lauren bumps into Kyle, posing as a flower arranger leaving a display sent by the French embassy.
Dion Frei, a former arms salesman assisting Guilt Trips, offers an island owned by France to Abdullah. His interest piqued, Abdullah meets with Frei and agrees to sign a deal with France instead; during the meeting, he also criticises the Malaysian Prime Minister. Frei records the meeting on a hidden camera and Kyle tries to escapes with the memory card. He is caught by police, but not before he manages to give the card to Lauren. After the police put the hotel into lockdown, Kevin climbs onto the roof and into a nearby office building before giving the card to James.
With his corruption exposed and prison looming, Abdullah commits suicide. James and Bruce return to campus and are confronted by Zara Asker. Zara reveals that she is aware of the two’s role in exposing Abdullah, but admits that if James and Bruce were linked to the scandal it would result in their expulsion, as well as the expulsion of Lauren and Kevin, and necessitate Zara and Ewart’s resignations. All three agree that it is in their interests to conceal James and Bruce’s roles.
James returns from his first semester at Stanford University in California, and is greeted by Kerry at Heathrow. After absconding to a motel to have sex, the two meet up with Lauren. Lauren reveals that Ron will soon be eligible for parole and asked Lauren for a character reference; she agreed, on condition that he leave her alone when he is released. The conversation turns to James’ dad, whom James decided to make contact with after discovering that one of his university textbooks was written by him. The three then go and visit Gwen Choke’s grave. Kerry tells James and Lauren that she would be proud of them.
The Fuhrer is sentenced to 16 years for weapons smuggling and resisting arrest, while Dirty Dave receives an 11 year sentence. Furthermore, the ex-wife of a Brigand agrees to testify that she helped the Fuhrer clean up the aftermath of the Scott family murder; the trial is scheduled to begin in 2011, with Dante as the star witness. However, despite being in prison the Fuhrer apparently manages to take revenge on Kam and Alison Lee, the owners of the restaurant where the weapons deal took place – the restaurant burns down in November 2009, presumably an arson attack ordered by the Fuhrer. The war between the Brigands and the Vengeful Bastards continues to rage, although the Brigands weapon smuggling operations have now apparently ceased.
After Aizat’s grandmother dies, his younger sister Wati is taken in by former neighbours living on the Malaysian mainland. Aizat is released from prison in October 2009 and, having completed high school during his incarceration, attends university in Northern Malaysia with the help of a grant from Guilt Trips. However, his former village is converted into a resort and a judge rejects the former villagers’ claims for compensation as they held no legal entitlement to the land.
Helena, who had been impregnated by Aizat prior to his arrest and gave birth to his son, Aizat Jr., continues to work for an ever-expanding Guilt Trips and has also carved out a successful career as a journalist and pundit. She gets her ban from Malaysia overturned in 2010 and plans to visit Aizat in 2011.
- Hugh Verhoeven’s story, while receiving little attention in the UK, contributes to the collapse of the Malaysian government a few months later. Verhoeven returns to retirement and begins writing his memoirs.
- Abdullah’s wife June Ling, his two ex-wives and nine of his children enter a protracted legal battle for control of his US $4.4 billion fortune. His two youngest children, TJ and Suzie (who had befriended Lauren and Kevin on their mission), return to live with their biological mother in Malaysia while their oldest brother, despite his father’s corruption, remains a favourite to become Malaysian PM in the future.
- The arms deal proceeds and is signed in April 2010, brokered by government agent David Secombe.
- Kyle is released without charge. He intends to become a barrister after finishing his degree and continues to volunteer for Guilt Trips.
- Meatball, Zara’s pet beagle, fathers several pups with the Askers’ neighbours’ dog. He is banned from the neighbours’ garden but Lauren refuses to have him neutered. Several of his children are adopted by red shirts.
- Dana drops out of art college and begins working in an art gallery owned by her Ugandan boyfriend.
- Holly Welsh is expected to begin basic training in 2012.
- After it is discovered that she maintained a relationship with a boy that she had met on a mission, Bethany Parker is expelled for breaching campus security and lodges with mission controller Maureen Evans. She is occasionally visited by Jake – who is, along with Kevin, regarded as one of CHERUB’s top agents.
- Bruce spends much of his last year with CHERUB on a mission in the US. He plans to take a gap year with Callum and Connor Reilly before studying journalism and photography at university, having been inspired by Verhoeven’s anecdotes. However, his dream is to become an Ultimate Fighting champion.
- Kerry is accepted into Stanford in August 2010, but retains (incorrect) suspicions that James cheated on her in his first year.
- Gabrielle O’Brien begins studying medicine at the University of Sussex with the aim of becoming a doctor.
- Ron is released from prison in March 2010, but dies of lung cancer four months later; Lauren, Rat and Bethany were the only ones present at his cremation. Lauren remains on good terms with Rat and Bethany and is expected to retire in 2012.
- James enters his second year at Stanford and visits his father during visits to the UK.
- Warning: Mild spoilers in this section.
In the last few pages of Brigands MC, it is revealed that James will meet his dad (a bonus story revealed his name to be James Duncan); Lauren's father (Uncle Ron to James) gets out of prison, James returns to the Brigands Motorcycle club for 'unfinished business'. Finally, the last epilogue reveals where all major characters end up (presumably including James, Lauren, Bruce, Kyle, Kerry, Connor, Callum etc.)