|Occupation||Faux Reverend / Charity organizer|
|First Appearance||Crocodile Tears|
|Last Appearance||Crocodile Tears|
|Mentioned||Crocodile Tears / Scorpia Rising|
Desmond McCain is the main antagonist in Crocodile Tears, the eighth Alex Rider novel.
McCain is a black skinned 'giant of a man' with grey eyes and a completely bald head. He is the founder of the charity First Aid, which respond immediately to any disaster anywhere in the world. McCain holds the title of Reverend and has a silver earring shaped like a crucifix. He was an orphan in East London, found by an elderly couple in a bag of McCain Oven Chips (from where he got his name). The couple took him in and raised him, and by the time he was eighteen, McCain was a championship boxer, winning the WBO middleweight world championship. He was very famous by this time, but in a fight at Madison Square Gardens his face was badly smashed by a boxer named Buddy Sangster. He then went to a plastic surgeon to fix his face, but this did not go well and McCain now has a misshapen lower jaw which forces him to eat food in liquid form through a straw. After that, he hired an assassin known only as The Gentleman to kill the plastic surgeon, and McCain also had him kill Buddy Sangster by pushing him under a train in New York. McCain was involved in property development for a time, but after facing a number of money-based problems, he tried to claim the insurance on one of his buildings by setting it alight. Unfortunately for him, a homeless man saw him and McCain was sentenced to nine years in prison. He was released early after pretending to revert to Christianity (hence his crucifix earring), and he then started a charity to help people in natural disasters and diseases, raising money and keeping most of it. He would also create most of the events himself.
Crocodile Tears Edit
Alex Rider first encounters McCain in Kilmore Castle, Scotland, at New Year's along with Sabina Pleasure and her father, Edward Pleasure. Alex manages to beat McCain at a game of cards and wins £25,000 as a result. He decides to give the money over to McCain's charity, First Aid, not knowing that it is in fact a sham. Previously, McCain had reluctantly agreed to be interviewed by Edward, in order to avoid any suspicion that he might be hiding something. However, after overhearing Edward and Alex talking about GM crops, McCain has reason to believe that they know about his plan (which is not revealed at this point, and in fact Alex had simply been talking about his homework). Fearing that his plans could be exposed, McCain has one of his accomplices shoot out a tyre on Edward's Nissan X-Trail, plunging him, Alex and Sabina into Loch Arkaig below the castle. The trio barely escape with their lives and very nearly freeze to death. Later on, when Alex is on a school trip to Greenfields (a company which deals with GM crops), he witnesses McCain speaking with the director of Greenfields, Leonard Straik. Straik is in fact working for McCain to produce a living substance described as a type of 'mushroom soup', which when applied to crops, would eventually make them poisonous (by adding an extra gene which would activate the release of a poison known as ricin within thirty-six hours). McCain plans to poison a number of crop fields in Kenya with this substance to cause the deaths of millions of people across Africa, then steal the money given to his charity and use it to lead a new life in South America. McCain calls his scheme Poison Dawn. He also shoots his own fake advertisement for the disaster by creating a fake African village with models of dead animals, to increase the overall sum of money donated to First Aid. McCain kills a journalist named Harold Bulman after he tells him everything he knows about Alex, and he later kills Leonard Straik by shoving a poisonous Marbled Cone Snail (generated at Greenfields) down his throat. Having learnt of Alex's address from Bulman, McCain has Alex kidnapped one day and smuggled into Kenya by his sadistic fiancee, Myra Bennett. He has dinner with Alex while telling him his master plan, but threatens him the next day by leaving him to be eaten by crocodiles (after forcing Alex to tell him everything he has told MI6 about McCain and his plans). Luckily, Alex survives the attack with the help of an Indian agent named Rahim, who had been sent to kill McCain after he was found to be behind an attack on Chennai. After Alex foils his scheme, McCain confronts him at a Kenyan airport after he shoots Rahim dead. Eventually, Alex hides behind a stack of oil drums next to a runway and rolls one towards McCain, but he stops it with his foot. However, he is unaware that Alex had attached an exploding gel pen (given to him by Smithers) to the bottom of the drum, and it explodes seconds after. This causes the oil drum to explode as well, resulting in McCain being burnt to death in a devastating plume of fire - his body is apparently left 'charred' and 'unrecognizable'. Unfortunately for Alex, he himself is burnt by his own attack and ends up in hospital.
McCain is the second person in the series who Alex kills deliberately, the first being Dr. Hugo Grief.
- Photo: none
- General information: various sources, including but not limited to:
- Crocodile Tears by Anthony Horowitz
|Crocodile Tears Characters|
|Alex Rider • Alan Blunt • Tulip Jones • Jack Starbright • Desmond McCain • Sabina Pleasure • Leonard Straik|
|Other Key Characters|
|Edward Pleasure • Smithers • Liz Pleasure • John Crawley • Ravi Chandra • Harry Bulman • Myra Beckett • Rahim|