|“||The Horseman File would quite simply blow Britain apart. It would make them the enemy of the entire world||”|
—Erik Gunter describes the effects and aftermath of the Horseman File
|“||"The result would be that the reputation of the British government would be destroyed. It would be forced to dismantle its own secret service. The prime minister would resign. And no civilized country would want to do business with Britain for decades to come."||”|
—Razim describes his agenda to the SCORPIA members
Operation Horseman (or 'The Horseman File') was a project spearheaded by Abdul Aziz al-Rashim and created by SCORPIA. It was the third attempt by SCORPIA to make the world fear them.
Its goal was to blackmail the British government and ruin their reputation with the rest of the world.
Razim's plan involved manipulating MI6 into sending Alex on a mission, building up a file on Alex and his previous work for MI6, kill him after making it appear that he was involved in an act that will receive universal condemnation, and then threaten to make the Horseman file public unless the Elgin Marbles are returned to Greece. Levi Kroll, a longtime member of SCORPIA, protests against the idea of taking on Alex for a third time, and is killed when he tries to leave the organization.
Simultaneously, Julius Grief, the clone of Hugo Grief from Point Blanc who underwent plastic surgery to look exactly like Alex Rider, is broken out of a prison in Gibraltar for those too dangerous to be jailed on British soil due to an elaborate escape plan orchestrated by SCORPIA. Julius is now completely insane, hellbent on taking revenge on Alex for the death of his father. SCORPIA conceals a gun in the library for Julius along with instructions, enabling him to escape the prison in a Suzuki Jimny planted nearby. An elaborate ruse involving a duplicate Jimny allows him to fake his death. Following the escape, SCORPIA set events in motion by arranging for Kroll's body to turn up in London. When the MI6 scientists find Kroll, objects on his person lead them to suspect an attack at the fictional Cairo International College of Arts and Education, where many wealthy children are sent. Alan Blunt would eventually send Alex Rider to this school when it seemed the latter's life was in danger following a sniper assault that attempted to kill him.
Alex eventually finds Jack has been kidnapped and a note ordering him to a tomb in the City of the Dead, or she will die. He arrives at the cemetery, where he is kidnapped by Julius and Gunter, and ordered to hold the sniper rifle that Gunter earlier collected from the House of Gold. Both Alex and Jack are taken to Razim's fort in the Sahara Desert, where Alex is slated to be Razim's next subject. Because Alex's body must not be marked in any way, Razim decides to subject him to emotional torture. Razim pretends to allow Jack to escape, knock out a guard and drive off in an old Land Rover. Unbeknownst to her, the Land Rover has explosives connected to it and, with Alex watching live on a screen, Julius detonates the bomb, killing her instantly. Alex's grief is too much for him to handle and he blacks out.
Alex is then taken to Cairo, where he is told what will face him by Gunter: when the American Secretary of State decries the United Kingdom and gives her speech, Julius (posing as Alex on a school trip) will assassinate her with the sniper rifle, and in the clamor that follows, Alex's body will be found nearby, along with the discarded gun that already has his fingerprints on it. This will allow Alex to be framed, and Scorpia will be able to blackmail the British Government. As a last request, Alex asks for a cigarette from a packet he stole from Razim, and as Gunter opens it, an irate scorpion hidden by Alex stings him. This immobilizes Gunter enough for Alex to steal his gun and break his nose; Gunter dies when his head smashes against the van door. Alex then rushes inside, just when Julius is sneaking away in order to go to his hidden sniper rifle. Alex distracts Julius just in the nick of time, alerting everyone to the presence of a sniper, and only a CIA operative is killed by Julius as he escapes, having stolen a pistol from a policeman.
Alex chases Julius through the streets of Cairo, arriving at a grassy verge by the side of a road, where Julius has collapsed after being hit by a car. He claims that Alex wouldn't dare kill him, but as Alex turns away, he shoots in self-defence when Julius goes for his gun. He then meets up with the CIA, who are forming a joint taskforce with the Egyptians in order to take out Razim. Alex insists on coming with them so as to avoid suspicion when landing. After the pilot is tortured into revealing the signal to land, the helicopter flies to Razim's fort, where Alex poses as Julius when arriving. Razim sees through this, but not before Alex is able to evade capture, and destroy the building operating the fortress's security with a hand grenade, allowing the taskforce to join the battle. Razim then confronts Alex on a rope bridge over a pile of salt and sand, but a CIA operative on the ground intervenes, using his machine gun to break the bridge in half. While Alex manages to get a hold on the bridge and survive, Razim falls into the salt and disintegrates.
With SCORPIA having failed to make the world fear them three times over, the remnants are arrested or executed, one of them being Kurst. The organisation would become a laughingstock to the entire globe.