PUPILS at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy were treated to a world exclusive reading by best-selling author Anthony Horowitz today.

Best known as the creator of the Alex Rider novels, featuring the adventures of a reluctant teenage superspy, Anthony is the UK’s most popular male children’s writer.

The 55-year-old, whose books have sold more than 12 million copies, was invited to open the academy’s new Learning Resource Centre.

Unveiling the state-of-the-art library, he treated a group of children to a passage from his latest book, a new Sherlock Holmes novel called The House of Silk.

Anthony told the group: “Some people would give their right arm to hear this.

“You are the first people in the world to hear it – nobody has seen anything of it except for my publishers.

“I will make sure I send a copy to you so it will be in this library.”

Following a vivid description of detective work in Victorian England, streamed live onto a big screen watched by a further 250 children, Anthony praised the literary efforts of Year 7 pupils Luke Allan and Molly Holden.

He awarded the students certificates for their short stories based on ‘what Alex Rider did when he came to DACA’.

He added: “This is a wonderful resource you have here. I hope you get a lot of use out of it and also a lot of pleasure, because of course reading and pleasure go hand in hand.”

The author, who also wrote the television series Midsomer Murders and had his Stormbreaker novel made into a Hollywood film, then took part in a question and answer session with pupils about his work.

Janet Arnott, learning resource centre manager, said she hoped the new area would help promote reading among all academy pupils and staff.

The centre boasts an Eclipse ‘Micro Librarian System’, which allows children to choose from more than 10,000 books kept in an archive area, which takes up far less space than traditional library bookshelves.

She said: “The layout is more of a university style than a school style.

“What we’ve tried to achieve is to create more space to have students in here to sit and read.”