The Rhythm Section
Mark Burnell
Contributed by Elene Blackwelder
Chapter 13
Summary

Stephanie and Boyd get back from their morning run along the beach to find a helicopter on the training grounds. Boyd talks to the pilot and gives Stephanie ten minutes to shower and get dressed. Afterwards, she boards the helicopter and is flown to the village where she was raised as a child, Hawick. There, she meets Alexander who keeps the purpose of their travel a mystery, until the car stops and the driver passes him a pair of binoculars. He peers through it for about a minute before asking Stephanie to look through them in a similar direction. She sees her sister-in-law, dressed in black, with her children — and appears to be weeping. Stephanie also sees her grandparents seated with other people. Suddenly, shecomes to the realization that this is a funeral. Her first assumption is that her brother, Christopher, has died and this is his burial. However, Alexander informs her that her brother is part of the crowd, and that this was her funeral. The Magenta House fakes her death so that she can operate fully as their agent with a new identity, that of a German terrorist, Petra Reuter.

Analysis

Although Stephanie presumes that she is meeting with Alexander for another training exercise, they go to her faked funeral instead. Alexander tells her that “it was considered better to have you die as you’d been living” (Burnell, 115). This statement shows the audience that the fake death was befitting for Stephanie as it emphasizes how she had been living a reckless life; she ‘dies’ after she is involved in a car crash with a fifteen-year-old drunk boy who stole the car that they were in. Although Stephanie sees that her brother is greatly affected by her death, she says that revealing herself to her family will only put them in more danger of being harmed by Reza, since she is aware of his identity. 

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