===Part One===never dog the boys
The CIA intercepts an encrypted telephone conversation between Kyrgyzstan-based smuggling gang the Aramov Clan and American businesswoman Gillian Kitsell. The FBI begin surveillance on Kitsell and come to suspect that she is really Galenka Aramov, the estranged daughter of clan leader Irena Aramov. Suspecting that Kitsell has knowledge on clan operations, the Transnational Facilitator Unit (an international taskforce working to bring down groups like the Aramov Clan that run global smuggling networks) recruit CHERUB agent Ryan Sharma to befriend Kitsell’s son Ethan along with TFU agents Amy Collins (a former CHERUB herself) and Ted Brasker.
When Ryan finds his initial attempts to befriend Ethan rebuffed by Ethan’s obnoxious best friend Yannis, Amy suggests that Ryan engineer a situation where only he can help Ethan. To this end Ryan steals a phone from Guillermo, a tough Latino kid, and plants it in Ethan’s bag to make it look like Ethan robbed Guillermo. Guillermo and his friend Sal, discovering this, are further enraged when Yannis makes a disparaging remark about Latinos and after school the two give chase to Ethan. The chase ends with Ethan being hit by a car and suffering severe injuries; only Ryan’s intervention saves Ethan from suffering brain damage after he swallows his tongue. While Ethan recovers in hospital, Gillian visits Ryan at home to thank him for saving her son’s life.
When Ethan is discharged, he thanks Ryan also and the two become friends. While talking together, Ethan confirms his mother’s Kyrgyz origins and explains that she was disowned by her family after outing herself as a lesbian. A few days later, two masked men infiltrate Gillian’s home and shoot her and Yannis, believing him to be Ethan. Ethan finds his mother’s body and escapes with Ryan’s assistance. Ethan reveals that his grandmother, Irena Aramov, is dying and wanted Gillian to run the family business with her son and Gillian’s brother Leonid, and suggests that Leonid ordered the assassination so that he would have sole control over the clan. Ethan also mentions that Gillian gave him the number of a lawyer, Lombardi, to call in case of an emergency, but before he can say more his house explodes, the masked men having planted explosives in the basement to cover their tracks; distraught, Ethan falls into a rage and Amy is forced to sedate him.
Ryan, Amy, Ted and Ethan are ordered to evacuate by engineers worried that the explosion has damaged their house and relocate to a nearby motel. The next day, Ryan wakes to find that Ethan has been taken by associates of Lombardi posing as child protection officers, with TFU taking advantage of the situation by inserting a tracking device into Ethan. Ryan is furious that TFU have used Ethan as a pawn and attacks the TFU’s eccentric leader Dr Denise “Dr D” Huggan. Ryan is sent back to campus and punished with mission suspension and recycling duty, but is asked by Amy to keep in touch with Ethan so TFU can track him. Ryan makes contact with Ethan, who is travelling to Kyrgyzstan as he rationalises that it will be harder for Leonid to kill him with his grandmother around.
Chinese orphan Fu Ning is collected from her boarding school by her adoptive mother Ingrid, who claims that her adoptive father Chaoxiang has been arrested in a government crackdown on corruption and that the two need to escape the country. Ning is shocked when, while retrieving passports and money from their home, Ingrid kills two police officers that had been waiting for them. While hiding in a motel, Ning discovers from a newspaper that her father has actually been imprisoned for his role in a gang smuggling North Korean women to the West as sex slaves.
Ingrid and Ning flee to Kyrgyzstan, but upon arrival they are captured by Leonid and his subordinate Kuban, who torture them to obtain access to bank accounts Chaoxiang had set up in Ingrid’s name. Ingrid, surmising that Leonid will kill the two once he receives their money, tells Ning to escape. While Leonid is distracted Ning knocks out her guard and hides from Leonid’s men in a rubbish bin. She is discovered by Leonid’s teenage henchman Dan, but instead of returning her to Leonid Dan hides her in his apartment, gets her medical treatment and arranges for a smuggler to take Ning to the Czech Republic, although he is unable to prevent Leonid from killing Ingrid.
After arriving in the Czech Republic, Ning travels with a group of illegal immigrants into the United Kingdom. In the UK, Ning is coerced to work with a factory with a hundred other illegal immigrants producing sandwiches for local supermarkets. Ning decides to escape, and one day she pretends that a cut on her hand has made her sick. After being sent back home, the boss of the people smugglers arrives and orders a henchman to take Ning to a brothel. On the drive, Ning chokes the henchman into unconsciousness before escaping.
Five weeks later, Amy visits Ryan at CHERUB and informs him about Ning, who has wound up in a Scottish immigrant detention centre and has revealed her run-in with Leonid. Amy travels up to Kirkcaldy, Fife to interview Ning with an eye towards recruiting her for CHERUB, unaware that Ning’s application for British citizenship has been declined and that she is about to be deported. Amy stops Ning’s flight moments before it takes off, and offers Ning British citizenship in return for information about the Aramov Clan, as well as a place at CHERUB.
Ning arrives at CHERUB and is shown around by Ryan. Ryan introduces Ning to his friends, and she soon makes herself popular when she manages to defeat Ryan’s friend Max in arm-wrestling. Later, Amy uses a relaxation technique to help Ning recall details about the sandwich factory, including a photo of the factory owner’s sons in football kit. Amy and Ryan, with help from Lauren, Max and Ryan’s other friend Alfie, identify the kit manufacturer and Ryan, Max and Alfie break into the manufacturer’s warehouse to track down the team.
Meanwhile, Ning undergoes the entrance exam. Despite underperforming in some areas and being taunted by fellow recruit Carlos (who is actually a grey shirt posing as a recruit to test Ning’s temperament) Ning passes and is accepted into CHERUB. Amy, having identified the football team’s sponsor from invoices collected at the break-in, works with Ning to identify the sandwich factory. After receiving a call from Ethan, who is en route to Kyrgyzstan, Ryan joins Ning and his friends in a game of paintball.
- Ryan Sharma- Ryan, the protagonist of the book is just about to be sent on his first big mission, with his job being to Infiltrate the Aramov clan through one of the clan's daughter's son who lives in America.
- Fu Ning- Ning, the Deuteragonist, is seen throughout the book trying to run away from China after both her parents die. She gets to Britain but not before being tortured by the Aramov clan.CHERUB eventually accepts her.
- Ethan Kitsell- Ethan, the Tritagonist is the son of Gillian Kitsell, one of the members of the Aramov clan. He forms a friendship with Ryan after his mum and his best friend die. But, he is eventually taken back to Kyrgyzstan, after a lawyer of his mum's gets him.