|“|| Hugo Grief: If I ruled the world, how much stronger would it be, how much better.|
Alex Rider: For you, perhaps, Dr Grief, but not for anyone else.
Hugo Grief: It has been the dream of very few men to rule the entire world. Hitler was one, Napoleon another, Stalin, perhaps, a third. Great men! Remarkable men!
|~ Dr. Hugo Grief and Alex Rider.|
Dr. Hugo Grief is the main antagonist in the second Alex Rider novel Point Blanc. He is a highly intelligent megalomaniac who plans to rule the world with clones of himself disguised as powerful people.
Grief, or Johannes de Leede, as he was know, was born in South Africa, back when Apartheid was big, sometime in the forties. He was raised to be contemptuous of black people, whom he saw as animals, and he harboured bitter feelings to them throughout his life. He was disgusted at how rebellions against Apartheid by black people soon became successful, and when South Africa was given away to Nelson Mandela, he despaired. He thought that black people were ignorant and had no idea of how to run Africa, and he made plans for a comeback and revenge.
At the age of 26, de Leede (not then a doctor) was approached by Jon Voyer, Prime Minister of South Africa, where he was offered a job as Minister of Science. As South Africa, thanks to white corruption, was a corrupt country at the time, de Leede manipulated the government into providing him unethical scientific equipment, most notably political prisoners. In his own words, "the rules that hampered other scientists around the world did not apply to me!" de Leede then personally selected sixteen biologically irrelavent females and personally raped them, setting into motion a chain of cloning programmes from which, ten years before the first cloning programme was completed successfully he first cloned an adult human, namely himself, sixteen times, with his ambitions and tenacity.
In the Alps
de Leede stole a very large sum of money from the South African government, faked his own death and moved to France, to the French Alps. Now operating under the name of Dr. Hugo Grief, he moved into the Point Blanc academy with his clones and waited patiently for sixteen years before they became mature enough to follow his stead at world domination. He hired a doctor named Baxter from London to start altering the clones' appearences and manipulate the whole second floor, as well as much of the third floor, of the castle into a perfect copy of the ground and first floors, respectively, and replace all dormitories in the second floor with copies of those on the first.
It had come to Dr. Grief's attention that families with fortunes had children who were, in essence, troubled. Parents who ignored their children and children with complete disrespect and disappointment for their parents. These children became Grief's targets. Grief turned Point Blanc Asylum into the Point Blanc Academy and began a business with his partner, Eva Stellenbosch, and together ran the place. The families began sending in their children hoping for a better turnout, and Grief began altering his clones to resemble the original children. He kidnapped the real children in the middle of the night after around a week's assimilation and then he replaced them with the altered clones, which, as the clones were identical to their originals, made it seem like nothing odd had happened. The only visible "difference" was that the clones seemed much more energetic and hardworking than before.
Things did not go unnoticed forever; and when rich New York businessman Michael J. Roscoe believed his son, Paul, was not all he seemed, he called his old friend from Cambridge University: Alan Blunt, head of MI6, to voice his concerns; a few days later, Roscoe died in a bizarre accident when he seemingly stepped into an empty lift shaft on the sixtieth floor of his New York headquarters. Blunt eventually contacted Alex Rider, telling him about that Roscoe had been assassinated and that around the same time, Russian General Viktor Ivanov (head of the Foreign Intelligence Service), whose son, Dimitry, was also at Point Blanc, had been killed in a motorboat explosion after an argument with his son. Alex's job was to infiltrate Point Blanc, disguised as Alex Friend, son of supermarket magnate Sir David Friend, and find out what was happening. MI6 gave him gadgets and although Alex was a little unnerved by the eeriness and emptiness of the academy, he befriended a boy named James Sprintz, son of superbillionaire financier Dieter Sprintz, only to have him replaced by a clone of Grief (although Alex didn't know this was a clone) with the real Sprintz held captive in the dungeon cells with the other fourteen boys who had passed through the academy. Alex explored the academy and found the cells, in the basement. He realized, upon seeing the real boys in the cells, that Grief had done something, and was captured by Grief and Stellenbosch, who had discovered his disguise and knew he was with MI6. Grief boasted to him about his plans for world conquest and return of apartheid on a worldwide scale, and imprisoned Alex (who was fated to die in a human dissection as part of a biology lesson), only to have Alex escape by skiing down the mountain on a modified ironing board and reaching MI6, who tricked Grief into thinking that Alex had died in his escape attempt. Alex returned with a load of SAS soldiers who gunned down the guards and rescued the real boys, arresting the clones immediately. In the chaos, Eva Stellenbosch, assistant director, was shot dead and Dr. Grief attempted to leave in a helicopter. He saw Alex as he flew upwards and smirked, waving goodbye to him, but an angry Alex rammed a snowmobile into Dr. Grief's helicopter, killing the evil scientist and destroying his chopper in an inferno, sending it crashing into the hillside below.
Later that week, Alex was called in to see his principal, Henry Bray, about his numerous absences. His housekeeper, Jack, said she thought he had just come in and gone out, but Alex was too tired and annoyed to notice. Again, the school cleaner said he thought Alex had just entered. Alex entered nonetheless, and asked Bray what it was he wanted to talk about, but froze when he himself turned round in the principal's chair. It turned out to be the final clone, named Julius Grief, who had escaped capture. Julius was now on the warpath to kill Alex, whom he blamed for the destruction of the Gemini Project and the loss of his "father" and goals of world domination. Julius attempted to shoot Alex, but Alex, knowing how difficult it was for Julius to kill someone identical to him, backfired onto the rug just as the bullet went off. Julius ran after Alex as Alex ran out of the office, and Alex set off gases inside the science lab to evade and deter Julius. Julius persisted, thanks to his father's determination, and ran up to the top of the school, following Alex. Alex and Julius fought until Alex eventually knocked Julius into a hole, with flames closing in.
Dr. Hugo Grief was a man to be feared. Utterly cuel, and ruthless, unpleasant, temperamental, and traitorous, he was a completely depraved individual, as he threatened to dissect Alex, a 14-year-old boy, for a biology practical. And he would have made good on his threat, too, if Alex had not escaped. However, to those unaware of his true nature, he could also be very charming, respectful, and manipulative, given that in Alex's imagination, he saw Dr. Grief telling his side of the story, completely fooling MI6 with his "charming" manner. Dr. Grief idolized Hitler, Napoleon, Caesar, Stalin and other ambitious megalomaniacs, and desired to have the world run by them. To this end, Grief named his clones after world dictators, hoping that one day one of them (in his eyes, they are all rightfully himself when they become adults) would rule the world. Dr. Grief held no compassion to those that served him, killing allies (such as Baxter) and enemies alike when they outlived their usefulness. He did have a respect and soft spot for Eva Stellenbosch, but, given that he would have felt no grief over her death, it's probable she was always just a pawn in his plans.
- Eva Stellenbosch (assistant director at the academy; shot dead by SAS soldier Wolf)
- Walter Baxter (plastic surgeon who altered the clones; shot dead by Grief)
- Julius Grief (one of the clones; survived)
- Markus Heftig (head of academy security; mentioned only in in-universe material)