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Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment

WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE.
Do not put this book down. I'm dead serious - your life could depend on it. I'm risking everything by telling you - but you need to know.

STRAP YOURSELF IN for the thrill ride you'll want to take again and again! From Death Valley, California, to the bowels of the New York City subway system, you're about to take off on a heart-stopping adventure that will blow you away...

YOUR FAITHFUL COMPANIONS: Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, the Gasman, and Angel. Six kids who are pretty normal in most ways - except that they're 98 percent human, 2 percent bird. They grew up in a lab, living like rats in cages, but now they're free. Aside, of course, from the fact that they're prime prey for Erasers - wicked wolflike creatures with a taste for flying humans.

THE MISSIONS: Rescue Angel from malicious mutants. Infiltrate a secret facility to track down the flock's missing parents. Scavenge for sustenance. Get revenge on an evil traitor. And save the world. If there's time.

Thriller-writing sensation James Patterson, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller When the Wind Blows, invites you on a quest full of nonstop action, adrenaline, mystery, and suspense. Want to come along for the ride?

I jolted upright in bed, gasping, my hand over my heart.

I couldn't help checking my nightgown. No red laser dot. No bullet holes. I fell back on my bed, limp with relief.

Geez, I hated that dream. It was always the same: running away from the School, being chased by Erasers and dogs, me falling off a cliff, then suddenly whoosh, wings, flying, escaping. I always woke up feeling a second away from death.

Note to self: Give subconscious a pep talk re: better dreams.

It was chilly, but I forced myself out of my cozy bed. I threw on clean sweats-amazingly, Nudge had put the laundry away.

Everyone else was still asleep: I could have a few minutes of peace and quiet, get a jump on the day.

I glanced out the hall windows on the way to the kitchen. I loved this view: the morning sunlight breaking over the crest of the mountains, the clear sky, the deep shadows, the fact that I could see no sign of any other people.

We were high on a mountain, safe, just me and my family.

Our house was shaped like a letter E turned on its side. The bars of the E were cantilevered on stilts out over a steep canyon, so if I looked out a window, I felt like I was floating. On a "cool" scale from one to ten, this house was an easy fifteen.

Here, my family and I could be ourselves. Here, we could live free. I mean literally free, as in, not in cages.

Long story. More on that later.

And of course here's the best part: no grown-ups. When we first moved here, Jeb Batchelder had taken care of us, like a dad. He'd saved us. None of us had parents, but Jeb had come as close as possible.

Two years ago, he'd disappeared. I knew he was dead, we all did, but we didn't talk about it. Now we were on our own.

Yep, no one telling us what to do, what to eat, when to go to bed. Well, except me. I'm the oldest, so I try to keep things running as best I can. It's a hard, thankless job, but someone has to do it.

We don't go to school, either, so thank God for the Internet, because otherwise we wouldn't know nothin'. But no schools, no doctors, no social workers knocking on our door. It's simple: If no one knows about us, we stay alive.

I was rustling around for food in the kitchen when I heard sleepy shuffling behind me.

"Mornin', Max."

Copyright © 2005 by James Patterson

Read by Evan Rachel Wood

Evan Rachel Wood was nominated for a 2003 Golden Globe Award for her powerful performance in THIRTEEN, co-starring Holly Hunter. She also stars in THE UPSIDE OF ANGER with Joan Allen and Kevin Costner and in PRETTY PERSUASION with James Woods. Her additional film credits include roles in THE MISSING, SIMONE and PRACTICAL MAGIC. Evan is well known for her role on ABC's critically acclaimed drama, ONCE AND AGAIN.

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