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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 want to go pick strawberries today," Angel said firmly, scooping up a forkful of scrambled eggs. "They're ripe now."

"Okay, Angel, I'll go with you," said the Gasman. Just then he let rip one of his unfortunate occurrences and giggled.

"Oh, jeez, Gazzy," I said disapprovingly.

"Gas . . . mask!" Iggy choked out, grasping his neck and pretending to asphyxiate.

"I'm done," Fang said, getting up quickly and taking his plate to the sink.

"Sorry," the Gasman said automatically, but he kept eating.

"Yeah, Angel," said Nudge. "I think the fresh air would do us all good. I'll go too."

"We'll all go," I said.

Outside, it was beautiful, clear and cloudless, with the first real heat of May. We carried buckets and baskets as Angel led us to a huge patch of wild strawberries.

She held my hand. "If you make cake, I can make strawberry shortcakes," she said happily.

"Yeah, that'll be the day, when Max makes a cake," I heard Iggy say. "I'll make it, Angel."

I whirled. "Oh, thank you!" I exclaimed. "Okay, I'm not a fabulous cook. But I can still kick your butt, and don't you forget it!"

Iggy was laughing, holding up his hands in denial. Nudge was trying not to laugh, even Fang was grinning, and the Gasman looked . . . mischievous.

"Was that you?" I asked Gazzy.

He grinned and shrugged, trying not to look too pleased with himself. The Gasman had been about three when I realized he could mimic just about any sound or voice. I'd lost count of how many times Iggy and Fang had almost come to blows over stuff Gazzy had said in their voices. It was a dark gift, and he wielded it happily.

It was just another weird ability-most of us had them. Whatever they were, they sure made life more interesting.

Next to me, Angel froze and screamed.

Startled, I stared down at her, and in the next second, men with wolfish muzzles, huge canines, and reddish, glinting eyes dropped out of the sky like spiders. Erasers! And it wasn't a dream.

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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