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Maximum Ride: The Final Warning

In this breathtaking new story from the astonishing imagination of James Patterson, a girl has to save herself from an army assembled just to capture her–and maybe save the planet while she's at it.

Maximum Ride is a perfectly normal teenager who just happens to be able to fly, the result of an out-of-control government experiment. Max and the other members of the Flock–six kids who share her remarkable ability–have been asked to aid a group of environmental scientists studying the causes of global warming. Their ability to fly could help the scientists conquer this epic problem. The expedition seems like a perfect combination of adventure, activism–and escaping government forces who watch the Flock like a hawk.

But even in Antarctica, trapped in the harshest weather on our planet, Maximum Ride is an irresistible target in constant danger. For whoever controls her powers could also control the world....

Maximum Ride is James Patterson's greatest character, a heroine who manages to be human and fearless at once. THE FINAL WARNING is an unrelenting new adventure from the writer Time magazine has called "The Man Who Can't Miss."

Prologue | CATCHING BIRD FREAKS: HAZARDOUS DUTY AT BEST

Chapter 1

Windsor State Forest, Massachusetts

Ssssss.

The soldiers' armor made an odd hissing noise. But besides the slight sound of metal plates sliding smoothly, flawlessly over one another, the troop was unnaturally quiet as it moved through the woods, getting closer to the prey.

The faintest of beeps caused the team leader to glance down at his wrist screen. Large red letters scrolled across it: ATTACK IN 12 SECONDS . . . 11 . . . 10 . . .

The team leader tapped a button, and the screen's image changed: a tall, thin girl with dirt smears on her face and a tangle of brown hair, glaring out at him. TARGET 1 was superimposed on her face.

. . . 9 . . . 8 . . .

His wrist screen beeped again, and the image changed to that of a dark- haired, dark- eyed, scowling boy. TARGET 2.

And so on, the image changing every half second, ending finally with a portrait of a small, scruffy black dog looking at the camera in surprise.

The team leader didn't understand why Target 7 was an animal. He didn't need to understand. All he needed to know was that these targets were slated for capture.

. . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

The leader emitted a whistle pitched so high that only his team members could hear it. He motioned toward the small run- down cabin they had surrounded in the woods.

Synchronized perfectly, as only machines can be, the eight team members shouldered eight portable rocket launchers and aimed them straight at the cabin. With a whoosh, eight large nets made of woven Kevlar strands shot out from the cannons and unfolded with geometric precision in midair, encasing the cabin almost entirely.

The team leader smiled in triumph.

Copyright © 2008 by James Patterson

Read by Jill Apple

Jill Apple is a voice-over artist, having lent her voice to hundreds of television and radio commercials, animation projects, and audiobooks. She lives in New York City with her husband, Maury, and her Boston terrier, Otis.

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