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In the seventh book in the bestselling series, evil scientists are still trying to convince Max that she needs to save the world, this time by providing the genetic link in speeding up the pace of evolution. Worse, they're trying to convince her that her perfect mate is Dylan, the newest addition to the flock. The problem is that, despite herself, Max is starting to believe it.

Fang travels the country collecting his own gang of evolved humans, but the two separate flocks must unite to defeat a frightening doomsday cult whose motto is Save the Planet: Kill the Humans. And this time, the true heroine, for once, might just be little Angel.


Chapter 7

OKAY, SLIGHT FLICKER of interest. I'd been doing the "save the world" dance for a while, and so far it had been mostly saving the world one small part at a time. It was exhausting. This sounded more like "big picture" stuff.

"What are you talking about?" My mom's question broke the silence.

"There's like a ton of new mutants?" Nudge asked, her eyes wide.

"We don't use the word 'mutant' anymore," Dr. Hans corrected.

"This new generation," Jeb said, "and it includes children who were genetically engineered as well as a large groundswell of spontaneous genetic evolutions—"

"Or mutations," I butted in.

"We call them Gen 77 kids," he continued. "They're the seventy-seventh generation of genetically modified or genetically enhanced humans. And yes, there are lots of them. Dr. Gunther-Hagen is correct when he says it's time for you to take on your mantle of responsibility, Max. It's very likely that there will be a significant number of these Gen 77 kids among the human survivors of the apocalypse."

"You know, most kids spend their Saturdays arguing about what cartoons to watch," I said. "They don't have the apocalypse thrown at them so early in the day."

"You're not just any kid, Max," Jeb said. "You know that."

"What is this new generation of kids like?" my mom asked. She's a woman of science herself—a veterinarian. Yes, I know. How ironic. Ha-ha.

"They're completely unpredictable," the Hanselator said. "Some of them can breathe underwater, fly, or are telepathic or telekinetic."

(Check, check, check. Not all of us, but Angel is telepathic, and Nudge has been known to draw metal to herself without touching it.)

"Some of them are brilliant," said Dr. H. "Some of them have heatproof skin and can see the thermal images of living creatures."

(Okay, well, whatever.)

"But the important thing is that there are so many of them," said Jeb.

"You are an exceptional leader, Max," Dr. Hans added. "We've been monitoring the astonishing development of this new generation for a while now, and it's imperative that we unite all the Gen 77 kids under one leader—you. Together, we'll be able to prepare them for whatever the future holds."

"Thus far, you've done very well," said Jeb. "But this is only the beginning of your journey. There is much to do to ensure that humans survive."

"Humans in any form?" Dylan spoke up for the first time. "Some people will say that mutants don't deserve to survive at all, much less be among the only survivors."

"We don't use the term 'mutant' anymore," Jeb reminded him. "And yes, there will be detractors, of course. There always are. Which is why Max needs to become their leader now, to start laying the foundation for the New World. With this sudden emergence of enhanced children, we have more weight, more power."

"And that's not all, Max," said Dr. HGH. He'd been looking more and more anxious as our meeting went on, and now he turned toward me eagerly. "There are some crucial developments—"

"Hans!" Jeb said under his breath, "I told you she's not ready for that."

"Not ready for what?" I asked, just as Angel's eyes got big and she slipped off the arm of the couch where she'd been perched.

She put both hands to her cheeks and said, "Oh, no. Not that! You have to be kidding!"

I mentioned the whole reading minds thing already, didn't I? It sounded like she'd read Jeb's.

Copyright © 2011 by James Patterson

Read by Rebecca Soler

Rebecca Soler is a New York based actress who voices numerous principal characters for the CW's Saturday morning cartoon lineup including: Viva Piñata (Ella and Simone), Huntik (Sophie) The Winx Club (Techna) and Chaotic (Sarah). Other audio books include Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen and After by Amy Efaw for which she was awarded a 2009 AudioFile Earphones Award. Rebecca is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University.

Audio Excerpts (MP3)
Clip #1
Chapter 1 to 4
Clip #2
Chapters 5 to 8
Clip #3
Chapters 9 to 12
Clip #4
Chapters 13 to 16
Clip #5
Chapters 17 to 20
Clip #6
Chapters 21 to 23
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