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Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports

There's one last chance to save the world in MAXIMUM RIDE: SAVING THE WORLD AND OTHER EXTREME SPORTS, the closing chapter of James Patterson's thrilling trilogy. The time has arrived for Max and her winged 'Flock' to face their ultimate enemy and discover their original purpose: to defeat the takeover of 'Re-evolution', a sinister experiment to re-engineer a select population into a scientifically superior master race...and to terminate the rest.

Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman, and Angel have always worked together to defeat the forces working against them-but can they save the world when they are torn apart, living in hiding and captivity, halfway across the globe from one another?

Chapter 1

“Lay off the freaking horn!” I said, rubbing my forehead.

Nudge pulled away from the steering wheel, which Fang was holding. “Sorry,” she said. “It’s just so much fun—it sounds like a party.”

I looked out the van window and shook my head, struggling to keep my irritation in check.

It seemed like only yesterday that we’d done the pretty impossible and busted out of the very creepy and deeply disturbing Itex headquarters in Florida.

In reality, it had been four days. Four days since Gazzy and Iggy had blown a hole in the side of the Itex headquarters, thus springing us from our latest diabolical incarceration.

Because we’re just crazy about consistency, we were on the run again.

However, in an interesting, nonflying change of pace, we were driving. We’d made the savvy decision to borrow an eight-passenger van that had apparently been a love machine back in the ’80s: shag carpeting everywhere, blacked-out windows, a neon rim around the license plate that we’d immediately disabled as too conspicuous.

There was, for once, plenty of room for all six of us: me (Max); Fang, who was driving; Iggy, who was trying to convince me to let him drive, although he’s blind; Nudge, in the front seat next to Fang, seemingly unable to keep her mitts off the horn; the Gasman (Gazzy); and Angel, my baby.

And Total, who was Angel’s talking dog. Long story.

Gazzy was singing a Weird Al Yankovic song, sounding exactly like the original. I admired Gazzy’s uncanny mimicking ability but resented his fascination with bodily functions, a fascination apparently shared by Weird Al.

Enough with the constipation song,” Nudge groaned, as Gazzy launched into the second verse.

“Are we going to stop soon?” Total asked. “I have a sensitive bladder.” His nose twitched, and his bright eyes looked at me. Because I was the leader and I made the decisions about stopping. And about a million other things.

I glanced down at the map on the laptop screen in my actual lap, then rolled down the window to look at the night sky, gauge our whereabouts.

“You could have gotten a car with GPS,” Total said helpfully.

“Yes,” I said. “Or we could have brought along a dog that doesn’t talk.” I gave Angel a pointed look, and she smiled, well, angelically at me.

Total huffed, offended, and climbed into her lap, his small, black, Scottie-like body fitting neatly against her. She kissed his head.

Just an hour ago we’d finally sped across the state border, into Louisiana, meticulously sticking to our carefully plotted, brilliantly conceived plan of “heading west.” Away from the laugh riot that had been our stint in south Florida. Because we still had a mission: to stop Itex and the School and the Institute and whoever else was involved from destroying us and from destroying the world. We’re nothing if not ambitious.

“Louisiana, the state that road maintenance forgot,” I muttered, grimacing at hitting yet another pothole. I didn’t think I could take this driving thing much longer. From the Everglades to here had taken forever in a car, as compared with flying.

On the other hand, even a big ’80s love van was less noticeable than six flying children and their talking dog.

So there you go.

Copyright © 2007 by James Patterson

Read by Valentina de Angelis

Valentina de Angelis co-starred with Joan Allen and Sam Elliot in Off the Map, directed by Campbell Scott. She has appeared on television in Law & Order: SVU and Love Monkey. She has also appeared in over fifty commercials, narrated voice-overs, and did a guest stint on Saturday Night Live. She read Maximum Ride #2 by James Patterson for Hachette Audio.

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