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By James Rollins

Baghdad falls . . . and armed males are obvious looting town zoo. Amid a hail of bullets, a hid underground lab is ransacked--and whatever bad is determined free upon the world.

Seven years later, Louisiana kingdom veterinarian Lorna Polk investigates an deserted shipwrecked fishing trawler sporting unique caged animals, a part of a black marketplace smuggling ring. yet there's something disturbingly mistaken with those beasts--each an unsettling mutation of the usual order, all sharing one uncanny trait: quite heightened intelligence.

Joining forces with U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jack Menard--a guy who stocks along with her a depressing and bloody past--Lorna units out to discover the reality approximately this unusual shipment and the terrorist risk it poses. simply because a beast escaped the shipwreck and is working amok--and what's approximately to be born upon the altar of Eden may threaten not just the way forward for the area however the very beginning of what it ability to be human.

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Huge eyes shone with that preternatural intelligence back, learning her. The cat shifted nearer, muscle tissue bunching and rolling lower than the fur like a tidal prehistoric strength. If Lorna reached out a hand now, she may perhaps nearly contact it. part of her sought after to—to end up it existed, to commune even for a second with anything that didn't belong during this global. within the shine of these eyes, she sensed a bottomless intensity, anything greater than cat staring out at her. Then the instant broke. before, the cub at her ft were silent, however it stuck a whiff of its mom. The cub scrabbled within the snarl of blankets, attempting to combat itself loose. the mummy glanced down. now not strong. Lorna wanted the mother’s cognizance eager about her. She stamped her foot. The jaguar hissed and crouched reduce, eyes darting again as much as Lorna. That’s correct. continue me. The cat swatted out an important splayed paw. Yellow nails stuck the sting of the blanket. Then simply as quick the cat jerked her paw again. A black dart flew from the paw’s pad and spun away into the evening. A second in the past, whereas surroundings down the cub, Lorna had jammed tranquilizing darts among the planks of the boardwalk, the needles pointed up. She had was hoping that the massive cat could step on considered one of them, stabbing and injecting herself. with out being followed by means of a gunshot or a stinging influence, the needle prick could be neglected. Or so she prayed. The cat growled low and cruel. sooner than Lorna might even step again, the jaguar lunged ahead. Panicked, surprised at its velocity, Lorna tripped backward and fell tough onto her bottom. however the cat neglected her. the mummy grabbed either the blanket and her cub in her the teeth, then spun round in a blur of fur and muscle and bounded again towards the canopy of the wooded area. Lorna knew that during one other ten mins the tranquilizer may soften away the cat’s realization, sending her right into a catatonic kingdom. After that, it might be secure to trace the jaguar and gather her subconscious physique. Lorna allowed herself a second of reduction, letting out a long-held breath. They’d performed it— —then the crack of a gun made her leap and draw back. forward, a flash of purple exploded from the jaguar’s left haunch. The influence stuck the cat in mid-leap. Knocked round, the jaguar landed on her facet and slid correct subsequent to the boy’s slack physique. Lorna swung to Jack and his brother, yet they appeared simply as startled. “Take that, you motherfucker! ” a harsh name shouted in triumph. She twisted round to work out a determine upward thrust from past the boardwalk, seeming to hover in midair over the neighboring pond. It used to be that bastard Garland Chase. He had his shotgun up. He fired time and again. The cat writhed with the affects. yet this used to be no bobcat. She used to be bloodied, yet faraway from incapacitated. To the part, Lorna noticed a pile of white fur at the wooden. The cub. Knocked unfastened by means of the autumn and overwhelmed lower than its mother’s bulk, it lay limp and useless, its neck twisted mistaken. The shotgun blasts grew wilder because the guy learned the cat was once no longer down. a bit of the wooden railing exploded beside the jaguar.

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