Altar of Eden
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Baghdad falls . . . and armed men are seen looting the city zoo. Amid a hail of bullets, a concealed underground lab is ransacked--and something horrific is set loose upon the world.
Seven years later, Louisiana state veterinarian Lorna Polk investigates an abandoned shipwrecked fishing trawler carrying exotic caged animals, part of a black market smuggling ring. But there is something disturbingly wrong with these beasts--each an unsettling mutation of the natural order, all sharing one uncanny trait: incredibly heightened intelligence.
Joining forces with U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jack Menard--a man who shares with her a dark and bloody past--Lorna sets out to uncover the truth about this strange cargo and the terrorist threat it poses. Because a beast escaped the shipwreck and is running amok--and what is about to be born upon the altar of Eden could threaten not only the future of the world but the very foundation of what it means to be human.
It wasn’t a difficult question. This had all the earmarks of a rescue operation. Duncan unclipped his radio and called up his second-in-command. “Connor.” “Sir?” His second spoke rapidly. “Bennett is headed up. I couldn’t stop him.” Duncan didn’t care. “What about the woman?” “I’ve got her holed up in the nursery. She’s not going anywhere.” Not good enough. “Go in there,” he ordered. “Put a bullet in her head.” Chapter 53 Lorna sat with the children as muffled gunfire continued.
children came rushing up to her. She backed through the swinging doors into the main lab. She turned to find Malik and Bennett stopped and staring at her. “Dr. Polk?” Bennett said, his voice full of surprise, suspiciously so. Lorna noted a flinch of guilt pass over his features. Malik’s eyes widened upon seeing the clutch of children sticking close to her legs. “What luck.” Bennett glanced to him. “I could use a couple of these specimens,” the doctor explained. “They’d be perfect seeds for
grew harder. She immediately went back to that moment in the bathroom, staring down at the E.P.T strip. As always, the past was never more than a heartbeat away. “If I could take it all back,” she said, “I would. And not just for Tom’s sake. There’s not a day goes by that I don’t think about it.” Her hand drifted to her belly. “I should’ve been stronger.” Jack waited a half breath, clearly weighing how much and what to say. “You and Tom were just kids.” She shook her head slightly. “I was
here. She returned to the second crate and hauled it to the open window. Spooked by the gunfire, the frightened cub leaped out as soon as the gate was open. She dropped the crate and retrieved her rifle. She considered going for the assault rifle, but the soldier writhed on top of it. She couldn’t get any closer—both guilt and terror kept her back. But there was one thing she still wanted. During his violent struggles, the soldier had knocked the goggles off his helmet. She picked them up off
would suddenly attack a technician the next. It’s one of the reasons we decided to isolate the colony to the far island. They were growing too dangerous to keep here. Our head of security would have preferred to destroy them, but there is still so much we can learn by studying them. From a safe distance.” She pictured Duncan’s map of scars. “Is that what happened to his face? Was he attacked?” “Duncan?” Bennett shook his head. “He was injured much earlier, back when we were first salvaging