The boy ran down the rain-soaked street, weaving between abandoned cars. He crouched behind one of the vehicles and tried to quiet his labored breath. At first he heard nothing, but then behind the noise of the falling rain he made out another sound—one that in recent months he had learned to fear. The high-pitched whine was getting louder, and that meant the Drones had tracked his scent. The boy forced himself to his feet, pushing the long black hair out of his eyes, and set off down the road again. He didn’t look back—if there was anything behind him he would rather not know.
He ducked through the broken door of one of the shops lining the street and ran between shelves stocked with now useless electronic devices. Vaulting over a counter at the far end of the shop, he grabbed the handle of a door marked “STAFF ONLY,” silently praying that it wasn’t locked. The handle turned and he stepped into the gloom of the room beyond. As the door closed again, he was plunged into darkness. The boy unzipped one of his coat pockets and pulled out a small flashlight. He played the thin beam of light across the rows of shelves piled high with boxes of all shapes and sizes. Not so long ago, these boxes contained expensive luxuries; now they were just relics of a world that had been lost, probably forever. He knew that the pouring rain would mask his thermal signature and the telltale sounds of his desperate flight, but it would not make him invisible. He had to keep moving.
He quietly made his way to the back of the storeroom and found the loading bay. To his left he saw the electronic control panel that would once have raised and lowered the rolling steel shutter, and cursed under his breath. He dropped to one knee and tried in vain to pull the shutter up, but without electricity it was pointless—it was locked firmly in place. He froze as the high-pitched whining sound became louder again and he heard the sound of shattering glass coming from behind the STAFF ONLY exit. Fighting a rising tide of panic, the boy looked around the storeroom. He realized, with mounting horror, that heading back through the shop was his only way out.
The boy switched off his flashlight and slid along the wall in the darkness, trying desperately not to make even the tiniest sound. He stopped as something cold and hard pressed into his back. Turning, he ran his hands over the cool metal cylinder hanging on the wall, feeling a tiny flicker of hope. Then the door to the storefront exploded in a flash of bright green light. He was knocked to the floor by the force of the blast, temporarily blinded by the brilliant burst of light. He lay stunned for a couple of seconds before he was roused by his own terrified voice screaming in the back of his head, telling him to get up; he had to run. He reached for the cylinder and grabbed it, slowly pulling himself to his feet. He froze, not even daring to breathe as something floated through the shattered remains of the door, just ten feet away. It looked like a horrific mechanical jellyfish. The metallic skin that covered the bulbous disc of its body rippled in a disturbingly organic way as clusters of glowing, multifaceted eyes swiveled and twitched, scanning the room. Hanging below its body was a writhing bundle of flexible tendrils, each ending in a vicious, barbed tip. The Drone turned and flew toward him with a piercing screech, its tentacles raised. The boy did not hesitate—he squeezed the hThe battle for mankind is about to begin in this riveting tale of Earth’s invasion, “a fast-moving story with nail-biting tension” (SLJ) from the author of the H.I.V.E. series.
Sam awakens to see strange vessels gathered in the skies around London. As he stares up, people stream past, walking silently toward the enormous ships, which emit a persistent noise. Only Sam seems immune to the signal. Six months later, he is absolutely alone.
Or so he thinks. Because after he emerges from his underground bunker and is wounded by a flying drone, a hail of machine-gun fire ultimately reveals two very important truths: One, Sam is not, in fact, alone. And two, the drone injury should have killed him—but it didn’t.
With his home planet feeling alien and the future unstable and unclear, Sam must navigate a new world in this gripping adventure.
“A vivid page-turner from its opening scene, this fast-paced, action-adventure sci-fi blends the present-day science of nanotechnology, the fantastic concept of distributed consciousness, and the mystery of secret societies to create an edge-of-your-seat read” (BCCB).