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Dark Angel: Before the Dawn (Anglais) Poche – 1 octobre 2002


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Extrait

COLD PURSUIT

MANTICORE HEADQUARTERS

GILLETTE, WYOMING, 2009

Her bare feet pounding, breaking the crust of ice on the snow-packed ground, her thin blue hospital-style smock hiked high over pumping legs, nine-year-old X5-unit 332960073452 barely noticed the February cold. Neither did she have any knowledge that in other parts of the United States, Valentine's Day was less than forty-eight hours away; that was part of a mundane, ordinary life as unknown to her as her controlled existence had been to the outside world.

Though she had learned much at Manticore, all the girl knew, at this moment, was that she was running for her life.

The deafening whir of choppers circling overhead did not cause her to look up, and she avoided the wide white beams of searchlights that probed, slashed the remote Manticore facility, turning the gloomy woods into a haunted house of light, dark, and shadow.

Brunette locks shaved down to a severe concentration-camp buzz cut, she was small, but not skinny--lean, lithe, wiry . . . and, though unmistakably a child, already battle-hard. Her dark olive complexion gave her a tiny advantage over some of the others, the ones so white they practically glowed when the searchlights neared them, ghosts in the haunted house. Her eyes were large and dark, and she might have been referred to as doe-eyed if there hadn't been something lethal glinting in there, something almost predatory in the way those orbs took in whole scenes and missed no detail.

Sprinting through the woods, she didn't breathe hard, didn't even sweat, as--machinelike--she pumped her arms and pistoned her knees up and down. Her hypersensitive hearing picked up--behind her, farther in the distance with each stride--the ragged breathing of her pursuers, grown-ups who, for all their own training, could only vainly fight to keep up with a genetically enhanced soldier-in-the-making.

The child knew it was true now--they were escaping, they were really escaping . . . though she and the others, her "siblings," could barely grasp the word's meaning. They were well schooled, these soldier kids, but their context was limited. The girl knew "escape" only as something you thought about when you had been captured, after you'd been taken prisoner.

But she and the others weren't prisoners, were they? After all, wasn't Manticore their home . . . the only home they'd ever known?

But that home had seemed suddenly a prison, when the man they trusted, the father figure to these special children--Colonel Lydecker himself--had callously shot one of them down. Eva was dead! For what? Mere defiance?

Now they knew exactly what they were--they were an experiment, an exercise in mutated genetics and military tactics; and they knew, too, what they were worth to Manticore, if that experiment failed: nothing. All the training, all the exercises, all the studying, nine years, her whole life, had shattered into something incomprehensible, within the blast and echo of a single gunshot.

A group of snowmobiles, their engines howling like a pack of wild dogs, flew by her flank, traveling too fast to see her as she pressed herself against a tree, the rough bark weirdly soothing, reminding her she was alive, awake, not dreaming this. The grown-up soldiers looked like futuristic monsters to the girl, in their baggy black fatigues and night-vision goggles, all with laser-sighted automatic weapons, pressing up the hill from the valley in an ominous wave . . .

She took off running again.

Cresting a slope, fleet as a fox, Max found herself in a clearing. After a moment of indecision, she saw a head, Zack's head, rise up from behind a log.

Wordlessly, she moved to join him. As she neared, more kids in the blue-gray nightshirts and pajamas began to pop out from behind other logs and the trunks of trees, like strange, sudden night-blooming flowers. They shared not only the same form of dress, but the buzz-cut hair as well, and this sameness made them interchangeable, their individuality lost.

The last one to reveal herself was Jondy, her smile showing her relief that Max--that was the name her sibs had given her--had finally made it to the rally point. Despite Manticore's constant hammering the point that none of them was more valuable than any of the others, the two girls--who even without the hospital clothing and shaved haircuts resembled each other--had bonded, become sisters.

Behind Max, the roar of the snowmobiles plowing up the hill grew louder. As usual, Zack took charge; the boy could be cool and intense at once. Using military hand signals (a gift their instructors had given them), Zack broke the group into escape-and-evade pairs. One by one, the couples dispersed into the woods, each going in a different direction.

When Zack crisply signaled for her and Jondy to take off, Max shook her head. She didn't want to leave Zack behind; she didn't understand why the sibs were separating--wasn't there strength in numbers?

But the solemn boy again emphatically signaled for them to go. She didn't want to leave him alone, but she had no choice--their instructors had instilled obedience to team leaders--and then Jondy was grabbing her by the arm, and they were taking off into the cold night.

Once again, Max found herself flying through the woods, this time with Jondy at her side. Within seconds they reached the perimeter of the facility, where awaited a seven-foot chain-link fence wearing garlands of barbed wire.

The girls scampered catlike up the fence, eased themselves over the barbed wire--unaware they were centered in the night-vision sniperscopes of their pursuers--and as they dropped to the other side and freedom, Max paused to look back, thinking that had been too easy . . .

Sounds in the night perked her keen hearing and drew her gaze to where Zack turned helplessly at the center of an ever-tightening circle of black-garbed troopers, red laser beams sighting in on him, scarlet dots dancing.

Powerless to help, the young girl watched as Tazer darts struck the boy commander and sent him tumbling down a slope, twitching to the ground, his arms and legs writhing wildly, convulsively carving manic snow angels. She stood rooted to the spot, horrified by the sizzling sound of the electricity, until Jondy tugged on her sleeve and got her moving again.

Max knew now that Zack had saved her life by forcing them to separate; and running away from the fence line that night, she couldn't help feeling that somehow she and Jondy had failed him, possibly even betrayed him, by leaving him to face so many with so little . . .

The belligerent growl of the snowmobiles grew louder as the men on machines closed in on the girls on foot. Seeing an opportunity to slow their pursuers, the young fugitives scampered out onto the iced-over surface of a small pond. The ice appeared strong enough to hold them, but Max felt pretty sure it wouldn't support the weight of those bulky snowmobiles. Behind them, the roar of the choppers increased, like an accelerating scream, and the spotlights turned in their general direction as the gunships joined the pursuit.

They were nearly across the pond when Max sensed the ice going spongy, starting to give way beneath her bare feet, and she had just enough time to hear the sharp crack before the ice exploded under her and she found herself dropping into the frigid water beneath.

So cold it almost burned, the sloshing water stabbed at her like millions of tiny knives; but she ignored the feeling and pushed herself to the surface and gulped air.

Jondy, standing barely ten feet away, called, "Max! . . ."

"Go!" Max yelled, even as she struggled to gain purchase on the jagged edge of the tear in the ice.

"No, we stick together!"

"Go, Jondy, I'll find you. Just go."

The girl hesitated for a long moment until they saw a Humvee come crashing through the gate behind them. Max watched the vehicle chewing through the snow toward her and wondered if the driver knew the pond lay directly in his path. She turned and watched as Jondy dashed toward the forest, the snowmobiles plowing after her, the riders firing haphazardly, their bullets . . . not Tazers, bullets . . . tearing bark off the trees and ripping gouges in the snow.

Then Jondy disappeared into the woods.

To safety? To capture? To execution? Max could only wonder.

Turning back as the Hummer veered around the edge of the pond and just as the headlights were about to hit her, Max took a deep breath and propelled herself below the surface of the water. Through the veil of ice, she could barely make out the Hummer sliding to a stop, and two men climbing out. She couldn't tell for sure with the strange angle, blocked as she was by the partition of ice; but one of them could have been Lydecker . . .

. . . and he seemed angry.

The two men spoke for a moment, their words too muffled for even Max's hyperhearing to make out from her watery hiding place; but the pair climbed back into the Hummer and skidded off into the darkness.

Silence now.

It felt odd down here, so much of her body ashiver with the onset of hypothermia, and yet her lungs burned as if someone held a match to them. Fear still squirmed in her stomach, like a coiled snake, and she felt certain that when she broke the surface, Lydecker and the others would be waiting there to kill her.

She made a decision--such battlefield decisions were part of her training, after all, and instrinsic to her makeup. She would die fighting, rather than just give up. . . .

Max swam back to the hole and broke the surface just as her lungs seemed about to explode. She gulped air, went under again, and pushed her way back to the surface trying to suck in the precious oxygen between fits of coughing. She'd learned another thing tonight: even X5s, like herself, had their limits.

Pulling herself out of the water, she looked around, and was stunned to find herself alone in the dark...

Biographie de l'auteur

Max Allan Collins has earned an unprecedented ten Private Eye Writers of America Shamus nominations for his historical thrillers, winning twice for his Nathan Heller novels, True Detective and Stolen Away. A Mystery Writers of America Edgar nominee in both fiction and non-fiction categories, Collins has written five suspense novel series, film criticism, short fiction, songwriting, trading-card sets, and movie/TV tie-in novels, including Air Force One, The Mummy Returns, the New York Times bestselling Saving Private Ryan, CSI: Double Dealer (from the CBS series), and The Scorpion King.

He scripted the internationally syndicated comic strip Dick Tracy from 1977 to 1993 and has written the Batman comic book and newspaper strip. His graphic novel, Road to Perdition, has been made into a DreamWorks feature film starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman, directed by Sam Mendes.

Collins lives in Muscatine, Iowa, with his wife, writer Barbara Collins, and their teenage son, Nathan.


Détails sur le produit

  • Poche: 288 pages
  • Editeur : Del Rey; Édition : Reissue (1 octobre 2002)
  • Collection : Del Rey Books
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0345451821
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345451828
  • Dimensions du produit: 12,1 x 2 x 17,3 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 42.938 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par "nanou005" le 1 décembre 2002
Format: Poche
Le livre explore dans le détail les débuts de l'histoire de Dark Angel et donne véritablement du corps aux personnages en leur construisant un passé et une histoire qui les étoffent.
Max Allan Collins fait un exellent travail d'écrivain dans sa redéfnition de l'histoire, amenant le lecteur vers la suite logique des évènements qui constituent la série.
Le livre est captivant et une fois commençé, on ne peut plus le lâcher.
Avec un peu de chance, une traduction française permettra à tous ceux qui se sont attachés à Dark Angel de prolonger le plaisir
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Désolé, nous n'avons pas réussi à enregistrer votre vote. Veuillez réessayer
Par luneide le 24 février 2012
Format: Poche
on apprend pas mal de petite chose sur max et sur Logan (comment il était au courant pour les x5). bref à lire si vous voulez compléter la série.
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Amazon.com: 46 commentaires
33 internautes sur 33 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Didn't quite get it done for me 5 octobre 2003
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
I don't want to be negative, but after reading all these glowing reviews, I thought I'd better give a reality check for true fans of this awesome series: this book wasn't that great. Don't get me wrong, it didn't totally suck, but it's clear that this is just some writer guy who was comissioned to write the book. He has lifted most of the dialogue right from the series, so he gets away with it, but then, when he's supposed to telling us what Max is thinking, suddenly she's thinking in the vocabulary of a 55 year old college graduate from the heartland. Like, she sees a fat guard and thinks, "what a portly, heavyset fellow". Yeah right. I don't think "portly" "heaveyset" or "fellow" are really the words a post-pulse street rat like Max is going to use to describe this guy in her head. He's obviously a lot more comfortable with Logan-speak, but he makes him just a little too much like somebody's Dad. Plus, you can tell the guy is not a fan, because the book just lacks PASSION. It's like he contacted some younger friend and said "Well, let's plot this baby out". I'd be willing to bet serious cash that this guy had never even seen the show before his editor called and said, "Got a gig for ya." But let's be fair, overall, it's a definate fix for those of us who were chapped when the series got cancelled, and it's readable, and we can fill in the gaps ourselves, but it would have been better if they had found somebody maybe a little younger who was a huge fan of the series already.
Gotta blaze..
12 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Don't get your hopes up 12 mai 2005
Par Emily Summers - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
Max Collins was the wrong author for this. The characterization was wrong, the plot often far too coicidental, even some of the information from the actual series seemed off. His action scenes, although well written, dragged on and on. There were too many times when I was saying to myself, "Max wouldn't do that." Men came off as evil incarnate, and I thought Max revealed she had "special abilities" to FAR too many people. She fights infront of both Kendra and OC which seemed completely un-max to me. She was always careful. I also had a hard time choking that Logan knew an X5 before Max. That seemed totally absurd to me. And, as long as I'm complaining, who the hell calls the space needle "the needle"? Nobody, certainly not people from seattle.

Nevertheless, if you like Dark Angel, read it because, well, it's all you've got. It's a fast read. It does answer some questions and it's fun. I just have to wonder if the creators of the show read these books before they're put on shelves. I kept on saying to myself, "I could write this better." Sadly, I actually believe this. I wish they had taken more time selecting an appropriate author for this series. I really hope the next two are better.
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Excellent for all DA fans 23 octobre 2002
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
DARK ANGEL: BEFORE THE DAWN is a fascinating prequel novel that is a treat for any DA fan to read. Max Collins has all the characters down pat, and the backgrounding he does for Max, Original Cindy, Logan, and the other regulars of the show is fascinating. After reading this book one can go back and view Season 1 and Season 2 of the series in a slightly different light, picking up clues that were not noticed before that lead back to Max's earlier life before she came to Seattle. Mr. Collins also does an excellent job of foreshadowing things-to-come in the DA universe, threads that will undoubtedly be continued in his DA sequel novel SKIN GAME which picks up the storyline after the last televised episode of the show. If you're a DARK ANGEL fan, please buy BEFORE THE DAWN! The read is well worth your time!
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Isn�t �tact� something you put on a teacher�s chair? 21 janvier 2004
Par Peter Vinton, Jr. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
Miss the series? Collins serves up a generous helping of backstory to the Max Guevara we've all come to know and love. The story expands on the small details that are already known: we are pulled along through the harrowing X5 breakout from Manticore, up through Max's first contacts with the "normal" world and right on up to the catastrophic Pulse that brings the United States down to Third World status. Much of the story deals with Max honing her craft as a professional thief on the mean streets of post-Pulse Los Angeles. Circumstance and a possible lead on an X5 "sibling" send her north into Seattle, and we are treated to the tale of how she met Original Cindy, how she moved in with Kendra, how she started with Jam Pony, where she first heard of Eyes Only, and even the spiritual importance of the Space Needle to Max's "meditations." Logan Cale features prominently as well, in some wonderful foreshadowing scenes. Original characters include fellow X5 "Seth" and Russian gangster-cum-art dealer Kafelnikov, and for fans who've missed the first season's villain Donald Lydecker, there's plenty of him in this novel, too.
The novel, being more or less unrestricted in its scope and direction, allows the reader to dive more fully into the gritty near-future of post-Pulse America -the language is coarser and more realistic than the cleaned-up television dialogue. Instead of having to hear characters remind viewers that "the world went and got a lot nastier," we are able to actually immerse ourselves in it; much more thought-provoking, particularly if you're prone to playing the "what would YOU do?" speculation game. In all ways an excellent lead-in to the events of the series pilot. An easy read, full of familiar characters, very satisfying conclusion.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Good read, but I've read better fan fiction 31 août 2004
Par Sorrow - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
I enjoyed this book more than Max Allen Collin's second Dark Angel novel 'Skin Game', as I found Max's backstory quite interesting and informative.

However I don't feel he's really got her character down pat, and there were certain elements to the story which I found difficult to chew. Such as the transgenic Seth, who also escaped from Manticore in '09 and winds up working for Eyes Only. Seth is never mentioned in the show or even counted amid the 12 escapees (turns out that he's the 13th) and personally, I find this transgenic a hard bit of 'canon' to swallow. It just doesn't tie in with what we know of the characters in the show. Would Logan really have kept Seth a secret from Max? Maybe so, but it makes him now seem incredibly ruthless. I'm not the biggest fan of Logan but I still find it hard to believe he could do what he does to Seth, and still be able to 'use' Max once she comes along. Actually, maybe he could... *shrugs*

Anyway, asides from that gripe I did find this book a good read. At times even a great read. Although I still feel Max Allen Collins was the wrong writer for the job.

I've read better fan fiction.
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