READ EXCERPT: 'Next,' by Michael Crichton

Best-selling author Michael Crichton's latest thriller, "Next," which explores genetic research, hits stores today.

The Harvard Medical School graduate, never one to shy away from controversy, takes on science gone awry and the dangers of genetic experimentation in this thriller. Two million copies of "Next" will be released in hard cover, e-book and audio book format.

You can read more about "Next" by clicking here.

Read an excerpt of the book below:

Beneath the high canopy of trees, the jungle floor was dark and silent. No breeze stirred the giant ferns at shoulder height. Hagar wiped sweat from his forehead, glanced back at the others, and pushed on. The expedition moved deep into the jungles of central Sumatra. No one spoke, which was the way Hagar liked it.

The river was just ahead. A dugout canoe on the near bank, a rope stretched across the river at shoulder height. They crossed in two groups, Hagar standing up in the dugout, pulling them across on the rope, then going back for the others. It was silent except for the cry of a distant hornbill.

They continued on the opposite bank. The jungle trail grew narrower, and muddy in spots. The team didn't like that; they made a lot of noise trying to scramble around the wet patches. Finally, one said, "How much farther is it?"

It was that kid. The whiny American teenager with spots on his face.

He was looking to his mother, a largish matron in a broad straw hat. "Are we almost there?" the kid whined.

Hagar put his finger to his lips. "Quiet!"

"My feet hurt."

The other tourists were standing around, a cluster of bright-colored clothing. Staring at the kid.

"Look," Hagar whispered, "if you make noise, you won't see them."

"I don't see them anyhow." The kid pouted, but he fell into line as the group moved on. Today they were mostly Americans. Hagar didn't like Americans, but they weren't the worst. The worst, he had to admit, were the--

"There!"

"Look there!"

The tourists were pointing ahead, excited, chattering. About fifty yards up the trail and off to the right, a juvenile male orangutan stood upright in the branches that swayed gently with his weight. Magnificent creature, reddish fur, roughly forty pounds, distinctive white streak in the fur above his ear. Hagar had not seen him in weeks.

Hagar gestured for the others to be quiet, and moved up the trail. The tourists were close behind him now, stumbling, banging into one another in their excitement.

"Ssssh!" he hissed.

"What's the big deal?" one said. "I thought this was a sanctuary."

"Ssssh!"

"But they're protected here--"

"Ssssh!"

Hagar needed it quiet. He reached into his shirt pocket and pressed the Record button. He unclipped his lapel mike and held it in his hand. They were now about thirty yards from the orang. They passed a sign along the trail that said bukut alam orangutan sanctuary.

This was where orphaned orangs were nursed to health, and reintroduced into the wild. There was a veterinary facility, a research station, a team of researchers.

"If it's a sanctuary, I don't understand why--"

"George, you heard what he said. Be quiet."

Twenty yards, now.

"Look, another one! Two! There!"

They were pointing off to the left. High in the canopy, a one-year-old, crashing through branches with an older juvenile. Swinging gracefully. Hagar didn't care. He was focused on the first animal.

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