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Authors: Robert Muchamore

Cherub: mad dogs

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Robert Muchamorewas born in 1972 and spent thirteen years working as a private investigator.CHERUB: Mad Dogsis his eighth novel in the series.

The CHERUB series has won numerous awards, including the Red House Children’s Book Award. For more information on Robert and his work, visitwww.muchamore.com

Praise for the CHERUB series:

‘If you can’t bear to read another story about elves, princesses or spoiled rich kids who never go to the toilet, try this. You won’t regret it.’The Ultimate Teen Book Guide

‘My sixteen-year-old son readThe Recruitin one sitting, then went out the next day and got the sequel.’ Sophie Smiley, teacher and children’s author

‘So good I forced my friends to read it, and they’re glad I did!’ Helen, age 14

‘CHERUB is the first book I ever read cover to cover. It was amazing.’ Scott, age 13

‘The best book ever.’ Madeline, age 12

‘CHERUB is a must for Alex Rider lovers.’ Travis, age 14

BY ROBERT MUCHAMORE

The Henderson’s Boys series:

1. The Escape

2. Eagle Day

3. Secret Army

4. Grey Wolves

5. The Prisoner

6. One Shot Kill

Coming soon

The CHERUB series:

1. The Recruit

2. Class A

3. Maximum Security

4. The Killing

5. Divine Madness

6. Man vs Beast

7. The Fall

8. Mad Dogs

9. The Sleepwalker

10. The General

11. Brigands M.C.

12. Shadow Wave

CHERUB series 2:

1. People’s Republic

2. Guardian Angel

Coming soon

www.hodderchildrens.co.uk

Copyright © 2007 Robert MuchamoreFirst published in Great Britain in 2007by Hodder Children’s Books

This eBook edition published in 2012

The right of Robert Muchamore to be identified as the Authorof the Work has been asserted by him in accordance with theCopyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved. Apart from any use permitted under UK copyright law, this publication may only be reproduced, stored or transmitted, in any form, or by any means with prior permission in writing from the publishers or in the case of reprographic production in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency and may not be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

A Catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN 978 1 444 91051 3

Hodder Children’s Books

A Division of Hachette Children’s Books

338 Euston Road,

London NW1 3BH

An Hachette UK company

www.hachette.co.uk

WHAT IS CHERUB?

CHERUB is a branch of British Intelligence. Its agents are aged between 10 and 17 years. Cherubs are mainly orphans who have been taken out of care homes and trained to work undercover. They live on CHERUB campus, a secret facility hidden in the English countryside.

WHAT USE ARE KIDS AS INTELLIGENCE AGENTS?

Quite a lot. Nobody realises kids do undercover missions, which means they can get away with all kinds of stuff that adults can’t.

WHO ARE THEY?

About three hundred children live on CHERUB campus. JAMES ADAMS is our fifteen-year-old hero. He’s a well-respected CHERUB agent with several successful missions under his belt. Australian-born Dana Smith is James’ girlfriend. His other close friends include BRUCE NORRIS and KYLE BLUEMAN.

James’ sister, LAUREN ADAMS, is twelve and already regarded as an outstanding CHERUB agent. Her best friends are BETHANY PARKER and GREG ‘RAT’ RATHBONE.

CHERUB STAFF

With its large grounds, specialist training facilities and combined role as a boarding school and intelligence operation, CHERUB actually has more staff than pupils. They range from cooks and gardeners to teachers, training instructors, nurses, psychiatrists and mission specialists. CHERUB is run by its chairwoman, Zara Asker.

CHERUB T-SHIRTS

Cherubs are ranked according to the colour of the T-shirts they wear on campus. ORANGE is for visitors. RED is for kids who live on CHERUB campus but are too young to qualify as agents (the minimum age is ten). BLUE is for kids undergoing CHERUB’s tough 100-day basic training regime. A GREY T-shirt means you’re qualified for missions. NAVY is a reward for outstanding performance on a single mission. Lauren and James wear the BLACK T-shirt, the ultimate recognition for outstanding achievement over a number of missions. When you retire, you get the WHITE T-shirt, which is also worn by some staff.

1. HERCULES

Even by aircraft standards the toilet inside a C5 transport plane is cramped. James Adams had a shoulder touching the plastic wall on either side of him as he leaned over the steel bowl, looking at flecks of his lunch in the disinfectant-blue water.

His girlfriend Dana Smith yelled from outside. ‘Are you OK?’

James had pressed the flush and didn’t hear her voice over the roaring turboprop engines as his puke got sucked away. He stood up and turned to face himself in the mirror. He’d spent the last eight days camped out in the Malaysian jungle and despite regular applications of sun block, his skin was peeling.

‘James,’ Dana repeated, this time banging the door to make sure she got his attention.

‘I’ll be out in a sec.’

There were no paper cups in the dispenser, so James washed the bitter taste from his mouth by dribbling water into the palm of his hand and sucking it dry.

‘Did I just hear you throwing up?’

He gargled and spat out the water before answering. ‘Must have been those nasty hotdogs we had at lunchtime …’

But it had nothing to do with lunch and Dana knew it. ‘You’ll do OK, James,’ she said soothingly.

James dried his hands by wiping them on his camouflage trousers and had to duck under the door frame as he stepped out into the cavernous interior of the aircraft. His hands were trembling and he couldn’t help thinking he’d be visiting the toilet again soon.

‘I never realised you were scared of heights,’ Dana grinned, as she put a grubby hand on the back of his neck and kissed him on the cheek.

‘I’mnot,’ James said defensively. ‘Heights I can handle, but jumping out of an aeroplane isslightlydifferent.’

‘I’m surprised you’ve been a cherub for so long without doing a jump. I did one in basic training. Come to think of it, I did a couple before then; when I was a red-shirt.’

‘I don’t think I can do this,’ James said warily, as they set off on an unsteady walk through the giant cargo bay. The turbulence did his stomach no favours as they clanked across the corrugated metal floor, heading away from the cockpit.

The Hercules C5 is a dual-role aircraft. For cargo operations the interior can be loaded with anything from United Nations food parcels to Challenger tanks. When the Parachute Regiment comes to town, rows of seats are bolted to the floor and the side doors can deploy a company of paratroops in ninety seconds.

This mission wouldn’t stretch the aircraft’s capacity: only twelve bodies would make the jump. Eight were ten-to twelve-year-olds nearing the end of CHERUB’s 100-day basic training course. James and Dana were senior CHERUB agents and the final jumpers were adult instructors.

Mr Pike was the head training instructor. He was tough but fair and James respected him a great deal. He wasn’t so sure about Mr Kazakov who’d been appointed less than a month earlier. He was a bully who James had got to know rather too well after sharing his tent for the past seven nights.

Like all CHERUB instructors, Kazakov was physically imposing. He was Ukrainian by birth with a dusting of cropped grey hair and a facial scar worthy of an action figure. After serving with the Spetznatz – the Russian special forces – and seeing combat during the invasion of Afghanistan, Kazakov had spent ten years training SAS soldiers in guerrilla combat techniques, before making the move to CHERUB.

‘What are you lovebirds playing at?’ Mr Pike roared, giving James and Dana the evil eye as he pointed at the drop clock. This bright LED display hung over the door at one side of the aircraft and indicated that there were only one hundred and eighty-six seconds until they were over the landing zone.

‘He’s crapping himself,’ Dana explained.

Mr Pike shook his head. ‘I can’t believe you’ve never made a drop.’

‘Don’t you start …’ James said, feeling even more anxious as he realised that trainees half his size already had parachutes on their backs and equipment packs strapped to their chests. Some of them were so small that they could barely see over the bed rolls on top of their packs.

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