Matteo AlacrAn was not born; he was harvested. His DNA came from El PatrOn, lord of a country called Opium-a strip of poppy fields lying between the United States and what was once called Mexico. Matt's first cell split and divided inside a petri dish. Then he was placed in the womb of a cow, where he continued the miraculous journey from embryo to fetus to baby. He is a boy now, but most consider him a monster-except for El PatrOn. El PatrOn loves Matt as he loves himself, because Matt is himself. As Matt struggles to understand his existence, he is threatened by a sinister cast of characters, including El PatrOn's power-hungry family, and he is surrounded by a dangerous army of bodyguards. Escape is the only chance Matt has to survive. But escape from the AlacrAn Estate is no guarantee of freedom, because Matt is marked by his difference in ways he doesn't even suspect.
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by Nancy Farmer
by Emilio Estefan
by Philip Jose Farmer
"Nancy Farmer's all-too-believable dystopia is the setting for the story of Matteo Alacran, born a clone of the evil El Patron, ruler of Opium. As Matt grows, so does his understanding of his purpose (to provide renewal body parts for El Patron) and the things he needs to do to stay alive in a society based on the abuse of brain-damaged slaves who tend the opium fields. As the suspense builds, narrator Raœl Esparza has convincing command of several languages and many accents for the adults, and he perfectly captures the arrogant intonations of entitled teenagers who, like most of the story's characters, consider Matt to be lower than an animal. Even amid Matt's most horrifying predicaments Esparza delivers brief moments of ironic or childlike wit in this thought-provoking story. R.H.H. (c) AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine"
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