By Stephan Lee
July 03, 2012 at 04:28 PM EDT

Crime writer and board-certified forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs is best known for her Temperance Brennan novels, which were adapted into the Fox television series Bones. But Virals, her latest series, has been infecting an altogether different and younger crowd. Code, Reichs’ highly anticipated third young adult novel, won’t be coming out until March 7, 2013, but EW has a peek at the cover and a teaser excerpt. Check out both below!

An excerpt from Code By Kathy Reichs (On sale March 7, 2013 / G. P. Putnam’s Sons)

There was a rumble, followed by a series of booms. I turned to see dust billowing from every window.

“Holy crap!” Shelton panted. “Did Hi blow up the castle?”

“No.” Ben’s voice was tight as he peered back at the fortress. “The walls are still standing. Something else must’ve happened.”

“Good God.” Hi’s voice shook as he pointed the opposite direction. “Look.”

My gaze followed Hi’s finger. Across the harbor. Downtown.

A pillar of smoke was rising from Battery Park. Below it, trees were burning like torches soaked in pitch. As I stared in horror, sirens began to wail.

“You don’t think…” Hi trailed off.

No one responded.

But I knew. My gaze dropped to the iPad, waiting.

In moments a new message appeared onscreen: Understand?

Two options took shape below the question: a white circle with gold writing, and a black square lettered in red.

The white circle read: “Yes. Time to play The Game.”

The black square read: “No. I need another demonstration.”

The image of a stopwatch formed. Began counting down from ten.

A hollow feeling welled in my gut.

Nine. Eight. Seven

“Guys,” I whispered, “I don’t think this is a joke.”

I held up the iPad.

Six. Five. Four

Hi paled. Shelton swallowed. Ben clenched his fists.

The Gamemaster’s warning flashed in my mind.

Accept my challenge and complete The Game, or innocents will die.

“We have no choice,” I said quietly.

The boys nodded.

Three. Two

Feeling helpless, I pressed the white button…

We’d become pawns in a madman’s game.

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