The Lake House (novel)

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For the unrelated movie with the same name, see The Lake House (film).
The Lake House
Cover art for The Lake House
Author James Patterson
Country United States
Language English
Genre Science fiction novel
Publisher Little, Brown and Company
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 376 pp
ISBN 0-316-60328-7
OCLC 50913549
Preceded by When the Wind Blows

The Lake House is a 2003 novel by James Patterson, a sequel to When the Wind Blows.


The Lake House tells the story of six extraordinary children, endowed with the power to fly after genetic engineering merged their DNA with that of birds, and who have to fight for their lives against scientists who want to clone them, producing a race of human-bird creatures. With them comes the help of Dr. Frannie O'Neil and suspended FBI agent Thomas "Kit" Brennan.


Maximum (Max)

  • Is 12 years old and is living a normal life, almost. She goes to school and is made fun of and mistreated. She constantly saves Matthew from bullies and is not used to her parents and their rules. When hit men from The Hospital attack her new home, she bands together with the rest of the flock and then goes off to find Kit and Frannie. Throughout the book, her relationship with Oz grows, to the point that she lays two eggs, produced from him at the end. She is described as "drop dead beautiful" by Oz; she thinks he's very handsome as well. At the end, she notes that she and the flock mature faster than normal humans and that, as a twelve year old, she is on par with Frannie and Kit, both of whom are in their thirties.


  • Is Max's younger brother, at age nine. He has problems with bullies, as he refuses to fight back. Max saves him, and he becomes more of a fighter after that. He witnesses Max and Ozymandias having 'sex' in the woods and rushes back to tell the adults about it, and remains mad at Max for some time.

Ozymandias (Oz)

  • Is the same age as Max. His feelings for Max are revealed in this book, which lead to some sexual events with Max. He is killed by Hitmen working for "The Hospital", and Max swears to take revenge which she does.

Icarus (Ic)

  • Is a bit younger than Max and Oz. He is blind, however it is revealed that this is a consequence of doctors at the School trying to surgically enhance his night vision. He has a talent for languages and playing the piano. He can perfectly mirror Frank Sinatra

Peter and Wendy

  • They are four years old twins and are of Chinese descent. After they started living with their biological parents, they begin appearing in numerous advertisements, and they hated it. Both are named after characters in Peter Pan, just as Max is called Tinkerbell in the school.

Frances Jane and Ozymandias (Jr.)

  • Max's children by Ozymandias's mating before he was killed. They are nearly stolen by Kane, but Max saves them. Frances Jane is named after Frannie, the Flocks adoptive mother.


  • A vet who helped rescue the children from the School. She wants to be the children's "mother" and is engaging in a custody battle for them. She is in love with Kit, often dryly noting the biological factors to her desire to make love with him. Her real name is Frances Jane.


  • An FBI agent with a reputation for believing conspiracy theories (similar to Fox Mulder's). He helped Frannie rescue the children from the School and is fighting alongside her to regain custody of the children. He is in love with Frannie.

Dr. Ethan Kane

  • The head of the Hospital and an extremely terrifying figure. According to Max, he was held in high regard at the School and pushed the study biotechnology even further than they did. He tries to kidnap the bird children, killing Oz in the process. He later tries to steal Max's eggs, telling her "I have seen the future...and it 'flies.'" At the end of the book, Max pushes him off of a ledge, fulfilling her promise to "break his neck."


The Lake House was followed by the Maximum Ride series, which was a retooling of the plot aimed at teen readers instead of an adult audience and focused more on the children than adults in their lives. The theme is similar, but the plots and tone of the two series diverge in that The Lake House and When the Wind Blows focused more on characterization, suspense, and the moral implications of genetic engineering, while the "Maximum Ride" series is more of a scifi action/adventure romp. When the Wind Blows and The Lake House are adult books and the "Maximum Ride" books are written for teens (although many adults do enjoy reading them.)[citation needed]

Although the names are different, as well as aspects of their back stories and behavior, the six children in the follow-up series have personalities that are directly analogous to the ones in When the Wind Blows and the Lake House.

Before the main story of the first Maximum Ride book, Patterson remarks that the only similarity is the name between the Max in the story and the Max in The Lake House. He then remarks. "Most of the similarities end there. Nor do Frannie and Kit or any of the other kids play any part in it. I hope you enjoy the ride anyway."


The Lake House starts some time after When the Wind Blows. The bird children - Max, Matthew, Ozymandias, Wendy, Peter, and Icarus - are all depressed and unhappy in their new "normal" lives and wish to return to live with Frannie and Kit. Frannie and Kit miss the children as well and engage in a courtroom battle to regain custody of the children. The judge decides that the children will remain living with their biological parents until an appeal hearing is made. Meanwhile, a doctor named Ethan Kane begins trying to capture the birth children and bring them to the place he works, a nightmarish place called the Hospital. In the Hospital, faceless people are murdered and dissected and their organs are taken and used for the "Resurrection" of rich and famous people such as former presidents and prime ministers.

Going back to their lives, the children are forced to put up with harassment from various reporters and paparazzi. After a visit from one of the reporters, it is revealed that Max knows about the Hospital from working at the School, but was trained not to talk about it on the threat of death. Upset, she goes to Oz for comfort. He tells her that she is "drop dead gorgeous". Shortly after, the two begin a sexual relationship.

After Kane attempts to kidnap Max and Matthew on their way home, the siblings escape and meet up with the rest of the flock. The children then fly to Frannie's house for protection. That night, Hospital workers try to break into Frannie's house. She calls the police and sets her house on fire. She and the children then escape through the basement and meet up with Kit.

Kit takes them to Washington D.C. for help. While left alone, hit men hired by Kane capture the children. Oz is killed while trying to protect Max. Frannie and Kit try to rescue the children but are drugged and hooked up to holographic monitors, which give the patients pleasant visions while their organs are being taken. Max and the flock manage to escape and Frannie and Kit are released later. Although they try to expose the Hospital, all evidence of their experiments are hidden and the V.I.Ps seen there have alibis.

At the appeal hearing, the judge decides to return the children to the custody of Frannie and Kit. The family rejoices and moves back to the Lake House. There, Frannie notices that Max has been in her room all morning. She goes to investigate and learns that Max has laid two eggs - her babies with Oz. Max spends the next few weeks caring for the eggs. One night, Kane breaks into Max's room to steal the eggs. Max fights him off and knocks him out of the window, fulfilling her promise to Oz that she'd break his neck. Four weeks later, the eggs hatch. Max's winged babies are a boy and a girl, who she names Ozymandias and Frances Jane. The book ends with Max thinking that she can't wait to teach them how to fly.

"Maximum Ride" vs. When the Wind Blows/The Lake House[edit]


  • James Patterson wrote them.
  • The main characters are all human/bird hybrid children plus two human adults.
  • The children all were previously subjected to cruel experiments and treatment at a building referred to as the "School".
  • One of the children is blind due to night vision experiments("Ic" in The Lake House, Iggy, sometimes called "Ig", in "Maximum Ride").
  • The main character's name is Max, which is short for Maximum.
  • Max is the oldest in their flock.
  • The two eldest children (Max and Ozymandias in "The Lake House" and Max and Fang in "Maximum Ride") have a relationship.
  • The group of winged children call themselves "The Flock".
  • There are 6 members of the flock. (7 in later books of Maximum Ride)
  • There is a pair of siblings in the flock.
  • Both series contain a member of the FBI.


  • In Maximum Ride, Max is the oldest, at 14 years, with brown/blond hair (Patterson says she has brown and blond throughout the series) and brown eyes. In When the Wind Blows, Max is 12, with blond hair and green eyes.
  • In Maximum Ride, the human/bird children and the human/wolf hybrids ("Erasers") were both the only successful experiments at first, with many failures (later, other experiments were successfully created). In When the Wind Blows, the human/bird children were the only successes, with many horrible failures.
  • In Maximum Ride, it is mentioned that the scientists at the School were operating against the law and didn't want anyone to find out about them. In When the Wind Blows, the scientists at the School operated in secret, but were actually backed by many people, including some in the government.
  • In Maximum Ride, Angel and the Gasman are related by blood and Max and Ari are half-siblings, as well as Max and Ella. In When the Wind Blows, Max and Matthew were siblings, as well as Wendy and Peter.
  • In The Lake House, Max has children with Ozymandias.
  • In When the Wind Blows and The Lake House, Max is oviparous, meaning her children will be born in eggs, therefore, Max did not have breasts.
  • In Maximum Ride, Fang doesn't publicly show that he cares for Max. He makes fun of her, and knows she can take care of herself.
  • In The Lake House, Ozymandias is protective around Max, and often kisses her, which then leads to 'sex.'
  • In Maximum Ride, the Flock possess other super-human abilities as well as having wings.
  • In The Lake House, the experiments made by the School are made public, and the bird children are well known.
  • In Maximum Ride, Max has a 'Voice' in her head.
  • In The Lake House, Ozymandias dies. So far, Fang has been killed in a later book in the Maximum Ride series, (But was brought back to life by Max), and has come close several times.
  • In Maximum Ride there are 3 girls and 3 boys. In The Lake House there are 2 girls and 4 boys.
  • in The Lake House Max swears every chance she gets. In Maximum Ride Max tries to watch her language after she heard 'Angel cussing like a sailor when she stubbed her toe .'
  • In The Lake House, Max and the other winged children are double-limbed (their arms and wings are attached). In Maximum Ride, Max and the winged children have separate wings and arms.