The Lake House is an adult science fiction thriller by James Patterson, part of a duology following from When the Wind Blows. Patterson would later reuse ideas from the duology for his young adult series Maximum Ride.
The memorable story begun in When the Wind Blows continues in this thrilling new novel, and it's one that really soars! Frannie O'Neil, a Colorado veterinarian, knows a terrible secret that will change the history of the world. Kit Harrison, an FBI agent under suspension has seen things that no one in his right mind would believe. A twelve-year-old girl named Max and five other incredible children have powers we can only dream of. These children can fly. And the only place they will be safe is the Lake House. Or so they believe...
In Denver, Colorado, veterinarian Frannie O'Neill and FBI agent Kit Harrison are suing for custody of the six bird children created by the School: Max, Matthew, Icarus, Oz, Peter and Wendy. Although they have been returned to their biological parents, according to Frannie, they imprinted on her and Kit. During the preliminary hearing, the bird children are thrilled to see Frannie and Kit, and argue with the lawyer appointed to represent their biological parents.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ethan Kane of the mysterious “Hospital” works on the Resurrection Project, murdering people to harvest their organs for rich and famous patients. Wanting to capture the flock, he sneaks into Frannie’s rebuilt veterinarian practice, reads her files on Max, and murders her assistant.
During the custody trials, Max testifies to the horrors she’s been through and insists that the Lake House, where the flock briefly lived with Frannie and Kit, was the one place where they felt safe. The judge rules that the children will remain with their biological parents for now, but there will be a later hearing to revisit the subject and reevaluate whether the flock is thriving.
Max struggles with middle school, where her brother Matthew is bullied, and at home, where she feels a distance from her biological mother, who calls her “weird.”
Frannie and Kit return to normal life in different states, both depressed by the loss of the case and missing the children. Frannie, mystified by the disappearance of her assistant, is woken one night by a phone call from Max, who confides in her about the bullying. However, Max cuts their chat short, speaking mysteriously about someone watching her and Matthew.
Despite her fear that someone is spying on her, Max tries to relax, going out on a date with a classmate only for him to grope her and then mock her. She also has a disturbing encounter with a reporter, Linda Schein, who questions her about the Hospital and the Resurrection Project. Max denies knowing anything and warns her that this research will get her killed. That night, a distraught Max sneaks out of her house to meet Ozymandias, her best friend in the flock. They meet at a wildlife refuge, where he shows her his self-inked tattoos, and tells her that she’s beautiful. However, she can’t bring herself to talk about Resurrection even to him.
Dr. Kane murders Linda Schein, the reporter, and then leads a team of gunmen to the Marshalls’ home. He enters the house, but Max and Matthew have been alerted, and take off. Meeting up with Oz and Icarus, they take off towards Fort Lupton to retrieve Peter and Wendy. The flock is thrilled to fly together, but Max is alarmed when the younger children raid a convenience store for snacks, meaning they have been spotted.
Frannie hears from a police trooper that the Flock is missing, and is angered to learn that Kit had already heard through the FBI but hadn’t told her due to protocol. She goes out walking, only for the flock to find her. They stay at her house, only for their enemies to come after them there. Although the kids are ready to fight, Frannie sets her house on fire and they escape through the cellar exit. Fleeing gunfire, they drive off in her car. As they hide out in a motel, she calls Kit for help.
When Kit tries to coax Max to reveal more of what they’re facing, she flies away, but Oz follows her and they share a private flight which becomes a birdlike mating dance, beginning a romantic relationship. However, they notice hunters in the woods and rush back to the motel to warn the others. This time, the flock successfully fights off the hunters. After the fight, Max finally admits what’s going on: during the experiments at the School, she learned of an even worse facility known as the Hospital, and knowing this secret puts all their lives in danger.
Kit, Frannie and the flock travel to Washington, D.C. to alert the FBI, but receive little help, although they hear mention of the prestigious Liberty General Hospital. Leaving the kids hidden at a house in the woods, they visit Liberty General and are introduced to Dr. Kane, who keeps up his façade as a kindly doctor.
Later, while Frannie and Kit are getting supplies, Dr. Kane and his men surround the house where the kids are alone. When Oz tries to distract them so that the others can escape, he is shot and killed, and the others are captured. Max is heartbroken.
Kit and Frannie receive a ransom message and go to the hospital, only to be imprisoned themselves. Ethan Kane is in the midst of Project Resurrection, with elderly billionaires and public figures lined up for the treatment. Dr. Ethan Kane reveals to Frannie that he is really the ninety-five-year-old, supposedly dead Dr. Harold Hauer, rejuvenated with a new body through the Resurrection process. He shows her the donors waiting for harvesting, all hooked up to machines showing them vivid dreams. Kit is among them. They prepare Frannie for harvesting as well.
Max escapes, witnessing more of the project, and rescues the other children and frees the lab animals. The flock distracts the planes trying to take off with the patients, causing one of the planes to crash and explode. Max kills Ethan Kane when he emerges from the hospital, only to realize that he’s a clone.
In the aftermath, while the evidence vanishes and the media hushes up the story, Frannie and Kit return to their fight for custody. At the second hearing, the judge grants them full custody of the five surviving children.
The family retreats to the Lake House in the wilderness. One day Frannie notices that Max has been in her room all day. Investigating, she learns that Max has laid two eggs, her children with Oz.
One night while Max is nesting, Kane breaks into her room to steal the eggs. In their fight, Max knocks him out of the window and he falls to his death, avenging Oz.
A month later, Max’s daughter and son hatch from their eggs. She names them Frances Jane (after Frannie) and Ozymandias, and anticipates teaching them to fly.
- Oz's age fluctuates between books. In the previous book, Max was eleven and Oz was seven. In this book, Oz is “the eldest after Max, the strongest, the alpha male,” and “younger by a few months than Max.”
- Max's twin children in this book are parallel to Maximum Ride's daughter Phoenix, born during the events of Maximum Ride Forever.