Under Jurisdiction torture isn’t about truth. It’s about terror.
The Jurisdiction’s Bench has come to rely on the institutionalized atrocities of the Protocols to maintain its control of an increasingly unstable political environment. When Andrej Koscuisko, a talented young doctor, reports to orientation as a Ship’s Inquisitor he will discover in himself something far worse than a talent for inflicting grotesque torments on the Bench’s enemies. He will confront a passion for the exercise of the Writ to Inquire whose intensity threatens to consume him utterly.
As he struggles to find some thread of justice and compassion under the Law, as he fights to hang on to what remains to him of his sanity, he will make powerful enemies who are eager to use his knowledge, his empathy, his passion against anyone who challenges the Bench.
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Advance Praise for An Exchange of Hostages:
A grisly and absorbing work -- a truly disturbing exercise in psychological inquiry. Susan R. Matthews has envisioned her future society well....Matthews’ greatest achievement may well be the empathy she wins for both the avid abhorrence with which Koscuisko contemplates his own actions and the stricken loyalty with which the slaves assigned to him view himself. Other writers have approached these themes -- Gene Wolf and Elizabeth A. Lynn leap to mind -- but none to my knowledge have plunged the reader so deeply into them. Susan R. Matthews simply doesn’t flinch. In that, An Exchange of Hostages can stand comparison to Dostoyevsky’s The Possessed.
-Stephen R. Donaldson
A very intense novel. An absorbing and frightening character study...the more you learned about the situation these people were trapped in, the more horrifying it became....An extremely talented writer. I can’t wait to see what she does next.
Powerful, insidious, and insightful -- a singular accomplishment for a tenth novel, let alone a first.