'Unique and utterly assured, I will follow this writer anywhere' – Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl
‘A wonderful new entry to Gothic science fiction, impeccably clever and atmospheric. Think Wuthering Heights . . . with worms!’ – Tamsyn Muir, author of Gideon the Ninth
‘Highly recommended. I’ll be reading anything Hiron Ennes writes from now on’ – Tade Thompson, author of Rosewater
In an isolated chateau, as far north as north goes, the baron’s doctor has died. The Interprovincial Medical Institute sends out a replacement. But when the new physician investigates the cause of death, which appears to be suicide, there’s a mystery to solve. It seems the good doctor was hosting a parasite. Yet this should have been impossible, as the physician was already possessed – by the Institute.
The Institute is here to help humanity, to cure and to cut, to cradle and protect the species from the horrors their ancestors unleashed. For hundreds of years, it has taken root in young minds and shaped them into doctors, replacing every human practitioner of medicine. But now there’s competition. For in the baron’s icebound castle, already a pit of secrets and lies, the parasite is spreading . . .
These two enemies will make war within the battlefield of the body. Whichever wins, will humanity lose again?
Leech by Hiron Ennes is an atmospheric Gothic triumph, perfect for fans of Jeff VanderMeer and Silvia Moreno-Garcia.
Emotionally complex, wildly inventive, and full of squirming terror, Ennes's debut begins when the doctor assigned to the Château de Verdira dies under mysterious circumstances. The Interprovincial Medical Institute sends another of their own to replace him. The nameless protagonist arrives on a mission to discover how the previous doctor died while harboring one of the biggest secrets in this postapocalyptic world: the Institute is not only a medical association. It's a hivemind of parasites that have systemically taken over the minds and bodies of every human medical professional to fulfill a mandate to protect and care for the human race—who have proven incapable of doing so themselves. The death of the chateau's previous doctor marks the first time the Institute's lost a body without remembering how. As the protagonist discovers it's not the only parasite within the chateau's walls, both the health of the chateau's residents and the ironclad hold the Institute has on its hosts begin to crumble. Ennes builds a postapocalyptic world with an expansive history and innumerable creeping horrors hiding in its shadows. The author's greatest strength is in narrative voice, rendering the Institute's hivemind with laser precision. This is a must-read for readers looking for something new from the horror genre. Agent: Alexander Cochran, C&W.