"[Leech] is The Thing meets The Alienist . . . beautifully written and so strangely humane . . . I will follow this writer anywhere going forward." —Gillian Flynn, New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl
A surreal and horrifying debut, Hiron Ennes's Leech defies our understanding of identity, heredity, and bodily autonomy.
An Amazon Book of the Month!
An October "Great Reads" Indie Next Pick!
“A wonderful new entry to Gothic science fiction, impeccably clever and atmospheric. Think Wuthering Heights... with worms!”—Tamsyn Muir
MEET THE CURE FOR THE HUMAN DISEASE
In an isolated chateau, as far north as north goes, the baron’s doctor has died. The doctor’s replacement has a mystery to solve: discovering how the Institute lost track of one of its many bodies.
For hundreds of years the Interprovincial Medical Institute has grown by taking root in young minds and shaping them into doctors, replacing every human practitioner of medicine. The Institute is here to help humanity, to cure and to cut, to cradle and protect the species from the apocalyptic horrors their ancestors unleashed.
In the frozen north, the Institute's body will discover a competitor for its rung at the top of the evolutionary ladder. A parasite is spreading through the baron's castle, already a dark pit of secrets, lies, violence, and fear. The two will make war on the battlefield of the body. Whichever wins, humanity will lose again.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
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.