In this frightening, high-concept science fiction thriller, a mute man must confront the horrors of organ farming on a deep-sea oilrig.
Longlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize SA
Nominated for the 2020 Nommo Awards for Speculative Fiction by Africans
"Will have you ripping through the pages. Part thriller, part horror, part speculative fiction: this gripping read goes to the heart of ethical quandaries, forcing the reader to ask: "What if it were me?"
Sunday Times (SA)
Malachi, a mute thirty-year-old man, has just received an extraordinary job offer. In exchange for six months as a warden on a top-secret organ-farming project, Raizier Pharmaceuticals will graft Malachi a new tongue.
So Malachi finds himself on an oilrig among warlords and mass murderers. But are the prisoner-donors as evil as Raizier says? Do they deserve their fate?
As doubt starts to grow, the stories of the desperate will not be silenced – not even his own. Covertly Malachi comes to know them, even the ones he fears, and he must make a choice – if he wants to save one, he must save them all. And risk everything, including himself.
"Sharp and compact but devastatingly poetic. This book packs real power into every page."
"Farren has created an extraordinary narrator in Malachi... [An] intense and memorable [read]." SFX
Farren's thought-provoking and disturbing debut follows tortured characters who find solace in each other. For 15 years, Malachi Dakwaa has been wracked with survivor's guilt and punishing himself both physically and emotionally for the deaths of his family and friends, who were murdered by the same guerrillas who cut out his tongue when he was 15 in South Africa. He accepts a job as a warden in a remote island prison for violent offenders in exchange for the promise of a new tongue from Frasier Pharmaceuticals, an American company that secretly runs the prison. The Frasier reps who hire Malachi believe his inability to speak and feigned illiteracy make him perfect for the job, imagining him to be unable to communicate with the prisoners. But Malachi is smart and compassionate, and when he learns the prison is being used as an organ farm, he realizes that Frasier is far more dangerous than the people locked up in the prison. The descriptions of Malachi's self-harm and the vile conditions of the prison are visceral and stomach churning, but glimmers of hope save the story from total darkness and, though the rules of this dystopian world remain murky, readers will find it easy to root for both Malachi and the prisoners he befriends as they struggle against their circumstances. This striking horror novel is not for the faint of heart.