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Leech
Cover of Leech
Leech

'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.

'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.

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About the Author-
  • Hiron Ennes is a writer, musician and student of medicine based in the Pacific Northwest. Their areas of interest include infectious disease, pathology and anticapitalist healthcare reform. When they're not hunched over a microscope or Word document they can be found playing in the snow or playing the harp (though usually not at the same time). They're queer in every sense of the word, and they really want to pet your dog. Leech is their first novel.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 4, 2022
    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.

  • Tamsyn Muir, author of Gideon the Ninth A wonderful new entry to Gothic science fiction, impeccably clever and atmospheric. Think Wuthering Heights . . . with worms!
  • Tade Thompson Leech isn't like anything I've read before. Superb writing, interesting and fresh ideas, skilful execution. Highly recommended. I'll be reading anything Hiron Ennes writes from now on
  • Cassandra Khaw I didn't know a book could perfectly convey the concept of a distributed intelligence, alive and aware of each of its proxies, but Leech is proof anything is possible in good hands
  • Peter Watts If you've ever wondered what would happen if David Cronenberg and Edgar Allen Poe bumped into each other at the same parasitological conference, here's your answer
  • Django Wexler Leech is wonderful, with a truly unique protagonist, a goeey, squicky post-apocalyptic setting, and a dose of Gormenghast gothic. Perfect for fans of Gideon the Ninth and The Traitor
  • Kameron Hurley A tense, disturbing work of Gothic horror that embraces difficult themes of power, abuse, agency and raw survival in an unforgettably apocalyptic setting. Gory, shocking, raw – and utterly humane
  • The Times Hiron Ennes's debut is an intricate, well-observed marooned-community thriller
  • Financial Times Uniquely compelling
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    Pan Macmillan
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