Featuring medical mystery/ecofiction Entheóphage by Drema Deòraich
Dr. Isobel Fallon thinks she’s found a treatment that will help her son and others suffering from Milani Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder. What she doesn’t realize is that harvesting the source of this treatment in the only accessible place on earth it grows, a coral reef in the Nlaan Islands, is going to have consequences far beyond the disruption of the fragile ecosystem on one small reef.
CDC researcher Nadine Parker and her team are baffled. Lukas Behn’s daughter Kyndra has contracted a bizarre new virus that leaves her screaming in pain. But they can’t identify any physical, biological source for that pain, not in Kyndra, nor in the dozens, then hundreds, and finally millions of children worldwide succumbing to the same virus. And no one seems to have made a connection between what’s happening with the infected children and the events on a small coral reef in the South Pacific.
Eventually, Nadine has to face the unlikely truth, and the enormous implications of it. The children aren’t sick. They’re changing. But will anyone else believe her?
This post contains affiliate links. View the full disclosure statement here.
Excerpt from Entheóphage
T’nei translated for Isobel. “Why are you here?”
Isobel fought the urge to look at Travis. “To harvest a special coral from the reef.”
“No,” T’nei snapped. “Anyone could do that. Your men could do that. Why are you here?”
Isobel’s mind raced. What was Mtuji after? “I’m the lead scientist. I know which coral to harvest, and how it’s processed. Only I can do that.”
“Only you? Among all your people?”
Isobel pursed her lips. “No. But I’m the one who began this research in search of medicine for a very rare disease. I found what we needed in a special coral. I learned that coral grows here.” She paused. “I started this project. I came here to finish it.”
T’nei translated her words for Mtuji.
The other women murmured among themselves, staring at Isobel as if they could see through her, see the truth of the matter. The elders among them wavered. Some argued. The younger ones held their ground.
Isobel’s stomach knotted.
At length, the crone spoke aside to T’nei, who turned to Isobel.
“And if we say no, go home?”
Isobel’s jaw tightened. “Then we’ll go home, and I’ll start again. Find another way. But it took me years to find this coral. Thousands of children are born with this illness. None survive it.”
Mtuji absorbed her words in silence.
“What would you do,” Isobel went on, “if your children were born this way and I could save them? If you had to watch your children die because another nation’s leader denied me access to their reef?”
T’nei hesitated, then translated Isobel’s words.
About Drema Deòraich
Drema Deòraich is a writer of speculative fiction that asks big questions. Her short stories have been published in numerous online journals, as well as a few semi-professional zines. Her debut novel “Entheóphage,” a medical mystery/climate fiction novel released in October of 2022, has been nominated for the 2023 Ursula Le Guin prize. Drema is still hard at work on her science fantasy trilogy, “The Founder’s Seed,” with plans to release book one in late 2023.
When she isn’t writing, Drema helps her legal-eagle boss to save the world one case at a time, pets her husband’s cats, watches the starlings mob her birdfeeders, or spends time in Nature, surrounded by flora and fauna.
Drema Deòraich will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Thanks for checking out Kit ‘n Kabookle! I’m also on Goodreads, if you’d like to talk books. Lately, I’ve read…