Peacock Swamp: The Nine (Book 1)
By Katie Femia
Publisher: Katie Femia
Published: Mar. 4, 2014ASIN: B00IWX4XBE
Peacock Swamp: Book 1 | The NineIn 2064, The Nine are preparing to assemble. This board of individuals is President Madame LaFonte’s solution to an ailing nation in search of medical care. While it seemed ideal at first, the folks of the borough are quickly discovering it isn’t quite what it seems. The lucky ones are issued a red gown and another chance
at life. That’s the happy ending. However, not everyone gets a red gown. The others have to make their own second chance at life--if they’ve got the heart to do what it takes. When the superstitions of the swamplands run just as deep as the mud, every little bit of luck helps. They named her Vitalia, a name that means life. But her name was the only advantage that she had. In need of a heart transplant, Vita leaves Peacock Swamp behind to stand before The Nine. With her family by her side, they run into the dangers that government healthcare has created: an underground medical clinic that services the rejected citizens...for a price. Her whole life has been a struggle. Why should her death be any different?
Vitalia was born with a weak heart. She has lived in the swamplands all her life. Without a heart transplant, Vita won’t have much life left to live. So she and her family leave for the city where the medical board is holding a Tribunal and those who require medical care can present their case. Those approved by the board of nine get a new chance at life, but those rejected, are left to their own devices.
Peacock Swamp was set in the not-to-distant future in a world where the medical system has gone wrong. There just isn’t enough money to handle the medical needs of everyone, so the solution was to help the worthy, and let the rest take care of themselves. A medical board was set up consisting of nine board members, 4 members that were always the same, and 5 chosen randomly from among the public on the day of board’s convening in so that they could not be bribed. Unfortunately with this type of system, the way many of the people who were rejected by the medical board tended to handle rejection was to enter the black market and this created a terribly unsafe place where one always had to be on the lookout for Ruggeros who would snatch you for your body parts.
Peacock Swamp was captivating from the very first page with its account of life in the swamps. The description of the people and the swampland brought the area to life. You could almost smell the putrid odors of the slew as Vita waded through the muck.
I thought the premise of the novel was quite interesting where you pretty much had to prove your worthiness to the government in order to be approved to get the medical treatment you needed (or be wealthy enough, or know the right people).
The year the story takes place in is 2064, which is only 50 years in the future. I’m not sure how realistic it is that all the issues of organ matching and rejection have been eliminated. In the novel it seems they are able to transplant anyone’s organs into anyone without regard for tissue matching. Who knows though? Perhaps we will progress that far in the next 50 years.
While the skinks and Ruggeros are supposed to be the villians of Peacock Swamp, and indeed, I would want to stay away from them, I really did like Rowlan and Finch very much. I guess even the “bad guys” aren’t always all bad. They were very personable and compassionate people. I liked the friendship that developed between Finch and Vita.
The laws of the government and the harsh and rapid punishments given out seemed to me to have a feel of a dictatorship or communist-type feel to it. The idea that the Tribunal was able to listen to the petitioners while they were lined up outside the building while they were near the elephants had a feel of “big brother” watching added to that as well.
There were a number of twists and turns in the plot in Peacock Swamp, but my favourite one was near the end of this first novel in this series, which sets us up for book 2. I won’t say what the twist is but I can’t wait for the next book to find out what happens.
I thoroughly enjoyed this unique novel by debut author Katie Femia. I gave Peacock Swamp 5 stars out of 5.
Thank you to the author who provided a copy of this book in exchange for a fair an honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.
Katie Femia took a leap of faith several years ago and left her career as an elementary school teacher to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. She now enjoys the day-to-day musings of writing for a variety of blogs and websites as a regular contributor. She covers topics such as home finance, DIY projects, money saving strategies, and everything in between. While a number of manuscripts still slumber in a kitchen drawer, Peacock Swamp | Book One: The Nine is her first published novel. She lives in South Bend, Indiana with her husband and three children, where they enjoy the typical Hoosier summers of chasing fireflies in their bare feet. When she isn’t writing, Katie can be found making over vintage furniture pieces and scouring local thrift spots.