The Fifth Vial read by Michael Palmer read by J. Charles

There is more than one mystery here. First, how does one make sense of the handful of quotes from Plato’s Republic which are scattered about this book like annoying commercials for a new Greek candidate? Especially when there is no candidate. Plato’s ideas are credited with breeding a monstrous economy of organs, stolen from the many, given to the few, by a gang of happy scholars with an Old School knowledge of Latin and a gamey love of Greek nicknames and Latin roots. And here, then, is the second mystery: how would a greedy ruling class locate, trace and seize particular bodily organs for their own use?

Natalie Reyes, overconfident, overcompetitive, overaggressive fourth year medical student finds out how. We meet her on the day she challenges the diagnosis of a resident in charge. We watch her being summoned to the Dean’s office, judged and condemned by an informal medical school tribunal, and cut down like a too high stalk of wheat. Suspended for four months, she is sent by her boss to present a paper at a conference in Brazil. She lands in Brazil but never makes it to the conference.