THE OFFICE OF MERCY by Ariel Djanikian


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A fascinating view of a post-apocalyptic America, penned by a first-time novelist.

Natasha lives in America-Five, one of the domed, indoor settlements created by survivors of what is referred to as “the Storm,” which left the world decimated. Those housed inside the Dome live in a world without want or even death. Food, shelter and health care are provided to the carefully cultivated generations that dwell inside, while those who live on the “Outside” struggle with the elements, as well as hunger, danger and disease. But the elders of the America settlements have seen fit to provide their laboratory-generated succeeding generations with a guidebook that explains the colony’s ethics. They believe in killing what they refer to as “Tribes” in order to prevent their suffering. Natasha works in the Office of Mercy, the division in charge of staging and carrying out “sweeps,” which is what America-Five calls the mass killings. When a group of tribesmen destroy some of the sensors used to launch sweeps, Natasha’s immediate supervisor, Jeffrey, taps her for the mission to reset the sensors. That means Natasha must venture outside the Dome, risking contamination from an uncontrolled atmosphere but also seeing firsthand the people she’s been tracking all of her adult life. Something takes place on that mission that causes Natasha to reassess her beliefs, and it affects both her view of the tribes as well as the philosophical position of the Dome’s leaders. Djanikian’s fictitious world combines both the horrifying consequences of ethnic cleansing with the bright new hope of how much one person can do to change history. Both believable and chilling, this tale transports readers to a futuristic utopian life where good and evil mingle with equal opportunity and are often indistinguishable to the characters.

This intriguing slice of future drama ends much too soon and will leave readers begging for a sequel, if not a series.

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-670-02586-2
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2012


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