An Exchange of Hostages

He was a young man, from a privileged background; a talented young surgeon who had wanted to be a doctor, because he saw the suffering in the world and wanted to do what he could to relieve it.

But his family was rich and powerful, and tradition demanded that he serve the Jurisdiction’s Fleet in a position of influence and importance.  Ship’s Surgeon.  Ship’s Inquisitor.  Responsible for implementing the Protocols in a galactic government that relied on the institutionalization of judicial torture to control an increasingly unstable environment.

When he came to Fleet Orientation Station Medical to study for the Writ to Inquire he discovered within himself worse than a talent for committing atrocity, he discovered a passion for the work whose intensity threatened to consume him utterly.

Under Jurisdiction torture isn’t about truth.  It’s about terror.  And as he struggles to maintain some thread of decency he will  face powerful enemies who eager to use his knowledge, his empathy, his passion against anyone who challenges the Bench.

This is his story.


"An absorbing work . . . [that] can stand comparison to Dostoyevsky's The Possessed . . . Susan R. Matthews simply doesn't flinch. "

—Stephen R. Donaldson, author of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant

"Susan R. Matthews is among the best writers of ethical arguments at work in science fiction today."

—Liz Bourke, columnist at