Life was supposed to get better for Phineas Mann in 1983. After the rigors of medical school, residency, and fellowship training, he lands himself a promising position directing a New Orleans hospital's intensive care unit. His mental and physical limits are soon tested by the soaring demand for his expertise and an exploding AIDS epidemic.
Then Hurricane Jezebel floods the city and knocks out power, plumbing, and telephones. Temperatures soar. Supplies run low. As day follows miserable day, fatalities fill a make-shift morgue. Through the sweltering, fetid gloom Phineas employs his training to alleviate patient suffering...until he faces one terrible threat that will put his entire future in jeopardy.
Breath and Mercy is the prequel to Mark Anthony Powers' bestselling debut novel, A Swarm in May, and the first book of a trilogy. Through the character of Dr. Phineas Mann, the author explores the ethical dilemmas of providing supportive care for dying patients.