League of Mortals – a novel about illness
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League of Mortals is the most honest thing you will ever read about illness: a razor-sharp story told with shocking candor, fierce wit, and deep compassion. Wesley Peary gets sick just before his senior year, and in short order loses his job, his friends, and his fun – everything but his mind. When that goes, too, he finds the only person who can help is in even worse shape than he is.
“Cross is a masterful storyteller, surprising us with plot twists, and evoking his world with humor, sly observation and depth. His story will resonate with those who’ve experienced illness at a young age, but equally, it will find its way into the hearts of any reader who has come of age.” – Elizabeth Scarboro, author of My Foreign Cities.
“I love this story… the emotions and the realities of illness were presented with such authenticity, and with humor and wit” – Laurie Edwards, author of In The Kingdom of the Sick.
“With League of Mortals, Cross captures the chaos and frustration of contending with a disease while young, and tells it in a witty and engaging voice.” – Caitlin Caven, columnist for Psychology Today.
League of Mortals begins as Wesley gets sick the summer before his senior year. As he shuffles from one diagnosis to another, Wesley befriends Travis, an older boy with a terminal disease. Meanwhile, Wesley contends with his fussbudget English teacher and a girlfriend with hospital issues, each a monster in her own way.
Wesley tells the story as a memoir, looking back to 1994 – when music was terrible, health reform was hot, and the Internet was brand new. As Wesley gets worse, life gets harder – his girlfriend torments him, his English teacher humiliates him, and even his doctors push him to despair. In coming to terms with his illness, Wesley endures the unbearable, commits the unthinkable, and considers the unforgivable. The result is a gripping exploration of life, youth, illness, hope, and death.
Duncan Cross writes ‘the best-written patient blog on the web’, and has written for Change.org and Kevin, MD. He has contributed to two books on chronic illness, including Laurie Edwards’s In the Kingdom of the Sick. He founded Patients for A Moment, the first blog carnival for people with chronic illness. Cross has won several contests and awards for writing, in particular the Muir Prize for Literary Humour from the University of St. Andrews.
League of Mortals is his debut novel, a semi-autobiographical account of his first year with chronic illness. In the book, Cross reveals details of his life that are humiliating, infuriating, and crushing – not simply to shock, but because lives like his are long absent from literature and pop culture. With League of Mortals, Cross at last shines ruthless light on a subject that has been kept in darkness far too long.
Note: because League of Mortals is above all honest, it contains scenes that may upset or offend some readers – including bathroom scenes, adult content, medical procedures, mild violence, and extremely dark comedy. While the content may be appropriate for late teen readers, League of Mortals not intended for young adults, and young readers will benefit from parental guidance.