Winged Victory, 2005 (2005)
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Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke
t first glance, I jumped to the conclusion that
was too descriptive, so laid the book aside. As I read further, I was smitten by Gen LaGreca's tremendous talent. I agree with comparisons that others have made of this work to books by philosopher Ayn Rand (founder of
). Specifically, the independent, principled architect of Rand's
parallels LaGreca's David Lang, a neurosurgeon with a strong conscience.
athleen Hughes was eight-years old when abandoned by her mother. After unhappy years of foster care placement, she makes her way to San Francisco. There, Cathleen performs chores in exchange for free ballet lessons. '
Her first ballet slippers were the child's bounty after weeks of rummaging through the trash outside Madame Maximova's School of Ballet ... the slippers got a second chance at life,
' as she would, too. She changes her name to Nicole Hudson, and works long, strenuous hours to eventually become a Diva. Back in New York City, at the Taylor Theater on Broadway, Nicole performs in the sensation,
, in which '
Prometheus steals fire from the gods and brings it to man.
' Nicole receives a stream of flowers and letters from an anonymous admirer. Determined to discover the source, Nicole walks to the corner, where '
she saw a tall man in a gray suit leave the flower shop
'. To her, he became '
The Flower Phantom
t Riverview Hospital, a brilliant neurologist stands up for what is right - Dr. David Lang devotes himself to performing difficult surgical procedures. He appears before the Bureau of Medicine (BOM) to present arguments for the funding of his nerve regeneration research program. The board decides that his work '
falls outside the scope of our more pressing social needs. Many people now question the wisdom of spending large sums for the benefit of a small minority
'. At the Rutledge Hotel ballroom, David's wife, Dr. Marie Lang, is honored for her achievements. She's accepted as a clinical staff partner of '
'. Marie has a history of being unfulfilled. First, the promise of a brilliant career in opera was dashed by ridicule from colleagues. Second, her ambition as a cardiologist was dropped when she switched to family practice in order to satisfy the bureaucracy.
n New York's State capital, Governor Malcolm Burrows is up for re-election. Two years before, he established
, an insurance program to provide free healthcare to all the state's citizens. But the Secretary of the Bureau of Medicine reports that
is bankrupt. Suggestions fly for potential cuts to the program. They finally decide that '
we need to further impress upon doctors their social responsibility - stop breaching our rules!
' Back at Riverview, hospital president Randall Lang offers David an open slot as chief of neurosurgery, a research grant already in place. As they talk, a dire emergency is announced. An explosion of faulty gas pipes has occurred at the Taylor Theater, and victims are being rushed to the hospital. The intensifying drama involves nerve regeneration surgery, CareFree and Bureau of Medicine regulations, and a governor bent on re-election and with ambitions on the White House.
en LaGreca presents medical and legal procedures, strong individual characterizations, and poignant speeches and statements. If you're interested in a novel covering patient care and controversial subject matter - social, insurance, and research programs, animal rights, and overly-ambitious bureaucracy -
should not be passed over. I also recommend it to medical professionals, librarians, and readers' discussion groups.
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