It is the twenty-first century, and a battered world is ruled by an old tyrant, Genghis II Mao IV Khan. The Khan is ninety-three years old, his life systems sustained by the skill of Mordecai Shadrach, a brilliant young black surgeon whose chief function is to replace Khan's worn-out organs. Within the vast tower-complex, the most advanced equipment is being used for three top-priority projects, each designed to keep the Khan immortal. Most sinister of these is Project Avatar, by which the Khan's mind and persona will be transferred to a younger body.
Shadrach makes the unsettling discovery that it is his body that is to be used. His friends beg him to flee, but he refuses to panic. Instead, with almost incredible composure, he evolves a dangerous plan that could change the face of the earth; if it backfires, it could mean the end of his life.
Shadrach in the Furnace is a big, sweeping novel; a harsh, abrasive, irreverent book about a life-and-death battle between two titans—one, the epitome of evil; the other, a paragon of idealism—in a society pushed to extremes.
Nominated for Nebula Award for best novel, 1976. I remember liking it a lot when I read it in high school, but that's so long ago I can't say anything more specific. I'll reread it someday and post more details.
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