Prologue Dead of winter, and snow falls like stars from a black dome of sky. All sound is swallowed by the swirling white chaos. No human life out there on this night. The city of Boston sleeps in the storm. . . . But underneath the ice beats a great heart that is never still. Beneath the falling snow, a vast complex sprawls like a frozen spider buried in the white drifts--the architectural wonder of Briarwood Medical Center: six state-of-the-art hospitals symbiotically entwined. Labyrinthine underground tunnels and high glass bridges above the snow-swept streets mate the white marble, Doric buildings of the old Massachusetts Bay Medical College, the dark brick buttresses of Mercy, the sleek curves of Briarwood Children's Medical. Torturously twisting corridors wind through Gothic arches and classic Colonials and angular modern structures, creating a bewildering, futuristic maze. Inside, the hospital has a peculiar vacuum quality of silence. In the fluorescent halls, medical personnel walk in measured paces; dazed, dreamy patients in robes drift past the open doors of darkened rooms. Snow flies outside the windows, beating soundlessly against the glass. Deep within the labyrinth, a man moves in the endless halls: tall and dark, a graceful shadow against the white of the walls. He is at home here--his movements fluid and unhurried, his angular face thoughtful and intent. The corridors twist and turn, drawing the man deeper into the hospital, past vast wards with the injured and terminally ill moored in their beds. There is a throbbing pulse around the man, the heartbeat of the hospital: life-support machines augmenting labored breathing, soft moans of pain, quiet sobbing . . . and a whispering, barely audible at first, but increasing . . . The man cocks his head slightly, listening. The sound builds around him . . . the prayers of relatives keeping vigil . . . pleas in all languages . . . overlapping . . . rising and falling in waves . . . through anger, through tears: Please, God . . . please help her . . . Don't let him die . . . Dear Lord . . . Signora, aiutami . . . Hear me, Jesus . . . The dark man closes his eyes, listening to the music of the voices. Then his face sharpens, eyes opening and focusing to pinpoints, at the sound of one fierce, stark vow: I would do anything. Copyright (c) 2008 by Alexandra Sokoloff. All rights reserved. Excerpted from The Price by Alexandra Sokoloff All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.