In The Wolf and the Moon, a recurring theme is debt. Myka’s father died young and left him to care for his mother and sister – and his father’s mountain of debt. In order to pay these fines, Myka becomes an arena warrior. The master of the house agrees to pay off Myka’s debt in exchange for Myka’s services; once the house recoups this money from Myka’s fights, he is free to go – if Myka lives long enough to see that day come. Dag is not from the city but from an outlying tribe. He tells Myka that in the tribal lands, when a person dies, their debt dies with them. Myka finds this incredibly appealing, to find a world where debt wouldn’t loom over the heads of his descendants for generations to come, if Myka himself is unable to pay back his father’s debts and the medical bills he has incurred caring for his mother and sister.
I’ve worked in the health insurance industry for six years, and this idea of debts dying with a person was appealing to me as well. I’ve handled calls before from surviving spouses where their partner has recently died and they are receiving the medical bills from his hospital stay. Some people assume that these bills just disappear when a person dies – but that isn’t the case. Hospitals and doctors still expect to be paid for their services, even if the patient doesn’t live long enough to pay them. The same is true of credit card debt and loans. People imagine being left with an inheritance when their loved ones pass, but instead might be left with a staggering pile of bills.
See if Myka is ever able to escape this cycle of debt, violence, and heartbreak in The Wolf and the Moon.