Retired Physician Combines His Love of Writing, Medicine and Beekeeping in His New Mystery Novel

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., May 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — As a Duke University medical school associate professor emeritus and retired physician, Mark Anthony Powers, M.D., followed the usual dictum about writing what he knows about with his first published book.

A Swarm in May (Hawksbill Press) was inspired by his medical experiences (and that of other doctors, including physicians of color), his years spent living in North Carolina where the novel takes place, his love of bees and his vivid imagination.

Set in 1998, A Swarm in May tells the story of Phineas Mann, an intensive care physician and beekeeper whose life is upended when he is asked to treat an elderly man with a life-threatening case of tetanus. Complicating matters is the patient’s racist son, who abuses and threatens Dr. Mann, his Black intern and colleagues.  When his patient suffers unexplained setbacks, dark forces enter from Dr. Mann’s past as he attempts to solve the novel’s central medical mystery.

In an interview, Dr. Powers can answer such questions as:

  • Why did he decide to begin writing fiction after retiring?
  • How is the systematic racism portrayed in the book relevant today?
  • What other important issues does the story raise? 
  • What lessons can bees teach us?’

Praise for A Swarm in May

A Swarm in May is a gripping page turner you might have expected had John Grisham gone to medical school instead of law school.”
— Lake Morrison, M.D., associate professor of medicine, Duke University

“From the first day he steps into the intensive care unit, a cascade of events takes the reader on a thrilling adventure including medical mysteries, the ongoing legacy of racism, and the complex and fascinating lives of bees. It’s hard to put this riveting book down once you start it.”
Tim Scialla, M.D., associate professor of medicine, University of Virginia

About the Author

Mark Anthony Powers received his M.D. from Dartmouth and did his internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of North Carolina, followed by a fellowship in pulmonary diseases and critical care medicine. After almost 40 years in clinical practice and teaching, he retired from Duke University as an associate professor emeritus of medicine and began his exploration of other parts of his brain. He enjoys writing, gardening, and tending his bee colonies.

Watch his book trailer here.

Contact: Mark Anthony Powers, M.D., (919) 824-5394;

SOURCE Mark Anthony Powers