The Ninth Man is a science fiction novella by Mary Heaton Vorse, who gives us a compelling study of human nature and society.
A fictional town in Italy is conquered by a heartless tyrant. He issues a strange but cruel new law: in thirty days, each ninth person, chosen by lot, shall designate secretly whom he wishes put to death in the public place.
Suspicion, revenge... all that's worst in humanity seems to come out among the townspeople. Old and young, male and female all show their capacity for selfishness. But one person, the priest, goes against the grain and pleads with the town to have them all choose HIM to be the martyr, rather than follow their worse inclinations.
The Ninth Man was first published in 2 parts in Harper's Magazine, Nov. & Dec. 1914, and in book form in 1920. Audiobook read by Tricia G., running time 1 hour, 38 min. Unabridged full version. Also available as E-Book, ePUB, length 15,400 words, average reading time 1 hour, 20 min.
Mary Heaton Vorse O'Brien (1874–1966) was an American journalist, labor activist, and novelist. Vorse was outspoken and active in peace and social justice causes, such as women's suffrage, civil rights, pacifism (specifically including opposition to World War I), socialism, child labor, infant mortality, labor disputes, and affordable housing.