Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer. She was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1927, 1928, and 1930.
The Debt is the story of the relationship between an eminent Professor of Biology and a young but highly talented student. The great Professor Landfear adopts the bright but socially awkward Galen Dredge as his protegé and future successor, preferring him even over his own son Archie.
But when Dredge succeeds to the Landfear Chair of Evolution and becomes Director of the state-of-the-art Landfear Laboratory after his patron's death, he embarks on a series of lectures which seem to be designed to demolish Landfear's life's work. In the face of such treachery and ingratitude, Archie Landfear resolves to confront Dredge.