The Physician

The Physician

Book - 2012
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An orphan leaves Dark Ages London to study medicine in Persia in this "rich" and "vivid" historical novel from a New York Times- bestselling author ( The New York Times ).

A child holds the hand of his dying mother and is terrified, aware something is taking her. Orphaned and given to an itinerant barber-surgeon, Rob Cole becomes a fast-talking swindler, peddling a worthless medicine. But as he matures, his strange gift--an acute sensitivity to impending death--never leaves him, and he yearns to become a healer.

Arab madrassas are the only authentic medical schools, and he makes his perilous way to Persia. Christians are barred from Muslim schools, but claiming he is a Jew, he studies under the world's most renowned physician, Avicenna. How the woman who is his great love struggles against her only rival--medicine--makes a riveting modern classic.

The Physician is the first book in New York Times- bestselling author Noah Gordon's Dr. Robert Cole trilogy, which continues with Shaman and concludes with Matters of Choice .

Publisher: Barcelona : Barcelona Digital Editions ; New York : distributed by Open Road Integrated Media, 2012.
ISBN: 9781453271100
Characteristics: 764 p. ; 22 cm.


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May 02, 2016

I very much enjoyed this book. I am fascinated by historical fiction, especially if it is well-researched.
I also like to read about doctors in the past, and in the book I learned about the horrid situation with doctors in London (something I already knew a bit about but not as early in the 11th century) and was fascinated to learn about the medical school/midrassa in Persia. Ibn Sina, the famous doctor that the main character Rob Cole yearned to study with, is a real person who was well versed in philosophy and many other areas of science in addition to medicine.

I had seen the movie based on the book first and it differs from the book.

There are parts that I found discomforting, especially the discussion of the king and the death of one of Cole's close friend, but on the whole, I found this book an excellent read, and very well written.

I started reading it when I was in Israel, then got too busy to read for a while so that is why the length of time from start to end.

Sep 20, 2012

This is a terrific read! I've read it 3-4 times and am opening it once again. The story of a young boy who is taken on as an apprentice to a traveling "cure-every aliment" medicine-man.. This 'healer' also does surgery, pulls teeth and anything needed without entering the body (against the law), This is the medicine of the 11th century.
Rob becomes a skilled healer, but longs for travel to far-away lands to study at a real medical school. He fights discrimination as a Jew in a Christian world.
This may be fiction, but I felt I learned about early medicine, and all who practice it. I love the historical writing of Noah Gordon, who has written so many well-researched books.
I highly recommend The Physician.


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