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The Physician [Hardcover]

Noah Gordon
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 1986
Rob Cole, a penniless orphan in 11th-century London, is possessed by a mysterious power - he can sense death. A mere apprentice, he dreams of controlling the forces of life and death, of mastering the knowledge that will earn him the title of physician.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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From Library Journal

When nine-year-old Rob Cole felt the life force slipping from his mother's hand he could not foresee that this terrifying awareness of impending death was a gift that would lead him from the familiar life of 11th-century London to small villages throughout England and finally to the medical school at Ispahan. Though apprenticed to an itinerant barber surgeon, it is the dazzling surgery of a Jewish physician trained by the legendary Persian physician Avicenna that inspires him to accept his gift and to commit his life to healing by studying at Avicenna's school. Despite the ban on Christian students, Rob goes there, disguising himself as a Jew to gain admission. Gordon has written an adventurous and inspiring tale of a quest for medical knowledge pursued in a violent world full of superstition and prejudice. Recommended. Literary Guild alternate. Cynthia Johnson Whealler, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, Mass.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

'An exciting story.' -- THE TIMES --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By GM
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"The physician" is a beautiful look into the life in those dusty old days (although just one thousand years ago, not really that far away, if you see what I mean). It is particularly looking at the life from the stand point of religious/cultural conflicts that divided the old societies, and more specifically through the eyes of a young westerner who carries a double burden of being a Christian while disguising as a Jewish student in the Moslem world. The story is taking place in Persia (Iran), and not the Arab part of the Islamic world; therefore the society is the most tolerant version of the Islamic world thanks to the Persian culture. The young English seeks to become a student of Avicena the great physician/philosopher of his time and many centuries to follow. However there is a problem.....only Moslems and Jews can go to medical school in Persia (Iran). He is left with no choice but disguising himself as a young European Jew to enter Persia and travel to Isfahan where Avicena trains new generation of physicians in a different way than anywhere else. This enables the talented writer to take the reader through a diverse experience of encounters and characters.
The writer is biased by his western background, however. Throughout the story there are comments implying discriminations against Jews that sound odd to a Persian who is raised in one of the most tolerant cultures (lets not mix "cultures" with "political systems" that appear temporarily and tarnish the figure of a nation). The fact that only Moslem and Jewish Iranians would be accepted to the school speaks volumes. I am not sure (and this needs to be explored) if Armenians who are Christian and have always lived in peace in Persia were eligible too or not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous! Nov. 2 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is marvelous. A book describing an atribulated life of an orphan, from surviving (with 9 years old) in a dark England (and Europe) sufocated with the religious madness in those dark ages, passing by trip to Persia and... well, you'll read it! His objective is to become a physician. You'll learn to love the character. Great things will happen. In the end, when you remember what happened through the book, you will feel nostalgia... It's one of those book telling a life's story, that will keep you interested 'til the end, and make you think when you finish its reading. Recommended. Buy it! You won't regret it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating Aug. 25 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Here is a book I thoroughly enjoyed from beginning to end. It was like living around the year 1000 and being taken on a tour around so you could see how different things were at that time. For example, I learned why the postal system in Europe uses the posthorn as its symbol. I learned where cruelty to children stems from. I learned why caravans were popular. I came to realize more fully why decent women prostituted themselves. And I learned much, much more from being carried back into that time about 1000 years ago. I wished the book just went on and on.
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By GM
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"The physician" is a beautiful look into the life in those dusty old days (although just one thousand years ago, not really that far away, if you see what I mean). It is particularly looking at the life from the stand point of religious/cultural conflicts that divided the old societies, and more specifically through the eyes of a young westerner who carries a double burden of being a Christian while disguising as a Jewish student in the Moslem world. The story is taking place in Persia (Iran), and not the Arab part of the Islamic world; therefore the society is the most tolerant version of the Islamic world thanks to the Persian culture. The young English seeks to become a student of Avicena the great physician/philosopher of his time and many centuries to follow. However there is a problem.....only Moslems and Jews can go to medical school in Persia (Iran). He is left with no choice but disguising himself as a young European Jew to enter Persia and travel to Isfahan where Avicena trains new generation of physicians in a different way than anywhere else. This enables the talented writer to take the reader through a diverse experience of encounters and characters.
The writer is biased by his western background, however. Throughout the story there are comments implying discriminations against Jews that sound odd to a Persian who is raised in one of the most tolerant cultures (lets not mix "cultures" with "political systems" that appear temporarily and tarnish the figure of a nation). The fact that only Moslem and Jewish Iranians would be accepted to the school speaks volumes. I am not sure (and this needs to be explored) if Armenians who are Christian and have always lived in peace in Persia were eligible too or not.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Noah's gift April 7 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Noah Gordon has woven a tale of a young man with a special talent for healing, and we are the lucky people who are offered this treasure. Born into squalid poverty in early 11th century London, Rob Cole's quest for medical knowledge takes him, mainly by foot, to far-off Persia - I think today's equivalent journey would be into space.
Gordon has avoided the fake "olde worlde" dialogue and language anachronisms that have caught out so many other writers of historical fiction, and which bring us back into the 21st cenury with a jolt. The result is an exquisitely researched, wonderfully credible, beautifully readable, entirely involving journey of the mind, body and soul. I defy you to put it down until it falls onto your face, when your eyes close with fatigue. The best 20c (at a hospital jumble sale) I've ever spent.
When your eyes have recovered, continue the journey with 'The Shaman', but I found the third book very disappointing and hackneyed after the elegance and beauty of 'The Physician' and the raw, frontier adventure of 'The Shaman'.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Not usually a fan of historical fiction but this was absolutely gripping. Loved it!
Published 1 month ago by Juleza
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating!
This story had me hooked from the beginning. I found it interesting how resourceful the protagonist was in the various situations he experienced.
Published 1 month ago by Connie Flett
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
Really enjoyed this book and was absorbed by the customs in different countries at that time in history. Read more
Published 6 months ago by S. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Delivered on time and as expected
I would recommend
Published 7 months ago by Todd
5.0 out of 5 stars No problems
Great book, excellent price. Do you consider selling a movie version of this book? It should be on market by the end of this year.
Published 10 months ago by Ctibor Ustohal
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily read
Excellent historical fiction read. The only problem was that it didn't have real page numbers. I am looking forward to the next 2 in the series.
Published 15 months ago by heather yard
5.0 out of 5 stars Kudos to Noah Gordon!
The read of a lifetime! Usually I pass my books on when I have read them but not this one - I see myself a few years down the road picking it up for a second read. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Leanna O'Doud
1.0 out of 5 stars Did not have product in stock
I received an email a week after placing my order saying that they cannot get the product from their supplier. I was very disappointed and had to cancelled my order. Read more
Published on Oct. 4 2011 by Vinny
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent novel: action-packed, romantic and adventurous
This book is one of the most fascinating I have read in a long time. An historical fiction which takes place in the 11th century, The Physician recounts the adventures of Rob J. Read more
Published on Dec 17 2009 by J. Farrell
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the read
If you like big, bold, broad and brash sagas, you'll love this book. Keep FIRMLY in mind that this is a work of fiction, not a history book, and that will permit you to travel with... Read more
Published on June 5 2004 by Irish Lace
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