The Physician Hardcover – Aug 1986
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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.
“Populated by engaging characters, rich in incident and vivid in historical detail, [The Physician] is a pleasure.” —The New York Times
“[The Physician] has the flavor of Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth, but with a deeper character development and story arc . . . . An insightful and unforgettable read.” —Zoltaire’s Blog
“An adventurous and inspiring tale of a quest for medical knowledge pursued in a violent world full of superstition and prejudice.” —Library Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Unfortunately, such is the case with Noah Gordon's first book in his Cole Family Trilogy.
The story follows a young man's need to find gainful employment in medieval England, a search which lands him with a charlatan medic who operates an itinerant snake oil show. There is something of the paranormal in Gordon's story, an ability the protagonist develops whereby he is able to feel the health of imminent death of a patient.
When his employer dies, he takes it upon himself to travel to Persia, disguised as a Jew, in order to study with a physician purported to be the best in the world.
While a consumable read, for this reader the story just didn't hang together, primarily because there were so many plausibility questions, outright material culture errors, and stereotyped gender and cultural points.
Altogether disappointing, and not enough interest to want to continue with the series. Your mileage may vary.
Most recent customer reviews
Really enjoyed the first part of this story about a poor young boy growing up to be a physician in medieval England. But the second half was almost a different novel. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Mitch McCrimmon
i wasn't able to download it on my Kobo but i was able to read it in book formPublished 15 months ago by mary ann phillipson
Not usually a fan of historical fiction but this was absolutely gripping. Loved it!Published on July 20 2014 by Juleza
This story had me hooked from the beginning. I found it interesting how resourceful the protagonist was in the various situations he experienced.Published on June 28 2014 by Connie Flett
Really enjoyed this book and was absorbed by the customs in different countries at that time in history. Read morePublished on Jan. 27 2014 by S. Smith