The Physician

The Physician

Book - 2001
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Baker & Taylor
Eleventh-century England and Persia are the backgrounds of this story of an orphan named Rob Cole, who is apprenticed to a travelling barber-surgeon and, discovering in himself a gift for healing, decides to study medicine with the legendary Avicenna.

Independent Publishing Group
In the 11th century, Rob Cole left poor, disease-ridden London to make his way across the land, hustling, juggling, peddling cures to the sick?and discovering the mystical ways of healing. It was on his travels that he found his own very real gift for healing?a gift that urged him on to become a doctor. So all consuming was his dream, that he made the perilous, unheard-of journey to Persia, to its Arab universities where he would undertake a transformation that would shape his destiny forever.

Publisher: London : Warner, 2001
ISBN: 9780751503890
Branch Call Number: FICTION GORDO...N
Characteristics: 720 pages ; 18 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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