Monday, December 17, 2012

The Physician: a very short review

One of this fall's read-for-pleasure books for me was Noah Gordon's The Physician. The book was heavily promoted through Amazon's Kindle site; I read it on the Kindle.

The Physician is set 1,000 years ago in Europe, and is the story of Robert Cole, an orphan who is taken up as an apprentice by a "barber-surgeon", who is what passes for medicine in the English countryside.

After a chance encounter Cole discovers that there is much more to be learned, and discovers in himself a desire to learn whatever he can about the real practice of medicine, so he adopts a disguise and travels to Persia to study at the Islamist hospital in Ispahan.

There, Cole finds a world full of knowledge: students and classrooms and books and teachers and lectures and examinations.

Cole is an appealing character, and Gordon is a skillful writer and the book, although 800 pages long, moves right along, and I never was bored or wanted to put the book down.

This book is the first in a trilogy, continuing with Shaman and The Last Jew. I haven't decided whether I'll continue with the others, as I have a long stack of books on my nightstand right now.

But I certainly didn't regret the time I spent with The Physician, so if you're looking for a book to occupy those long winter nights by the fire, consider this one.

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