This book is lengthy, no doubt about that. But it's a warranted length; the detail that Gordon imbues in the story of Rob J. Cole in his quest to become a doctor raises this book beyond merely a "good" rating and up to wonderful.
I think my favorite part, through all the twists and turns, is the ending, which I keep thinking back to -- even above the juggling. Unsettling and scary; it hasn't left me yet.
Heloise reviewed The Physician (Cole Family, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 1
This is the first in a series of books by Noah Gordon, concerning healers, shamans, etc. Set against the superstition and splendor of the 11th century, Rob J. Cole struggles to become a physician. Rob was blessed with a gift that allows him to sense when a patient is going to die. He travels to Persia to study at the school of the greatest physician of his time - Avicenna. In order to do so, he disguised himself as a Jew. I highly recommend this book.
This was a fascinating story and a hard to-put-down book. Rob's character is strong, but he was human and also had his faults. His long worldly journey and conquering of obstacles is told well. I've never read a book set in this time period and Gordon's style of writing is engrossing. Peculiar, then, that I was so much looking forward to the second book in this trilogy: "Shaman", but I absolutely could not get into it.
I guess I missed this when it was making its best-seller rounds and being touted as great historical fiction. Reading it now, I see it rather as a not especially engaging fantasy, one set in a specific historical era but filled with the author's imaginings of how things might have been back then. Many of Gordon's ideas, descriptions, plot devices,and (especially) characterizations seem off to me, and he spends far too long discussing and rambling and repeating in his flat and uninteresting prose. I started skimming early, and eventually decided that I didn't need to know how things ended. I gave up without finishing.
A friend gave this book to me several years ago. I didn't think I would like it, but when I ran out of reading material, I picked it up, and I am so glad that I did. This epic saga sweeps you right back to the eleventh century, and the (mostly) historicly accurate rendering of the people & landscape, the belief & culture of the time really make the book for me. I would reccomend this book to anyone; it has become one of my all time favorites.
This was the first book by Noah Gordon I read. It is a must read for anyone interested in the history of the middle East. An eye opener to those of us who (used to think) civilization started in the West. I researched further and found that his historic facts are spot on- and his story line makes for an unstoppable read.