The Physician by Noah Gordon

Set in the 11th century, The Physician follows the life of Rob J. Cole from his impoverished childhood as an English orphan to becoming the titular physician. After his parents' death, Rob joins a performing troupe and becomes quite an accomplished juggler. This dexterity will serve him well in his future occupation. He later apprentices with a traveling barber/surgeon and realizes that medicine is his true calling. Thus begins his quest to gain true medical knowledge, something beyond leeches and tooth-pulling. To do so he travels to Persia and then must disguise himself as a Jew in order to attend the Muslim medical school. The tale of his journey there, his studies, and his return home is full of adventure and interesting characters.

The Physician is lengthy, but the story is a good one. Fans of epic historical fiction like Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth should enjoy it. It is the first in a multi-generational trilogy following certain Cole family descendants. The next title, Shaman, takes place during the American Civil War, while Matters of the Heart, the final book, is set in the present day. Themes of medicine and the Jewish faith run throughout the series.


Published by on March 23, 2020
Last Modified October 19, 2021