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Publisher's Summary

An orphan leaves Dark Ages London, taking a dangerous journey and posing as a Jew to study medicine in Persia, in "an adventurous and inspiring tale" (Library Journal).

A child holds the hand of his dying mother and is terrified, aware something is taking her. Orphaned and given to an itinerant barber-surgeon, Rob Cole becomes a fast-talking swindler, peddling a worthless medicine. But as he matures, his strange gift - an acute sensitivity to impending death - never leaves him, and he yearns to become a healer.

Arab madrassas are the only authentic medical schools, and he makes his perilous way to Persia. Christians are barred from Muslim schools, but claiming he is a Jew, he studies under the world's most renowned physician, Avicenna. How the woman who is his great love struggles against her only rival - medicine - makes a riveting modern classic.

The Physician is the first book in New York Times best-selling author Noah Gordon's Dr. Robert Cole trilogy, which continues with Shaman and concludes with Matters of Choice.

©1986 Lise Gordon, Michael Seay Gordon and The Jamie Gordon Trust (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Physician

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

From a Persian

As a Persian woman, it was difficult to enjoy this book. Though well written and a worthy story, I found it historically and culturally inaccurate and at times offensive.
An example is the multiple mentions of Ebn Sīna as an Arab!
When in fact, he was Persian. It would be like calling DeSCartes a British ! Blasphemy !

16 people found this helpful

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Awful Narration. Unless you’re under 5 or over 85.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I was so looking forward to this book but I can’t cope with the narration. As another reviewer said, it’s almost like listening to Kasey Kasem doing the top 30 countdown. Sesame Street also comes to mind.The sad part of it (aside from making the book unusable for me) is that I think Richard Higgins could have done a good job with this but he couldn’t help himself “acting” every single word. I tried slowing it down, speeding it up, turning the volume down till I could barely hear it. Unfortunately, nothing worked.I can see his style of super modulation as useful for keeping toddlers engaged, or stopping the elderly listener from drifting off but for everyone else, it will set your teeth on edge. Between the sudden changes in pitch and the pauses for emphasis, where the words were more than sufficient, I found it impossible to listen to.

Would you be willing to try another book from Noah Gordon? Why or why not?

I returned the audible version but I’ll read the book.

What little I listened to, it seems well researched.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Richard Higgins?

Never. I can see his style of super modulation for keeping toddlers engaged, or stopping the elderly listener from drifting off but for everyone else in between, it will set your teeth on edge. Between the sudden changes in pitch and the pauses for emphasis, where the words were more than sufficient, I found it impossible to listen to.

Any additional comments?

Audible.com/audio book producers: Please put some thought into the selection of narrators. There are so many great voice actors out there who could use the work. Keep narrators like Higgins for Sesame Street. Or counting down the top 30, if that’s even a thing anymore.

4 people found this helpful

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Typical European misguided orientalism and dehumanization of the Middle East

The first half of the book is great as the main character is in Europe. But once he reaches the Middle East, the racist tropes begin. From the oppression of women to the villivication or Jews, the author lazily applies incorrect stereotypes of the Middle East. Simple research into 12th century Middle East will have shown him that it was the most educated, multicultural, tolerant, and educated place in the world, especially when compared to dark age Europe.

2 people found this helpful

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Enjoyable period piece

One of my favorite genres is historical fiction and more specifically books that take place in the middle ages. My review may be a little biased, but Noah Gordon really brings to life an interesting time period spanning Europe and Asia Minor. While many of the exact details are lost to history, there is a lot to learn within this book. I sometimes felt the story lacked climax, but in all it is a touching story and worth a read.

2 people found this helpful

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Enjoyment..

Great story. This is a plot you follow, not one you guess in advance. Will be getting the sequel. Excellent narration.

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing solo book

This is a great book IMO, I finished it in a few days. that being said the follow up in the series didnt really do it for me. This is great as a standalone, the story wraps up nicely and doesn't leave you hanging. Don't feel the need to follow it up

1 person found this helpful

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The origins of modern medicine

Would you consider the audio edition of The Physician to be better than the print version?

I rarely 'read' books any longer. Call me a kid at heart, but having someone read a story to me is one of my guilty pleasures. The reader's voice is compelling and his accent makes the book seem more authentic somehow.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the settings for the book and all the travel during a period in history when marauders made travel very dangerous. Going from the UK to Persia was traveling across the world. I enjoyed the plot and the characters tremendously and the differences in culture and beliefs added volumes to the story.

Any additional comments?

The second book is just as good as the first! Go ahead and download it today. You'll be glad that you did!

1 person found this helpful

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Good read

Very detailed story. Sometimes too much detail. like many books the first 2/3 of the story takes for ever to get through, then the last several chapters rush the ending. Still enjoyable.

1 person found this helpful

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despite the reader, it is a good book

I nearly returned the Boker. the narrator cant read. and his foreign pronunciation is bad

1 person found this helpful

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Misogynistic

Typical objectifying male gaze language when it comes to women. There are much better stories out there that don’t do this.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-28-18

impossible to listen to

This is truly awful narrative.
I found it impossible to listen to for more than ten minutes. Absolute waste of money.
I was looking forward to listen to this great tale, but I will remove this performance from my device.
I hate the voice, style of reading, accent, everything. I would not buy another recording read by this guy.

Bring on John Lee (Ken Follett books!!)

4 people found this helpful

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  • Dr
  • 04-07-18

Awful narration

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

this was a diverting if far fetched story. Completely spoiled by the narrator who struggled to pronounce common English words.

Would you be willing to try another one of Richard Higgins’s performances?

Absolutely not a chance. Not only did he mispronounce common English words, he paid no attention to the grammar of the text and so it was hard to follow in places. It was shockingly bad.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jess' mum
  • 02-27-19

Poor narration

If you can get over the fact that the young narrator couldn’t pronounce basic everyday words such as clerk, muscles, brooch... and tried to speak with the worst accents I have ever heard - cringingly bad - then the tale passes the time with some charm. I enjoyed it more when I first read it years ago when I was sad to end the book and missed Rob J’s character. This time, however, I found it more rambling and with laboured detail. It passed the time however when I was ill in a gentle and heart-warming way.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sandy
  • 09-09-18

Brilliant

I first read this years ago. Wonderful to find it on Audible. Thank you. Listen!!!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-15-18

worth the wait

narration was perfect, twenty years after reading the book finally on audio and you've done a great job,thanks

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-29-20

Beautiful

Amazing story. A real journey, well written and narrated beautifully. So glad I got recommended this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sue Dean
  • 07-13-20

Fascinating Read

I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to this fantastic book. It is set in the early years of the 11th century, which of itself is unusual. A young man grows up to be a barber surgeon and subsequently travels to Persia to study medicine. His journey to Persia and his life there are most educative. My only criticism is that within the extraordinary task of reading this long book, in the main, masterfully done, there are numerous examples of mispronunciation which are irritating and unfortunate. Highly recommended read.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Steve
  • 11-28-18

Terrible narration!!

This narrator is absolutely atrocious! His voice is a dull monotone, he is incapable of doing accents, and it doesn’t appear that he actually understands the words he’s reading.
How the author signed off this awful reading of his work is utterly beyond me!!!!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-16-21

amazing insight to medical history

the author demonstrated incredible knowledge about the history of medicine, as well as social and political history and way of life for many different cultures. In that sense, it was fantastic. The story itself was a bit too descriptive for my liking.
I found it an easy listen, but not compelling

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  • Melody Jansen
  • 01-19-19

wonderful journey

I loved being carried back in time and experiencing life then. Travel was tough the sites and smells of the cities so well described and the relationships well developed.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-26-20

Narration mispronunciations

Although the overall narration was good the continual mispronunciations of very common words was uncomfortably irritating and distracting - someone didn’t do their production reviews or editing

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jodie Eddison
  • 08-21-21

Entralling story

I loved the scenes set by the story, i enjoy history so i found it interesting and i loved the descriptions of the places and times, the characters were endearing and now feel like old friends.

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  • Terri Kessell
  • 11-19-20

Powerful Persian Storytelling.

The story will sweep you across the hot desert sands to the sparkling palaces of Persian kings and pashmina’d people of 11th century life. A man’s journey from a poverty stricken orphan in London before the Norman invasion to his emergence as a powerful Physician of the courts of Persia. Outstanding historical detail and a rip-roaring narrative. Expertly drawn characters rolling in love, lust, religious fervour and violence. Written with the steady hand of a confident story teller.