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The Physician (Cole Family Trilogy #1)

4.34  ·  Rating Details  ·  22,303 Ratings  ·  1,165 Reviews
Now a major motion picture: Noah Gordon’s beloved masterwork—read by millions in thirty-five countries In eleventh-century London, 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 stran ...more
ebook, 640 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Barcelona eBooks (first published 1986)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This is one of the most satisfying novels I've read in a long time. One of my rare six-star selections. There's a consistency of quality from cover to cover, owing to the perfect marriage of fine writing and graceful editing.

Rob J. Cole is a man who feels called to be a healer. He stays true to that calling, even when surrounded by other physicians who are motivated by greed and glory. He risks and sacrifices all for the chance to study in Persia with Ibn Sina, the greatest physician of the 11t
May 09, 2013 Chrissie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chrissie by: Lauren
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 02, 2008 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Noah Gordon is my new favorite author. I read The Physician after I read The Last Jew. Both were phenomenal.

The Physician is long, but I read through it quickly. I could hardly put it down! The novel is set in the middle of the eleventh century. Gordon transports readers to another time, setting an ambience that feels authentic to the time period. The novel covers a wide span of geography, beginning in London, taking the reader throughout England and ultimately across Europe through Constantino
May 13, 2014 Salma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
تحديث: إضافة الحديث عن الفيلم المقتبس من الرواية

رواية... بل هي حيوات مفعمة بالألوان و الأحداث و التشويق و المعلومات... هي قصة الفتى روب.ج البريطاني الذي نشأ يتيما في بيئة القرن الحادي عشر حيث تدرب ليصير حلاقا-جراحا... و لكن حلمه كان أن يسافر لأصفهان ليدرس الطب على يد ابن سينا، و لأن ذلك كان أمرا بدعا و مستنكرا و جرما يستوجب الموت _على زمن حرق الهراطقة_ يتنكر على شكل يهودي حتى يستطيع أن يتدبر أمره...0

العادات اليهودية حاضرة في الرواية بقوة... الإسلام ببعض تعاليمه من خلال عيني مسيحي غربي مشمئز... ا
Jul 18, 2015 Frances rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5* It took several chapters for the captivating and superb story to emerge within these 768 pages. Although the beginning of the book had some interesting events, it tended to drag on with the same theme. Approximately half way into the book it came alive and so begins the arduous adventure of the physician barber Rob J. Cole. Set in the 11th century, Cole is left an orphan at 9 years of age, while his siblings are taken in by other families from British villages not far from his own home. Wit ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Physician (Cole Family Trilogy #1), Noah Gordon
عنوان: حکیم - از لندن تا اصفهان در محضر ابن سینا؛ نویسنده: نوآ (نووا) گوردون؛ مترجم: جواد سیداشرف؛ تهران، زرین، 1375؛ در 687 ص؛
مترجم: طاهره صدیقیان؛ تهران، روشنگران، 1388، در 784 ص؛ شابک: 9789641940067؛
با عنوان: پزشک : روزهای ابن سینا از سرگشتگی تا شکفتگی؛ مترجم: کیومرث پارسای؛ تهران، قصه پرداز، دبیر، 1379، در 632 ص؛ چاپ دوم 1387؛ شابک: 9789646916487؛
هشدار اگر داستان را نخوانده اید این نوشتار ممکن است داستان را
داستان حکایت جوانی انگلیسی است،
Dov Glazer
I’m a modern military history buff, and until I read this book I hadn’t had the slightest intrest in medieval social portraits. Well, Noah Gordon opened my eyes. I travelled through medieval Europe with Rob J. Cole (as I would later do with his descendant Shaman in America) all the way to Persia. How people dressed, ate, how they lived, the relationship with the Jewish community. The remarkable writing style ensured that the length of the book merely made it more appealing. The longer I spent re ...more
I love historical fiction. I love to learn about religion in historical fiction. I loved this book!
This book takes place during the 11th century in Europe. It is about a Christian man who disguises himself as a Jew in order to go to a Muslim school of Medicine in the Middle East. It was so interesting to learn how these three major religions interacted with each other during that time in history.

There is one problem with the book though: there is a lot of sexually explicit content. Since this bo
Inés Izal
Apr 22, 2014 Inés Izal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Mi querido padre, que es muy amante de la novela histórica, me recomendó hace muchísimo tiempo que leyera este libro, pero viendo las casi 800 páginas que lo componen, me daba "pereza-miedo-vaguería"
Pensaba que iba a ser un aburrimiento en mayúsculas por el tiempo en que Noah lo escribió, mucho drama, mucho sufrimiento y tal.
Pero terminado, sólo puedo decir:
Este libro es una oda a la superación, a la lucha constante de un hombre para conseguir cumplir su sueño, que es dedicarse a la medicina.
Y e
Tom Gonzalez
Apr 24, 2007 Tom Gonzalez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like historical fictions and adventures
Noah Gorgon's ability to transport you back into the dark ages is a result of talent and insightful research.
This is a story of a young man born in London during the reign of King Knute and his transformation throughout his life to become Hakim, the Persian word for Physician. For a Christian, to become a physician was deemed sacrilegious by the all powerful church, and the Islamic world would kill infidels on sight. The protagonist, Rob J Cole, had to become something altogether different than
Miquel Reina
The Physician is the first book of the excellent trilogy (Cole Family) of Noah Gordon I read. A book that I highly recommended if you like such novels "The Pillars of the Earth" in which generations of different eras are mixed, the history of medicine and exciting travel through exotic places.

Spanish version:
El Médico es el primer libro de la excelente trilogía del escritor Noah Gordon. Un libro muy recomendable si te gustan las novelas tipo "Los Pilares de la Tierra" en el que se mezclan gener
Jun 26, 2012 Audrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
I found this book when I looked for something similar to Follets "Pillars of the Earth" and I'm really glad I read it. Both the medieval setting in Britain and the fact that you accompany the protagonist for a long period of his life are aspects this book has in common with "Pillars of the Erath". But as the story goes on it also teaches the reader a lot about the islamic and jewish religion at that time, as well as about the medical practices in the medieval era, which is really interresting. A ...more
DNF page 70 of 618.

I was sick of juggling balls.

Where are the guts? The blood? The everything?

I loved the movie, though.

But they have nothing to do with each other.
Jeane Rhodes
Jun 09, 2013 Jeane Rhodes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've completed the entire trilogy and highly recommend it. The Physician was the lead-in to a multi-generational story that is well researched and beautifully written. I'm ready to read all three again.
Rick Slane
Historical-fiction adventure travelogue explores 11th century relationship of three major religions. It's a page turner.
Nuno Chaves
Ler o Físico foi uma experiência única.

É um livro que agarra desde a primeira página. Logo no início veio-me á lembrança os factos ocorridos em “Os Pilares da Terra”e mais adiante outros narrados em “A casa da Luz e da Sombra”.

São criados laços fortes com o protagonista Rob Cole como se de um nosso parente se tratasse, um jovem rapaz orfão de pai e mãe que fica a braços com os irmãos de quem infelizmente também terá de se separar, mas eis que surge um Barbeiro-Cirurgião uma espécie de curandeiro
Jul 13, 2016 Carmo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rob J. tinha um dom.
Desde criança que Rob. J. pegava nas mãos dos doentes, e podia sentir se a morte estava próxima. Sentia também uma grande curiosidade em relação às doenças; como surgiam, como evoluíam, o desejo de encontrar a melhor forma de aliviar o sofrimento e, se possível, curar os doentes.
Esta vontade levou-o a perseguir um sonho, impossível para muitos. Sem família nem nada que o prendesse a uma Inglaterra atrasada e ignorante, nos primórdios do séc XI, lançou-se à aventura e, montado
Una obra fantástica, tanto en lo referido a la historia que contiene y su protagonista como a su calidad literaria, pues la tiene, sin abusar de recursos estilísticos pero con un tratamiento del lenguaje placentero y bastante bien estructurado.

La manera en que adentra al lector en diferentes culturas, ámbitos religiosos y paisajes es hermosa, quizá no espectacular como otros autores han conseguido, pero sí muy bien desarrollada. El argumento sobre el que se sustenta la trama es especialmente or
Aug 22, 2012 Mehdir rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Physician can easily be ranked as one of the most racist, prejudicial, erroneous, and contradictory novels, yet to be written on the East (the Others).

Islam and Persia are grotesquely sexualized. Domes on the mosques are described as body parts. Inappropriate sexuality is described as acceptable, desirable, “very sensible,” to the Persians, when the king recalls a childhood memory with a tone, frighteningly close to fondness (380). One would question the author’s motives in making the King
Bob Martin
Dec 30, 2013 Bob Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A boy born in London about the year 1000 becomes orphaned at 9 and is apprenticed to a barber-surgeon/traveling entertainer. The boy learns to juggle and play his part, but he wants to learn how to heal people. As an adult his quest takes him across to Persia to the greatest medical university of the time and back again.

Overall, it was a terrific medieval adventure. I did feel it stagnated in the middle, but towards the end it got back on track.
Deborah Pickstone
I generously give 3.5 stars despite the often farcical historical howlers this tale is flooded by because the storytelling is very good. DO NOT READ THIS BOOK and expect to be informed about the era allegedly covered.

I had read it many years ago, around age 10 I think and it was this book that generated my lifelong interest in the history of medecine. To be fair to the author I believe the parts covering Judaism and Arabic medicine of the period are broadly accurate but probably no more than tha
Nos cuenta la vida de Rob J. Cole, un joven londinense del siglo XI, perteneciente a una familia de carpinteros.Rob queda huérfano a los nueve años,con la responsabilidad de cuidar de sus hermanos menores,luego de conseguirle un hogar a éstos,emprende una vida humilde como aprendiz de cirujano barbero,desde entonces siente una gran inquietud por aprender la medicina de la época ,viajará hasta Persia, donde residen los médicos más sabios: Avicena.
Una gran historia,con grandes personajes! y muy en
John Johnston
This was a Goodreads recommendation for me based on my preference for good historical novels that involves a journey filled with experiences and adventure and how these experiences affects the traveler. Set in the 11th Century it chronicles the life of young Rob Cole. Orphaned at nine years of age, he is apprentice to a travelling barber-surgeon (a snake-oil salesman). Rob is with the barber for years, travelling the width and breadth of England, peddling his cure-all and learning all he can of ...more
It took me 4.5 months to read this book, since it's the one I've been reading a page or two at a time on my phone whenever I find myself waiting around and needing a book to read. The style of The Physician made it a good one to savor in such a way. It's going to be really strange reading about someone else now when I find myself waiting, which happens a lot by the way.

Wow, this story really covers a lot of ground - literally. It starts out with a young orphan in the early 11th century who devel
Apr 07, 2013 Marialyce rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: april-2013
I had such great hope for this novel and although it started out well, it continued into a quagmire of long and drawn out story telling. While the premise was fascinating, the author just dragged the story out and included many banal details which slowed down the reader and made one feel like they were crossing the desert to a finish line that kept on getting further and further away.

I never really fully accepted nor found Rob, the main character, very appealing. Granted his life was hard and o
Jun 18, 2015 Zoe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think it took me 5 days none-stop-every-waking-moment to read the story. Of course I had to stop for work but it is a very very very long story. I am a fast reader and even I found this book too long for me.

But the book is a good read. I like historical fictions and really enjoy reading about the times and places in this book. What I did not like so much was the romance bit. I do not like a half-way jobs (of course, half-way jobs by my definition only). If it is a romance then please be a rea
Noah Gordon não é Ken Follett, e é uma pena, pois esta história merecia uma escrita com mais qualidade...

Mas a escrita de Gordon é apenas mediana e, para piorar as coisas, esta tradução é inacreditavelmente má. Para além dos exemplos que fui registando nos updates ao longo da leitura, há inúmeras frases que mais parecem ter saído directamente dum tradutor automático. Como é possível que esta tradutora tenha sido paga por um trabalho tão medíocre? Nos créditos dizem que a tradução foi cedida pela
Apr 06, 2016 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, middle-ages
More 3.5/5, This was a very good story of an orphan, Rob Cole, in 11th century England. He apprentices with a barber-surgeon, Barber, travelling all over England. He feels there is more to doctoring than what Barber can teach him and heeds the call to be a physician after he KNOWS by just holding a sick person's hands whether they'll die soon or not. He wants to study with Avicenna, the famous medieval Persian physician; this obsession is so overwhelming, he makes the long journey to Persia--thr ...more
Jul 13, 2012 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good medieval historical fiction. The things I like about this book were:
-The characters were believable and well developed and acted like the time period they were in. (I don't like it when an author makes his characters act and feel like modern day people)
-Rob, the main character, tells the story from a more "middle class" perspective, which is a nice change since most historical fictions I read are either told from the perspective of the privileged few or from a serf or peasant (which
Jan 23, 2013 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was captivated by this book. Although, as the author states in the acknowledgements, there is not a great deal known about details of the practice of medicine during the Middle Ages, I found what was written was interesting. The daily life of those living during this time is realistically presented. I'm certainly glad I don't have to endure the hardships, dirt & foods they had. The long journey that Rob J Cole made to Persia to study medicine was a little unbelievable, but during that peri ...more
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  • Das zweite Königreich
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  • Die Kastellanin (Die Wanderhure, #2)
  • La catedral del mar
  • When Christ and His Saints Slept  (Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine, #1)
  • La herencia de Eszter
  • The Beacon at Alexandria
  • Africanus: el hijo del Cónsul (Publio Cornelio Escipión, #1)
  • The Plague Tales (The Plague Tales, #1)
  • The Last Cato
  • A Sport of Nature
Noah Gordon is an American novelist. Some of the topics covered within his novels include medical history and medical ethics. More recently he has begun to focus more on themes relating to the Inquisition, and Jewish cultural history. His novel Shaman won the first James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical Fiction in 1993.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads databas
More about Noah Gordon...

Other Books in the Series

Cole Family Trilogy (3 books)
  • Shaman (Cole Family Trilogy, #2)
  • Matters of Choice (Cole Family Trilogy, #3)

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“And though you study medicine for a score of lifetimes, there will come to you people whose illnesses are mysteries, for the anguish of which you speak is part and parcel of the profession of healing and must be lived with.” 4 likes
“I think of the separation between life and Paradise as a river,” Mirdin said. “If there are many bridges that cross the river, should it be of great concern to God which bridge the traveler chooses?” 4 likes
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