Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Physician” as Want to Read:
The Physician
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Physician (Cole Family Trilogy #1)

4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  17,666 ratings  ·  949 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)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Physician, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Physician

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chrissie by: Lauren
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
Tom Gonzalez
Apr 24, 2007 Tom Gonzalez rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Inés Izal
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
Carmo Santos
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
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
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
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
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
Jeane Rhodes
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.
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
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
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
Bob Martin
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.
Rick Slane
Historical-fiction adventure travelogue explores 11th century relationship of three major religions. It's a page turner.
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
O Físico conta a história de um jovem inglês, orfão e separado dos seus irmãos numa Inglaterra do séc XI. Rob J. Cole torna-se aprendiz de barbeiro-cirurgião, percorrendo todo o território inglês vendendo os seus préstimos e espectáculos. Ao longo dos anos, Rob trava conhecimento com físicos e com a sua profissão, e o seu fascínio pela cura torna-se mais forte e encaminha-o numa busca pela aprendizagem da cura. Rob tem um dom especial: consegue sentir a vitalidade de qualquer pessoa, e essa voca ...more
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
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
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
Kerstin Scheuer
Das Hörbuch gefiel mir tatsächlich noch einen Tick besser als das Buch. Es ist ein so umfangreiches Werk, dass ich es als sehr angenehm empfand, es vorgelesen zu bekommen.

Auch eignet sich der Erzählstil Gordons sehr gut für eine Umsetzung als Hörbuch. “Der Medicus” enthält lange Erzählweise mit wenig wörtlicher Rede. So fällt es leicht dem Erzähler zu folgen.

Frank Arnold spricht den Roman sehr gut ein. Er hat einen weichen, angenehmen Tonfall und ein ruhiges, unaufgeregtes Erzähltempo. So fällt
John Valesano
Really enjoyed this book. It's rather long but doesn't seem so when you're reading it. Almost hated finishing it. I wanted to read more and fortunately the author continues the family story in America, a few generations later with Shaman. The author keeps you interested with different locations throughout Europe and the middle east and the main character Rob Cole's education and life long goal to become a physician. The historical timeframe of this book in the 11th century is also interesting. L ...more
For the first third of this book, I thought I'd found the book that I never wanted to end. Absolutely perfect, could have ended right there and five stars. But then it went on to have some picaresque in foreign climes and with a nice, but only nice, love story. So disappointing, and the denouement on a sheep farm, for God's sake, why has he studied so long? Where is the conflict he transcends or is consumed by? A completely awesome first act, deflated by the final two thirds, which is all the mo ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
2015 Reading Chal...: The Physician by Noah Gordon 1 9 Mar 28, 2015 05:16AM  
Historical Accuracy 4 60 Sep 23, 2014 06:24AM  
Need discussion questions 4 51 Jul 18, 2014 02:05PM  
Need bookclub questions for !The Physician" 9 107 Jul 18, 2014 02:03PM  
Córdoba: El Médico 1 8 Jul 26, 2013 10:16AM  
  • Das zweite Königreich
  • Die Puppenspieler
  • Die Wanderhure
  • When Christ and His Saints Slept  (Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine, #1)
  • La herencia de Eszter
  • The Plague Tales (The Plague Tales, #1)
  • The Beacon at Alexandria
  • A Sport of Nature
  • Danube: A Sentimental Journey from the Source to the Black Sea
  • The Assyrian
  • Tod und Teufel
  • Die Spur der Hebamme (Hebammen Saga, #2)
  • The Last Cato
  • In Pursuit of the Green Lion (Margaret of Ashbury, #2)
  • Within the Fetterlock
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)
Shaman (Cole Family Trilogy, #2) The Last Jew Matters of Choice (Cole Family Trilogy, #3) La bodega The Rabbi

Share This Book

“A técnica da castração era básica. Na sua mão esquerda o cirurgião prendia o objecto a ser amputado. Segurando uma lâmina afiada na mão direita, ele removia as partes com um único golpe da lâmina, já que a velocidade era essencial. Um cataplasma de cinzas quentes era imediatamente colocado sobre a área a sangrar, e o macho fora para sempre alterado” 3 likes
“Esta Pérsia parecia tentar fazer de cada homem um cornudo, à vez” 2 likes
More quotes…