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(Cole Family Trilogy #2)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  11,288 ratings  ·  502 reviews
Robert Jeremy Cole, the legendary doctor and hero of "The Physician, " left an enduring legacy. From the11th century on, the eldest son in each generation of the Cole family has borne the same first name and middle initial and many of these men have followed the medical profession. A few have been blessed with their ancestor's diagnostic skill and the "sixth sense" they ca ...more
Paperback, 652 pages
Published July 1st 2001 by Little, Brown Book Group (first published 1992)
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  11,288 ratings  ·  502 reviews

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Shaman (Cole Family Trilogy #2), Noah Gordon
Robert Jeremy Cole, the legendary doctor and hero of The Physician, left an enduring legacy. From the 11th century on, the eldest son in each generation of the Cole family has borne the same first name and middle initial and many of these men have followed the medical profession. A few have been blessed with their ancestor's diagnostic skill and the "sixth sense" they call The Gift, the ability to know instinctively when death is impending. The tragedy
May 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've ever read. It was hard to put it down. This is the second book in a trilogy, and I intend to read them all. The book tells the story of a doctor during the Black Hawk wars and Civil War. The descriptions of medical practices, homesteading, army prison camps, etc. are very well researched and woven into the story beautifully. If you love historic novels, this is a must read. ...more
Sarah Goodwin
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There's something weird about Gordon's novels, they sit on the shelf, looking hefty and imposing. It takes me forever to start one, but once I do, I steam through, luxuriating in every page.

I loved The Physician with a passion, and this is another great book by the same author. At times events seem similar to those in the first book, but this novel holds its own as well. I found the small moments of humor very good indeed, and also loved the pioneer elements, as that's one of my favorite things
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oooo! This, the second book in Gordon's Cole Trilogy is even better than the first, "The Physician." There is an 800-year time lapse between the two books; so you don't need to read the first book in order to appreciate "Shaman." Maybe I enjoyed "Shaman" so much because it covers a period of U.S. history that I'm familiar with. Shaman is the son of Rob J. Cole, who immigrated from Scotland. When he dies we learn of his life through diaries which Shaman finds. There is much interesting data about ...more
Oct 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the second of a trilogy. What a great storyteller author Noah Gordon is! The story begins with the death of Rob J. Cole, who is The Physician ( the first book). Shaman is the younger of the two sons, and this book is about him. He is deaf due to a childhood illness. He wants to become a doctor like his father was. His father says that can never happen because he is deaf, but he is determined. He applies at just about every medical school there is and is finally accepted, with conditions. ...more
May 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
As other reviewers have noted, this book takes place over 800 years after The Physician. As the novel begins, Dr. Robert Judson Cole (Rob J.) flees from his native Scotland for the New Word in the mid-1800's. He begins his medical career in Boston working with Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. and the indigent, immigrant population. Soon thereafter, Rob J. leaves Boston to see the West. He settles in Holden's Crossing, Illinois and establishes his medical practice. While in Holden's Crossing, he be ...more
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful book to read. Two amaizing and unforgetable characters, descendant from that first Rob J. Cole we meet at The Physician, shared his same name and the passion for medicine. They both follow they heart and believes. Robert J. Cole (father) is forced to leave his natal Scotland and travel to the new world for political reassons, there he travels to Boston fist and then to the west, where he get in touch with a native american tribe...
And then there was Chaman (Robert Jefferson
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was really, really good! I liked the first one, called The Physician, but this was totally different. Same kind of story, okay, so maybe not 'totally' different, but had a different feel to it, because this takes place here in the states in the 1830s-60s. Lately this is a favorite time period of mine to read about. Only a few years ago, I would have thought a book like this would be boring. There certainly isn't much action or thrills. This is merely a historical drama, a coming of age, a ...more
Miquel Reina
Nov 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shaman is the second book in the trilogy of Noah Gordon about the Cole Family and their narrow relationship with medicine. It's a good book that mixes adventure, epic drama, history and above all, good stories about the world of medicine. It's a novel of fluent reading that makes you wanting to continue with the third part of the trilogy, that for sure won't disappoint you!

Spanish version:
Shaman es el segundo libro de la trilogía de Noah Gordon sobre la familia Cole y su estrecha relación con l
Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
The second of the trilogy, I started this one directly on the heals of the "The Physcian". I was startled at first by the jump in time, but realized immediately that it's becuase there was another medical 'moment' to be recorded. Gordon has a talent for drawing the 'time'. The characters are real, but the element that makes his books truly remarkable i s the history. The 'first person' point of view on the situations and morays of the past. I loved it.. and moved DIRECTLY onto the third.... ...more
Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
If this is historical fiction, so is Gunsmoke. I think watch in Dr.Quinn Medicine woman, Little House on the Prairie or Bonanza would be a better use of time, I'm sure you could find similar story lines. I don't look to TV for intellectual depth and often prefer shows that don't require much brain activity but I like books with depth. According to this book, American soil must be bad for the soul. Only recent immigrants should apply for sainthood. Funny, the book points out Anti- Catholicism and ...more
Dec 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to say I'm quite disappointed with the book. I expected much more after having read "The Physician" and having heard that the second book of the trilogy is even better. What I loved about the first book was that it absolutely captured me and pulled me into the story, with a plot thrilling and educating, yet realistic and credible. This time the story is credible too, no doubt, but it isn't half as thrilling or even interesting. Is it, because I am European and thus don't feel as linked to ...more
Aug 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Finally finished this marathon of a book.
It is meticulously researched, as is typical of Noah Gordon, but I didn't find this book as accessible and readable as The Physician. Many of the links with the Cole family were there, and the role of the doctor at war was beautifully portrayed, with all of the clinical, moral and ethical dilemmas graphically demonstrated.
My main difficulty is that the writing style was very clunky, and the book is just too long, with a great deal of time spent on Dr Col
Sep 16, 2017 rated it liked it
it is an amazingly written book and i really did like it but it just doesn't live up to the first one ...more
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gina Basham
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Loved all three books. The Physician my favorite.

The Physician - book one. Amazing story line with characters to love and hate. The main character was so realistic and likable. The descriptions of the times and places were very detailed and it was easy to put yourself there. I loved the progression of the story. Very well written. I would highly recommend.

Shaman - book two. Again, excellent story line. I did enjoy book one more than the second. Very well written. Exciting characters. Interesting
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alan Kaplan
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shaman is the sequel to the Physician by Noah Gordon. But it is an unusual type of sequel. 800 years pass between the first and the second book. One of the descendants of Rob Cole in the first book is now a physician in Boston and then the frontier of Illinois in the 1850's. The physician in this book is also named Rob Cole and he names his son, Rob Cole. The son is nicknamed Shaman by a native American who serves as the elder Rob Cole's nurse/homeopathic healer. This book is Dances with Wolves ...more
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
I've not yet read the first - The Physician - as it is in a long wait list. I thoroughly enjoyed Shaman, finding it believable in every aspect. Personally, my people followed this same route from Scotland to the hardships of pioneering life in Illinois, then beyond. Starving, wandering Native Americans were still evident in these areas as late as 1890's according to family records - therefore, I find the story line factual. After reading only two books by Noah Gordon I'm fast becoming hooked on ...more
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It offers a new vision of the American Civil War which was strange to me. Now, thanks to this book I have researched a little about the topic and know something new by the time I have finished the book.
It is very similar to the first book of the Cole family, yet... the story is quite less interesting and much more "domestic".
John Valesano
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Not quite as good as the Physician, but a good read nonetheless. The novel takes place in the Midwest around the Civil War and is about future generations of the original Cole family found in the first book The Physician.
Jul 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The saga continues

The author weaves together medical history, history of the period and the Cole family's life story beautifully.
I'm looking forward to reading the third book.
Mobeme53 Branson
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Like the first book in this trilogy I struggled between a four and five star rating. I finally decided on four, only giving points off,again, for a little bit of unbelievable situations. That being said, I highly recommend this book as well. This book continues with the family in The Physician but many centuries later. This is set before and after the Civil War. Robert Cole struggles with his conscience as well as his love on a woman who is in many ways his opposite. For example, he is agnostic ...more
Dominik Piotr
To describe the adventures of Shaman and his family wouldn't be enough one long winter evening, I doubt, even two or three would be enough. ;-) This time Gordon drew from a turbulent period in the history of the United States of America - marginalization of the Indians, social friction and the American Civil War. He skillfully combined what was a pure figment of his imagination with what was included in history textbooks. Most often they were loose references to past events. The book isn't coars ...more
Ananya Mandal
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I was reading this sweeping saga when America's democracy was threatened. What a coincidence! This is a story if a deaf child's growing up into a doctor in the 1800's during the American civil war. I had devoured the first part of the Cole trilogy (The Physician) and then this. Highly recommended for historical fiction lovers and especially a wonderful read for medical historical fiction lovers like me. ...more
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this book down! I loved the characters; I love the fusion of history, medicine, and religion in Gordon's novels. I can't recommend them more highly.

Reading the reviews though, make me think it's best not to read the third one. I just can't deal with the let down of a weak ending to two perfect books in a trilogy.
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, book-group
I really enjoyed this book. The story unfolded slowly, but the characters were totally compelling. The book was well researched historically and I felt I learnt a lot about the period, always an added bonus. I think I will definitely be interested to tackle the other two books in the trilogy at some point.
Patricia Ferreira
I liked this book very much, a historical fiction set in the american civil war, a family of doctors.
Luis Zamarro Fraile
Wonderful read. Well written and beautifully structured.
Lovely established characters and an interesting plot about life in the United States in times of the colonization of the far west and the war of secession.
The pacifist and courageous perspective of Dr. Robert J Cole of this time makes this novel a true referent of historical fiction.
Chrisy Hanbaly
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
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Not just historical 2 5 Jan 11, 2019 02:00PM  

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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

Other books in the series

Cole Family Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Physician (Cole Family Trilogy, #1)
  • Matters of Choice (Cole Family Trilogy, #3)

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“young ones with respect for their digestions. “Well, you can’t feed it to them anymore. It’s gone way too high.” Her mouth became a straight line. “Not so high. It’s well-salted; we’ve eaten worse. If it’s that bad, the others would be sick and so would I.” He knew enough about homesteaders of whatever religious persuasion to hear what she was really saying: the sausage was all there was, they ate spoiled sausage or nothing. He nodded and walked back to his own seat. His food was in a cornucopia twisted from sheets of the Cincinnati Commercial, three thick sandwiches of lean beef on dark German bread, a strawberry-jam tart, and two apples that he juggled for a few moments to make the children laugh. When he gave the food to Mrs. Sperber, she opened her mouth as though to protest, but then she closed it. A homesteader’s wife needs a healthy dose of realism. “We are obliged to thee, friend,” she said. Across the aisle, the blond woman watched,” 2 likes
“experienced,” Rob J. said.” 1 likes
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