Books you must read #5

5. Noah Gordon – The Physician

This book traces the life of 11th century Englishman, Robert Cole, whose mother dies from an, at this time immedicable disease. After the death of his mother Rob starts to live and work with a barber-surgeon and as he travels throughout England with his master, he gets more and more interested in healing and medicine. He comes in contact with Jewish doctors who explain to him that the best universities are in Moslem-ruled Persia, where no Christian may go. Driven by his passion for real medicine, something that he can’t learn from the surgeons in England, Cole overcomes this obstacle by pretending to be a Jew. He makes his way to Persia and starts to study medicine in an arab madrassa. This book offers the full range: history, science, passion, love, religion and war! It is about religious identity, tolerance and the tension between tradition and scientific progress. The writing is so captivating that you don’t want to put it down and feel like you are in the story yourself. BUT: As precise and real as some of the descriptions might sound, keep in mind that it is still historical fiction, so don’t take every word for granted and don’t expect perfect historical research.


“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?”

“If you desire it, you must punish yourself for the sake of learning, seek every advantage in keeping up with the other clerks and in excelling them. You must study with the fervor of the blessed or the cursed.”

You can find the book here:

English version:
The Cole Trilogy: The Physician, Shaman, and Matters of Choice (English Edition)

German version:
Der Medicus: Roman (Die Medicus-Reihe 1)

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