The Physician

By Noah Gordon

A young English boy in the Middle Ages discovers that he has an extraordinary, virtually sixth-sense talent for diagnosing extreme illness.  He becomes apprenticed to a travelling barber-surgeon, and eventually realizes that he has a deep and abiding drive to become a full-fledged physician.  And not only a physician, but the best possible physician.  The training he needs is available only in the Muslim world, which is far advanced beyond the European civilization of the time.  But as a European Christian in the time of the Crusades, the young man can travel to Muslim lands only on pain of death if discovered.  With a bit of luck and a great deal of hard work, he develops the ability to pass as a Jew, under the guise of which he travels to Isfahan in Persia to study with a world-renowned Arab physician in a famous Persian university, living the whole time as Jew.

Meticulously researched, this novel by Noah Gordon presents an unparalleled view of medieval life and culture in Europe and the Arab world, in the context of a compelling story and capable writing.