A diamond cutter and seller from a long, respected line of precious-gem dealers, New Yorker Harry Hopeman is intrigued by the story of the so-called “Jerusalem Diamond,” a magnificent yellow jewel rumored to date back to the biblical time of King Solomon. So when he’s asked to broker a deal that will return the legendary gemstone to Israel, he eagerly accepts.
Arriving in the volatile Middle East, Hopeman soon discovers that his assignment will be anything but easy. Representatives of the Holy Land’s three major religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—are all laying claim to the priceless jewel that once adorned the miter of Pope Gregory, and they will do anything to possess it.
Partnering with Israeli government agent Tamar Strauss—a beautiful and courageous Yemenite war widow who inspires the visiting American’s passion as well as his respect—Hopeman is soon entangled in a web of mystery and intrigue that crosses continents and stretches back thousands of years. As the duo follows the twisting travels of the gem and the bloody conflicts it has ignited throughout its extraordinary past—a history that intertwines with Hopeman’s own family saga—the story of a breathtaking land and its people unfolds in all its drama and glory.
International-bestselling author Noah Gordon—whose acclaimed historical novel The Physician was the inspiration for the major motion picture of the same name starring Ben Kingsley— “has packed a suspense tale with religious, historical and archeological underpinnings, along with fascinating insights into an industry whose conduct is generally shrouded from outside scrutiny” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).
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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 strange gift—an acute sensitivity to impending death—never leaves him, and he yearns to become a healer.
Arab madrassas are the only authentic medical schools, and he makes his perilous way to Persia. Christians are barred from Muslim schools, but claiming he is a Jew, he studies under the world’s most renowned physician, Avicenna. How the woman who is his great love struggles against her only rival—medicine—makes a riveting modern classic.
The Physician is the first book in New York Times–bestselling author Noah Gordon’s Dr. Robert Cole trilogy, which continues with Shaman and concludes with Matters of Choice.
Dr. Robert Judson Cole travels from his ravaged Scotland homeland, through the operating rooms of Boston, to the cabins of frontier Illinois. In the wilderness he befriends the starving remnants of the Sauk tribe, who have fled their reservation. In the process, he absorbs their culture and learns native remedies that enrich the classical medical education he received at Edinburgh University. He marries a remarkable settler woman he had saved from illness. The details of how their deaf son manages to become a physician also, despite his handicap, and the story of how the Cole family is sucked into the bloody vortex of the Civil War and survives, makes an exceptional reading experience.