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 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.