I have been fascinated by the Islamic Golden Age of culture, education, science and research - most especially after I discovered that so many words that we use in science and maths today, come from the Arabic language. Words like Alchemy, algorithm, Gibraltar, zenith, alcohol and alkali. There are even a number of stars and constellations that have arabic names.

This golden age of Islam occurred from the 8th century through to the 14th century of the common era, or shortly after the beginning of the Islamic religion to the beginning of the Renaissance in Western Europe.

But I have also been fascinated by the Renaissance as well and until now I never actually understood why. Now I know. I have always been a life long learner and I value education above almost anything else. And both the Renaissance and the Arab Golden Age were filled with scholars and education and ENLIGHTENMENT.

The hero of this novel is Mathurin Kerbouchard from Armorica (Brittany) in France. The year is 1176 CE at the beginning of the book. His father had been a corsair, but had been captured and sold into slavery four years earlier. His mother was killed and the house was burnt down while Mathurin was away at sea, fishing.

Mathurin had been raised knowing how to read and write and how to navigate and sail, since he was a child. Upon returning from the fishing trip and discovering his mother dead, Mathurin was now free to leave his home to try and find his father.

This book details the adventures of Mathurin as he travels around Europe and the Levant and the Middle East, with the eventual aim of making it to Persia. He was an oarsman slave on a pirate ship, and later a corsair. He learnt a few languages, translated a few books, fought in a few wars. He was even able to infiltrate the famed Alamut fortress - home of the assassins.

Louis L'Amour planned on writing a sequel to this novel but he died before it was written.

In one generation, the Clark family of Virginia and later Kentucky, fought for America's independence, and explored, conquered, and settled the continent from sea to shining sea. This powerfully written book recreates the warm life of the family, the dangers of the battlefield, the grueling journeys across an untamed wilderness, and the soul-stirring Lewis and Clark Expedition. This mighty epic is a fitting tribute to the wisdom and courage of Ann Rogers Clark, her husband John, and the ten sons and daughters they nurtured and inspired. Source - Amazon

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. Rob Cole has two great loves - his medicine and his woman. They are in conflict. Source - Amazon

This book is set a century or two before The Walking Drum. And since I love the Arab Golden Age historical era - this was a totally fascinating novel for me and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

This book has now been made into a movie which was released in Europe in December 2013.
See The Physician - Movie Trailer

I finally got to see the movie in January 2015. While the basics of Rob's time in Isfahan while he learns to become a doctor, do follow the book, the journey between England and Persia are not the same as the book. The Movie missed out all of Rob's travels across Europe to Constantinople where he turned himself into a Jew in order to travel to Isfahan. When he was forced to leave Persia after his training, he did return to London in England. But this is where the movie ended.

In the Book, Rob moved north to Scotland after the Catholic church forced him to leave London. And why Scotland? Well that is another major part of the book that was missing from the Movie. Rob fell in love with two women. The Jewess Rebecca and the Scottish woman, Mary Cullen, whom he had first met on the road to Constantinople. Mary later became Rob's wife in Isfahan, both of them passing as Jews. Mary is not mentioned in the movie at all.

The Movie of 84 Charing Cross Road was released around 1987. I did not read the book until after I saw the movie. I loved them both. So I spent the next 10 years trying to collect all the books written by Helen Hanff. I love her sense of humour and her style of writing. Some of her books are very hard to find.

This is the Official Movie Trailer.
These are various clips from the movie.

The All Souls Trilogy
by Deborah Harkness.
An excellent trilogy about magic, witches, witchcraft, vampires and daemons if you are into that genre. I'm not a vampire lover, but the main vampire in this trilogy still acts like a human rather than as a vampire, which I think is why he has grown on me.
The main reason why I began reading this series ie due to the Ashmolean 782 antiquarian book mentioned in the first volume. The main female character, Diana, discovered this book in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. It is an ancient book, and I love old books and reading about old books. As Helene Hanff once described it - I have an antiquarian taste in books.
Anyway, the story pertaining to the Ashmolean manuscript drew me in, and the characters kept me there, as did the very well researched history of the second book. The final book in the trilogy was published in mid July 2014 - just 2 weeks ago - but I was not able to purchase my copy until today - July 31st.
So far I am just as hooked by the characters in the third book, as I was with both of the two earlier books.
We are not the First by Andrew Tomas.

See my Forbidden History Page for more details.

There did used to be a PDF of this book available online, but it seems to have been removed. I wonder if this knowledge is being censored. I would not be surprised if it is. If you wish to read a PDF of this book, email me (see home page) and I will send you a copy.
Decipher By Stelios Pavlou - Published 2001
The short version of this novel is that the world is about to end in 1 week.
The longer version is that the sun is a pulsar star and every 12,000 years it pulsates, thereby causing major geological upheaval on the planets.
Atlantis was at the height of its civilisation the last time the sun pulsated, and it was destroyed.
That's the origin of the Atlantis legend, and all the flood stories.
It has been 12,000 years since Atlantis was destroyed, and in 1 week, the sun will pulsate again.
Decipher Summary on Wikipedia

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