The wait is over. If you pre-ordered the book, it will be on your kindle already. The paperback will be out later today.
Well maybe that’s a very confident statement…
Anyway, here are the reviews so far:
The Healer by Christoph Fischer is a book you must read as soon as it is released. You do not want to run the risk that the buzz about the book will spoil this thriller for you. The book is, of course, well-written. It’s a quick read that you will want to hurtle through in an afternoon, or over a weekend. At its core are interesting, enigmatic characters, and a clever plot. The story is told from the point of view of the main character, Erica Whittaker, who in midlife is diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. It comes as no surprise that she’s desperate. Traditional medicine has nothing more to offer her. She is about to give up and accept her fate when, at the urging of her devoted office assistant, Hilda, Erica decides to pursue another path. That path takes her to the door of a once-renowned faith healer, Arpan. Using a different name, the man is, virtually, a recluse. A man with a mysterious past, Arpan also possesses a great gift, as testimonials from previous recipients of his healing bear out. He is, at first, reluctant to treat Erica. When he finally takes Erica on as a client, his treatment unleashes a series of unfortunate events, as big pharma and other opponents from his past, line up against him. Erica, who has secrets of her own, soon finds herself caught up in a web of intrigue, being stalked, cornered, and manipulated, fighting for her life. Will she survive? What will happen to Arpan, and those around him? You’ll have to read the book, of course, to find out. Quite entertaining and well worth the read, this book is highly recommended.
When advertising executive Erica Whittaker is diagnosed with terminal cancer, western medicine fails her. The only hope left for her to survive is controversial healer Arpan. She locates the man whose touch could heal her but finds he has retired from the limelight and refuses to treat her. Erica, consumed by stage four pancreatic cancer, is desperate and desperate people are no longer logical nor are they willing to take no for an answer. Arpan has retired for good reasons, casting more than the shadow of a doubt over his abilities. So begins a journey that will challenge them both as the past threatens to catch up with him as much as with her. Can he really heal her? Can she trust him with her life? And will they both achieve what they set out to do before running out of time?
The story opens with Erica, a pancreatic cancer patient, having just finished a bout of radiation. She is out in the Wales’ countryside in search of a Guru healer, Arpan. The lush countryside descriptions and crisp dialogue instantly drew me into the story, as well as my instant liking and empathy for the protagonist Erica, who’s desperate to find a cure to her illness. Arpan is her answer and when she is immediately rejected by him, his icy voice (coming from inside his humble dwelling) jumps off the page as she begs, “I’m very ill. You are my only hope,” he responds, “You’ve come to the wrong place.” She continues to beg him to share his gift, to save her life, even with this, he asks her to leave. How can one not want to continue reading this story to find out what happens, so thick is the initial tension and conflict that drives the story. When she falls to her knees and he softens a little she says his name and he again rejects her stating that his name is Amesh, one that suits him better. He explains that the man who could help her disappeared with the name, garnering some sympathy for this character, leaving the reader to wonder what his story is and why he is so resistant to helping this struggling, suffering woman. Finally, he comes out of his home and they meet. He’s not what she expected, a bare shell of the man she’d seen images of, a mere reflection of his earlier self as Arpan.
When Amesh’s apprentice, Anuj, leads her off the property there is much rich and wise dialogue, “I’m his apprentice and I, too, can see the disorder in your life that needs to be rectified. You carry hurt and anger with you. Your disease has prompted you to fast track those issues and sort them out. Look into your heart and you will find this to be true.”
Her car is broken down and she is told to walk to the nearest place but when she arrives no one is there so she returns to Amesh’s place. Then Amesh, invites her in to rest. When she felt Amesh’s hands on her shoulders, the warmth of his hands radiated powerfully through her body. And thus, the healing begins—for both of them. As the author Christoph Fischer moves the story along, we encounter mysterious events, intrigue, and the power of the mind interspersed into scenes and dialogue. When all is said and done, and Erica returns to have her follow-up scans, an unfriendly doctor challenges her with, “What is it you want from this scan,” Dr Kowalski asked, still in a tone that sounded unfriendly. “The notes from your doctor indicate clearly that the tumor is very advanced, and you know that. So why are we looking at it again? Is it a second opinion you want, or do you want to see how fast it grows?” No spoilers with how this all turns out but one can surmise they will be glued to the page as they navigate through corruption, betrayal, illusions, and one mystery after another, right up to the very last sentence in the epilogue, which I didn’t see coming. This was an interesting read, a very satisfying read, with so much of the human condition playing into the scenes: desperation, fear, hope, joy, conniving, greed, and trust. Another great story by the talented Christoph Fischer.
One of the best books I’ve read in a while, and written by a true craftsman, who knows his stuff. Set in UK and Europe, The HEALER covers areas that fascinate me, both geographic and medical, but from a whole new perspective. The research is detailed, and the plot has me wondering just what the various characters’ truths are. We have Erica/Maria as the woman diagnosed with Grade 4 pancreatic cancer seeking a miracle cure. And her workplace junior, Hilda, who becomes her best friend and support. Enter Amesh/Arpan, the hippy guru-styled healer, who believes he has lost his healing mission due to pharmaceutical giants, who in turn feel their empire is under threat if this healer is not completely shut down. But then again, with all their backing millions, they have been trying for a score of years or more, and Arpan has survived. Sure he went to ground, but… So add in his protégé, Anuj, who is more like a son to Arpan than protégé. Then there are the friends who are not as they first appear, and the enemies who are not as they first appear.
So deftly woven is this story as to make an early assumption naïve.
I am a great fan of Fischer’s books, and know that when I choose one, I will not in any way be disappointed. This is yet another, to join my growing select collection.
I have read several books by this author, enjoyed all of them but ‘The Healer’, by far, is my favorite. In this novel, author Christoph Fischer, tackles a subject near and dear to my heart; the medical profession and the impact of physician decision making on individuals particularly those with severe medical conditions and diseases.
In Fischer’s novel, we meet Erica in the aftermath of a round of chemotherapy intended to treat her pancreatic cancer. Readers learn very quickly that Erica is seeking the impossible; healing. We empathize with Erica knowing that she has one of the most painful and fatal forms of cancer. While Erica’s “hair had not fallen out from the chemo…it turned gray and made her look much older than she was. People used to think of Erica as at least five years younger than she actually was, now people thought she was five years older. She looked tiny and felt thin and weak.”
Out of desperation and the advice of her assistant, Erica searches for a renown spiritual guru known for his non-traditional unusual treatment protocols and more importantly for his fees. She persuades recluse Arpan self re-named Amesh to use his gift to heal her body in exchange for emptying her bank account.
Believing she’s fully healed, Erica returns to her job basically broke but thankful for her life and ability to go forward.
Without spoilers, the author convincingly creates a story line, over and above the medical treatment issues, that revolves around core concepts such as faith, trust, relationships, integrity and more. He craftily develops the plot to allow for suspicion, anticipation and ‘in the box’ conclusions. While it could be easy for many readers to neatly make certain assumptions and form a simple conclusion, I was unable to do so. Perhaps it is because of my familiarity and extreme sensitivity (I must admit) to many of the topics raised in this outstanding novel, I completed the book having a myriad of questions and thoughts. I’d love for the author to have a sequel to this book. If he’d already written it, I would purchase it today!