The Healers (The Aesculapians, Book One) ~ by Thomas Heric (reviewed by John/JD)
A not-too-futuristic novel set in a world where one company owns and jealously protects all leading-edge medical knowledge.
About: It’s the year 2021. For over 80 years an organization know as the Aesculapians has been pioneering medical research and developing cures for the world’s worst diseases. Comprised of the world’s most brilliant medical minds, the Aesculapians are based on a group of small remote islands in the Pacific Ocean. By using (and developing) the very latest technologies, they have been able to create treatments and cures that seem miraculous to the outside world. And by distancing themselves from all government oversight and control, and by jealously guarding all knowledge of their medical know-how and treatments, they have gradually built up a huge global business empire, selling their cures at exorbitant rates and making them available only to those who are able to pay the price.
Meanwhile, as the Aesculapians go from strength to strength, the traditional medical system is crumbling – weighed down by costs that governments and most people cannot afford, and with doctors who are increasingly viewed as part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
Enter Wesley Anderson, an exceptionally talented medical school graduate, who is approached to become a Healer for the secretive organization. He has many qualms about the morals of the Aesculapians, but is finally convinced to join when they offer to cure his terminally sick father as part of the deal. Once Wesley is on the islands to undergo the rigorous training regime, he becomes even more conflicted – he sees for himself the amazing results that the Healers are able to achieve, but his concerns over the morals and attitudes of the organization grow ever stronger. And then Wesley starts to uncover some very disturbing secrets about the organization’s past and its plans for the future.
Thoughts: The book has a very interesting premise and I like the ideas behind it. The story builds up nicely, and while some of the underlying notions and medical cures are a little far-fetched, they are sufficiently in the realms of “vaguely possible” to keep the momentum going. For me at least, I like futuristic novels to have some level of believability and authenticity.
But then things start to go off at the deep end. The connection with Nazis is a bit silly (I’m not spoiling the plot as there are swastikas on the cover), the grand plan for the future that’s uncovered is too over the top, the action sequences become too much, and some of the character development is unbelievable.
If you like futuristic thrillers with a strong medical bent and aren’t too fussed about the story being believable, you may love this book. For me I’d say that I enjoyed the first two thirds of the book but the final third left me a bit cold. Overall, I’d rate it 2.5 stars.
For publisher and author info on this book please see our introductory post for The Healers. As always John will be addressing any comments around this book. So don’t be forget to check the follow up box.
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