As "From Mount Olympus to the Moon" opens, Dr. Jonathan Andrews, sailing on board the cruise ship Stella Coronis in 1980, has just been summoned to act as physician to a fellow doctor, Mit Nikon. During the course of their conversation, Mit shares some astonishing news with Jonathan: he claims to be the reincarnation of Aesculapius, son of the Greek god Apollo. According to Mit, during the twilight of the gods they bestowed upon him the gift of near immortality and assigned him a dual mission: to show that medicine, when combined with the proper religious and philosophical background, can be of unparalleled benefit to mankind; and as Jonathon peruses this highly original document, both he and the reader are treated to the history of the many reincarnations of Aesculapius, beginning nearly five thousand years ago.
As Mentep in 1550 B.C., for example, he becomes a medical advisor to Moses. As Luke, in Damascus, Christ shows him how to treat all patients with compassion. As Nicolas Matthaeus in the 12th century, he acquires an unusual education in England at the hands of Friar Tuck, Robin Hood and Little john. As John Hall, he becomes better known as the son-in-law of William Shakespeare than as a physician. And as Edward Jenner he administers the first vaccine.
Dr. Orville Horwitz has written an extraordinary and compelling novel. Combining the history of medicine with all of the friendships and romantic entanglements of Aesculapius's various lives throughout the centuries, Dr. Horwitz's tale is clever, passionately written and informative, educating as it entertains. Whether capturing the dry wit of Shakespeare or the sheer bombast of Paracelsus, Dr. Horwitz's ultimate message to physicians everywhere - that the care of the patient should be of paramount importance - always shines through.