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Publisher's Summary

Although perhaps best-known for her lightly humorous fantasies and for her collaborations with Anne McCaffrey on the Petaybee series and the Acorna series, Elizabeth Anne Scarborough has also written The Healer's War, a classic novel of the Vietnam War, enriched with a magical, mystical twist, which won the 1989 Nebula Award for Best Novel of 1988. The Minneapolis Star Tribune called it a "brutal and beautiful book". Scarborough herself was a nurse in Vietnam during the war and she draws on her own personal experiences to create the central character, Lt. Kitty McCulley.
McCulley, a young and inexperienced nurse tossed into a stressful and chaotic situation, is having a difficult time reconciling her duty to help and heal with the indifference and overt racism of some of her colleagues and with the horrendously damaged soldiers and Vietnamese civilians whom she encounters during her service at the China Beach medical facilities. She is unexpectedly helped by the mysterious and inexplicable properties of an amulet, given to her by one of her patients, an elderly, dying Vietnamese holy man, which allows her to see other people's "auras" and to understand more about them as a result. This eventually leads to a strange, almost surrealistic journey through the jungle, accompanied by a one-legged boy and a battle-seasoned but crazed soldier. By the end of the journey, McCulley has found herself and a way to live and survive through the madness and destruction.
©1988 Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

Nebula Award, Best Novel, 1989

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By pat on 07-18-18

This book was great

This book was great. I have given it five stars. Wish I could have given it six

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5 out of 5 stars
By Sue on 05-30-18

Holy Cow this was good

Anne Scarborough didn't just write a fantasy novel. She wrote a what should be one of the great American novels. A powerful story with all of the pain and agony of war with characters that will challenge your assumptions, are true to themselves AND the story, and will live in your brain long after you put this book down.

Like the Forever War author Joe Haldeman, Anne draws on her experience in Vietnam to build a story that arcs perfectly and is truly worthy of the Nebula Award, an award given by peers to great work. This book does not appeal to the readers desire to tell familiar and safe stories, this book challenges the reader to come along on the journey.

No spoilers, but beginning, middle and end are all everything you could want, even if you didn't know you wanted it.

As a man, reading the world from a real woman's perspective, I was at times, saddened as I recognized the truth in her words. All men are not stupid boors, but when they are, she cuts them no slack, shows them for what they are and you can feel the humiliation that must have been heaped on women in the war theater.

She speaks truth to power in this book without letting her character do it, the story does it. I am in awe and have just bought another Scarborough book. This one was a pleasure.

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1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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