Vintage Treasures: The Healer’s War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

Vintage Treasures: The Healer’s War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

The Healer's War-small The Healer's War-back-small

Elizabeth Ann Scarborough has had a long and fruitful career that stretches back to her first novel, Song of Sorcery, in 1982. Over the next 34 years she produced a virtually book every year, writing over 40 novels and 4 collections, including The Songkiller Saga trilogy, the Godmother trilogy, Nothing Sacred and Last Refuge, and over a dozen novels co-authored with Anne McCaffrey, many in the Acorna series.

Scarborough earned a reputation for dependable and often playful light fantasy, with such novels as The Harem of Aman Akbar (1984), The Drastic Dragon of Draco, Texas (1986), and her cats-in-space series Tales of the Barque Cats. But she was capable of more than that. Scarborough spent five years as an nurse with the US Army, including one year in Da Nang, Vietnam during the war, and in 1988 she turned that experience into The Healer’s War, which became her most acclaimed and celebrated novel. It won the Nebula Award the following year. Kirkus Reviews wrote “Scarborough writes powerfully and convincingly of the war,” and Publisher’s Weekly said,

Army nurse Kathleen McCulley’s… tour of duty at China Beach puts the young woman from Kansas through the usual mixture of empathy for the Vietnamese and anger at the indifference or outright racism of army personnel. The unanticipated twist is a hallucinatory journey through the jungle with a one-legged Vietnamese boy, a battle-seasoned but crazy soldier and a magic amulet given her by a dying holy man. Although its moralizing invites comparison with TV’s MASH and Twilight Zone, Scarborough’s light, fluid storytelling and the authentic, pungent background keep this novel interesting.

The Healer’s War was published in hardcover by Doubleday Foundation in November 1988, and reprinted in paperback by Bantam Spectra 12 months later. It is 313 pages, priced at $4.99 in paperback. The cover is by Braldt Bralds. It is currently available in print and digital formats from Open Road Media. See all our recent Vintage Treasures here.

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