In 1950, an abandoned infant in Vietnam is taken in by a 64-year-old monk, who raises him as his own son. He teaches the boy traditional healing arts and guides him to a number of teachers so that he may learn plant medicine, acupuncture, and Chinese characters. Without his father's knowledge, the boy also studies martial arts and sorcery. When he is 20, his father takes him to a forbidden mountain, where he stays for three years in a cave with his father's teacher, known as Fourth Uncle. Here he learns about the "possibilities of human consciousness." This true story of Van Nguyen's life as a traditional healer in a war-torn country is interesting in itself. Even more important, it is a fine record of traditional Vietnamese life and culture and a glimpse into a world where magic, sorcery, and other realities exist. The narrative was constructed from transcribed conversations between Van Nguyen and Pivar, a Shiatsu therapist who was inspired to record Van Nguyen's story after he saved her son's life. Though the resulting narrative is sometimes stilted and disjointed, the strong character development compensates for this flaw. Recommended for academic and public libraries. Jerry Shuttle, East Tennessee State Univ. Lib., Johnson City Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.