This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book describes doctor-doctor relationships as perceived in medical novels. It is concerned with the doctor's knowledge of extra-medical subjects. Even in the Middle Ages, when many doctors were in holy orders, members of the medical profession were usually regarded as lacking in piety. Nineteenth-century doctors were generally portrayed as practising Christian virtues but rejecting traditional religious practices or considering them unimportant. The book also describes the frustrated and demotivated physician. Minor annoyances, such as demanding patients or the latest asinine regulation promulgated by a Health Maintenance Organization, make doctors declare, with mock regret, that they wish they had chosen a different profession. The book deals with physicians who are unable to 'heal themselves'. The male physician-hero is expected to behave as if he were invulnerable and immortal.