Eaters of the Dead Mass Market Paperback – Sep 12 1988
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Michael Crichton takes the listener on a one-thousand-year-old journey in his adventure novel Eaters Of The Dead. This remarkable true story originated from actual journal entries of an Arab man who traveled with a group of Vikings throughout northern Europe. In 922 A.D, Ibn Fadlan, a devout Muslim, left his home in Baghdad on a mission to the King of Saqaliba. During his journey, he meets various groups of "barbarians" who have poor hygiene and gorge themselves on food, alcohol and sex. For Fadlan, his new traveling companions are a far stretch from society in the sophisticated "City of Peace." The conservative and slightly critical man describes the Vikings as "tall as palm trees with florid and ruddy complexions." Fadlan is astonished by their lustful aggression and their apathy towards death. He witnesses everything from group orgies to violent funeral ceremonies. Despite the language and cultural barriers, Ibn Fadlan is welcomed into the clan. The leader of the group, Buliwyf (who can communicate in Latin) takes Fadlan under his wing.
Without warning, the chieftain is ordered to haul his warriors back to Scandinavia to save his people from the "monsters of the mist." Ibn Fadlan follows the clan and must rise to the occasion in the battle of his life.--Gina Kaysen
From Library Journal
This engaging audio adaptation presents Crichton's (The Lost World) variation on the Beowulf tale from the perspective of a contemporary reporter. The narrator, Ahmad Ibn Fadlan, courtier in the court of the Caliph of Bagdad, is detoured from his diplomatic mission and joins a group of Vikings on a heroic quest. Led by their chief, Buliwyf, the band attempts to rid the Kingdom of Rothgar of the dreaded "wendols," or mist monsters. Ibn Fadlan records not only the story of the quest but also his views on Viking life, society, sexual habits, and government. This medieval account is presented in the form of a modern scholarly translation, including an introduction, supporting materials, and footnotes. Crichton's excellent story is further enhanced by George Guidall's superb narration. A great performance and highly recommended for all audio collections.AStephen L. Hupp, Urbana Univ., OH
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
In "Beowulf" this entity was, of course, Grendel, but in "Eaters of the Dead" the monster turns out to be a group of cannibalistic Neanderthals who sow terror everywhere they appear, and with good reason. As in "Beowulf", there is a battle to the finish in which only one side can survive.Read more ›
Because of the footnotes and eyewitness type narrative done in a fictional novel, it's hard to know what customs and beliefs presented are actual and what are totally made up. It all reads as true to life, and I suppose that is what makes it so interesting. I'm going to guess that Crichtons presentation of customs and rituals such as the one in which the Viking men can and do take any of the slave woman at will, often several times a day, is completely made up, a males fantasy indeed, however it makes for interesting reading and I'm sure it's intertwined with some customs that are actually factual.
I saw the movie when it first came out, and that fact didn't diminish the reading of the novel. I'd also like to point out that, unlike Timeline, in which Crichton takes characters back in time in a time traveling machine, this book supposes an eyewitness account of a foreigner traveling to distant lands back at the time the adventure happened and that Crichton merely translated the story for us from several scholarly texts. I liked this approach better as it wasn't as fantastic or as hard to shallow.
In any case, while this book is hardly classical literature, it's a fun read and I give it a good recommendation.
Then I noticed that the story was sounding more and more like Beowulf. In fact, it was like a cross between _Lord of the Rings_ and Beowulf- complete with weapon-forging dwarves in caves. I finally realized that this was what Crichton was trying to do. He was creating a plausible historical verification for the events that occur in Beowulf seen through the eyes of an outside observer. And he did it very well.
At first I found the picture presented of the Vikings to be disgusting. They are presented with no redeeming features at all i.e. dirty, uncouth, treacherous, drunken, lascivious pigs. But then slowly, as they travel on their heros' journey to the far north the characters slowly seem to be transformed. Traits such as humor, honor, and courage begin to show through. This continues until the leader of the party (Buliwyn) appears finally not only as the most classical of questing heroes, but also as the resurrected image of Odin himself.
One other thing little thing, the monsters of the mist being portrayed as cannibalistic, warlike Neanderthals seems a bit far fetched. After all, it seems that the Neanderthalers were a gentle folk who were probably exterminated by Homo sapiens that were not all that dissimilar from the Vikings....
Most recent customer reviews
Fan of the film 13th Warrior, this book did not disappoint. Easy to read and hard to put down, i plowed through this book in 2 week days.Published 8 months ago by Cadoan
An amazing read, fact and fiction blended in a way only the master, Crichton, could do. I have read it several times and get something new from it each time. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Dave Pearson
A person either enjoys books like this or not. Myself I enjoyed this book. the book tells a story based on some of the manuscripts of an Isalmic man who encourters Norsemen. Read morePublished on March 4 2011 by Carol
What a sleeper "What is this madness?" I must say I was stunned when I picked this book up. Read morePublished on July 1 2004 by nesia
Let me begin by saying this is not a true story. While the name of the Arab may appear in history, nothing else follows suit. Read morePublished on June 3 2004 by Benjamin Reeves
Loosely based on writings found that were by an Arab scholar about his interactions with a band of Viking warriors during the time period when the Norsemen were at their raping and... Read morePublished on Feb. 15 2004 by Cwn_Annwn
I did enjoy reading this book but I am very angered by the way the author lied. In the introduction, he claims that this book pretty much was an accurate translation of the... Read morePublished on Nov. 23 2003
The Eaters of the Dead is based partly on fact and largely on imagination. Michael Crichton wrote this story on a dare. Read morePublished on Nov. 7 2003