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Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton

Eaters of the Dead (original 1976; edition 2009)

by Michael Crichton

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3,680561,429 (3.5)84
Title:Eaters of the Dead
Authors:Michael Crichton
Info:Harper (2009), Edition: Reprint, Mass Market Paperback, 179 pages
Collections:Read in 2012

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Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton (1976)

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Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
Basis of a great adventure movie, this is the story of an Arab diplomat who is side-tracked into the land of the Norse as part of an attempt to thwart the attacks of the Eaters of the Dead, a bizarre, dreaded cannibalistic tribe that even makes Vikings fearful. Lots more depth than the entertaining movie, a short but rewarding book filled with great research about Viking life, all wrapped around an exciting battle. In an afterword, Chrichton explains he tried to write a story of an event that could've been the real basis of the classic Beowulf. ( )
  NickHowes | Jun 30, 2016 |
The novel is set in the 10th century. The Caliph of Baghdad (Arabic: المقتدر بالله) sends his ambassador, Ahmad ibn Fadlan (Arabic احمد بن فضلان), to the king of the Volga Bulgars. He never arrives but is instead captured by a group of Vikings. This group is sent on a hero's quest to the north. Ahmad ibn Fadlan is taken along, as the thirteenth member of their group, to bring good luck. There he battles with the 'mist-monsters', or 'wendol', a relict group of Neanderthals.

Eaters of the Dead is narrated as a scientific commentary on an old manuscript. A sense of authenticity is supported by occasional explanatory footnotes with references to a mixture of factual and fictitious sources.

[edit] Sources and inspiration
In an afterword in the novel Crichton gives a few comments on its origin. A good friend of Crichton's was giving a lecture on the 'Bores of Literature.' Included in his lecture was an argument on Beowulf and why it was simply uninteresting. Crichton stated his views that the story was not a bore and was, in fact, a very interesting work. The argument escalated until Crichton stated that he would prove to him that the story could be interesting if presented in the correct way.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Yeah. No. Too many chances, too many failures. Don't. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
This is a quick read. Crichton does a re-telling of the Beowulf story in order to make it exciting for the modern reader. I think he succeeds to some extent. I like having an Arab as the narrator. This gives him the opportunity to contrast Arab and Viking customs. The footnotes are a bit of a distraction but I guess they give the story a quasi-documentary appeal. ( )
  jerry-book | Jan 26, 2016 |
Utter crap. I understand what he was trying to do here, he just didn't do it very well. ( )
  biggs1399 | Jan 19, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Crichtonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Miller, IanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Praise not the day until evening has come; a woman until she is burnt; a sword until it is tried; a maiden until she is married; ice until it has been crossed; beer until it has been drunk."
- Viking Proverb

"Evil is of old date."
- Arab Proverb
To William Howells
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The Ibn Fadlan manuscript represents the earliest known eyewitness account of Viking life and society.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Later reissued as The 13th Warrior
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345354613, Mass Market Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:05 -0400)

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Now a major motion picture from Touchstone Films, starring Antonio Banderas. In the year A.D. 922, a refined Arab courtier, representative of the powerful Caliph of Baghdad, encounters a party of Viking warriors on their journey to the barbaric North. He is appalled by Viking customs--the wanton sexuality of their pale, angular women, their disregard for cleanliness, their cold-blooded human sacrifices. But only in the depths of the Northland does he learn the horrifying truth: he has been enlisted to combat a terror that comes under cover of night to slaughter the Vikings and devour their flesh.… (more)

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