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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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3,431501,572 (3.5)80
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 46 (next | show all)
Crichton's attempt at Beowulf (and adjusting it a bit). Pretty lackluster overall and quite boring. So far my least favorite Crichton novel that I've read. (It's not a 'horrible' novel; its just kind of boring, predictable, and not altogether interesting and even without going into it knowing it was his attempt at Beowulf - you can tell that's what it is by about chapter 5 and you can tell it will already pale in comparison). ( )
  BenKline | Nov 12, 2015 |
At last! [a:Michael Crichton|5194|Michael Crichton|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1359042651p2/5194.jpg] has redeemed himself. After hating [b:Andromeda Strain|7670|The Andromeda Strain|Michael Crichton|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388889327s/7670.jpg|997271], [b:Prey|83763|Prey|Michael Crichton|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1298436337s/83763.jpg|1258566], [b:Jurassic Park|7677|Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park, #1)|Michael Crichton|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348796998s/7677.jpg|3376836], [b:The Lost World|8650|The Lost World (Jurassic Park, #2)|Michael Crichton|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1386864575s/8650.jpg|1212784], and [Congo], I have finally read a book of his I like, and I loved it, could not put it down. A genuine-feeling modernization of Beowulf, so genuine I could not pick out where the Fadlan document ended and the Beowulf reconstruction began. Amazingly consistent, seamless and creative, he nailed an absolutely difficult thing to do. That is, write a real historical fiction of what could have actually taken place a thousand years ago that slowly decayed into myth. My only gripe is with the typical Crichtonesque two paragraph anticlimax, a message to the reader that -- just as with the rest of his books -- he can own a plot all the way up to the summit, then turn around only a few feet away. ( )
  Victor_A_Davis | Sep 18, 2015 |
I'm naturally familiar with Crichton's science fiction, but I wasn't aware of this book until I stumbled upon it in a second-hand shop. Crichton takes the manuscripts of Ahmad Ibn Fadlan, a muslim diplomat who visited the Volga Bulgars in 920 AD and described their culture in writing that has survived today, and combines it with the Beowulf legend. Instead of simply traveling and observing, he gets swept up in a heroes quest to rid a kingdom plagued by the Wendol, a terrifying group of mist monsters that attack in the night when the fog creeps down from the mountains.

The use of Fadlan's manuscripts to bring it to life works fantastically, and it also offers all the insight into Scandinavian culture that you get from the original Beowulf poem. From a scholarly perspective It would probably be a heinous crime to say that Eaters of the Dead is an improvement over Beowulf, but from an average every-day reader's perspective it's a surprisingly worthwhile book. It's an interesting new take on an old myth, and I think it deserves a bit more attention than it has received since it was published nearly 40 years ago. I'm sure classical purists hate it for not being "true" to the original poem, but if you believe that stories should change and evolve along with the culture that's producing it, then this modern version is definitely for you. ( )
  Ape | Jul 25, 2015 |
Engaging from start to finish. The first three chapters are based on the actual account of Islamic traveler, Ibn Fadlan with the remainder of the tale being a contemporary retelling of the story of Buliwyf (Beowulf). Quite excellent. ( )
  phoenixcomet | May 28, 2015 |
Part based on a real manuscript and part fiction, it tells the events of Beowulf as seen from the view of an outsider. Best of its kind, and the subject matter is very dear to me. Illustrations by Ian Miller are absolutely stunning! Wish I could find it with these illustrations in Hardcover. ( )
  unclebob53703 | Jan 25, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Crichtonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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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