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Eaters of the Dead Mass Market Paperback – April 28, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 the Audio Cassette edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 179 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061782637
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061782633
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (461 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Crichton was born in Chicago in 1942. His novels include Next, State of Fear, Prey, Timeline, Jurassic Park, and The Andromeda Strain. He was also the creator of the television series ER. One of the most popular writers in the world, his books have been made into thirteen films, and translated in thirty-six languages. He died in 2008.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

149 of 157 people found the following review helpful By Stuart W. Mirsky on August 19, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Contrary to what has been said by many of the reviewers here, this book is in fact based on a real manuscript by the Arab traveller ibn Fadlan in the tenth century who made his way from the Caliphate to the shores of the Volga to treat with the Bulgar kingdom which was then ensconced there (apparently to entice the Bulgars away from their Khazar overlords who were then enemies of the Arab empire). This ambassador of the Caliph faithfully recorded much of what he saw among the barbarians, including encounters with the Oghuz Turks and the Norsemen who were then frequent travellers along the rivers of what would one day become Russia. (In fact some thinking has it that the Norse, in the guise of "Rus" -- eytemology unclear -- actually gave their name, along with their ruling princes, to Russia since the first major Russian state, Kievan Rus, was ruled by princes of viking heritage, with the help of second and third generation viking adventurers serving them as mercenaries.) But Crichton's book is not just a reprint of ibn Fadlan's manuscript (which is available, in English, in various scholarly tomes). Crichton enlarged upon the tale he found and appended an apparently fictional second half which takes ibn Fadlan north, in the company of his new-found Norse comrades, to the viking lands, there to face a shadowy menace of unknown origins. In this second half, Crichton blended historical speculation with the Beowulf tale in Old English (the chief of the viking crew which inducts ibn Fadlan is called "Buliwyf") to suggest an ending to ibn Fadlan's adventures which surely never happened. But it's done quite nicely, hard to tell where the real tale ends and the author's fictional enterprise begins, and it keeps you reading right to the final moments.Read more ›
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65 of 71 people found the following review helpful By B. C. Specht on August 11, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Usually I read the book first, then see the movie. Not this time. I was not disappointed.
"The 13th Warrior," movie starring Antonio Bandaras stays very faithful to the book by Michael Crichton. Both are based on a true story taken from the writings of an Arab courtier Ahmad Ibn Fadlan who, back in A.D. 921, was sent by the Caliph of Bagdad to be an ambassador to the King of the Bulgars.
Ibn Fadlan had the bad luck to have caught the eye of a beautiful Arab woman who was the young wife of an old and very rich merchant. The merchant complained to the Caliph and wanted Ibn Fadlan banished to some far off and hostile land. While on his way to his new post, this highly refined, educated Arab poet encounters a band of Viking warriors and gets caught up in a horrific quest traveling to Scandinavia with them to save the people of a remote kingdom from a terrifying enemy. The movie and the book give a wonderful look at the contrasts of these two utterly different cultures. Bandaras delivers a stellar performance as the Arab scholar trying to maintain his dignity under some extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Ibn Fadlan finds the Vikings' crude, vulgar, violent and sometimes blatantly sexual customs and personal habits almost more than he can endure, but he does so with a quiet and sometimes comical dignity that makes him all the more likeable. He comes to respect and even like these giant Northmen, especially their brave leader Buliwyf. Once Ibn Fadlan and the Northmen begin their journey together, the action is almost nonstop.
The book is done in Ibn Fadlan's voice in narrative style. It is a rather matter-of-fact diary of his travels. But don't let that deter you.
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55 of 61 people found the following review helpful By S.Watkins on February 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Eaters of the dead takes place around 922 A.D. The Caliph of Baghdad sends a court member named Ahmad Ibn Fadlan to deliver a message to the King of Bulgars. During his journey, Fadlan stays at a Viking village. Then a lone warrior comes from the North and tells of a terror that kills the Vikings in the night under the cover of night and the mist. Fadlan is then enlisted to fight this horror, against his will. He protests, but to no avail. He journeys to the North with 12 other warriors to Rothgar's Kingdom and helps to defend it form the attacks by the barbaric mist warriors. Then, the group goes on the offensive to slay the mother.
Ibn Fadlan makes this book more interesting and fun to read because he is the total opposite of the Vikings, with whom he stays. He is apalled by their barbaric customs because he is a civilized Arab and the Norsemen are uncivilized. Throughout the story these contrasts are evident. This book proceeds without talking about one subject for too long. I never got bored and there is never a break in the action. The suspense also never stops. I would definitely recommend this book because it gives a great look into the Viking culture while being very entertaing. You won't be able to put it down. Crichton's writing is very fast paced, so this is a great read on a good subject.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Schtinky VINE VOICE on January 20, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
First released in 1976, 'Eaters Of The Dead' was one of my first Michael Crichton books. I have been an avid Crichton fan since that time. Later, in the 1990's, a film was made called 'The 13th Warrior', which remained true to the book and yet added some wonderful flavor and fantastic visuals to a novel I still remembered as terrific. Though based heavily on the rediscovered manuscripts and references of the real Ibn Fadlan, Crichton clearly tells us the book is considered as fiction and was/is marketed as fiction.

Ibn Fadlan was sent away from Bagdad by the Caliph, on the word of a jealous husband who's wife Fadlan had tampered with, to become Ambassador to the King of the Bulgars far to the north. On his journey, he is waylaid by a band of Norsemen and selected to join them on a journey to aid King Rothgar against an unspeakable evil that appears in the cold northern mists.

Traveling with Buliwyf, a man soon to become king of his own court, and a group of twelve hearty Norsemen including the light-hearted Herger who speaks enough Latin to act as translator, Fadlan is taken further north with a band of men the fastidious Arab considers to be unclean barbarians. Fadlan becomes immersed in their savage lifestyles, killing for sport and rutting in public, even gaining some respect for their superstitious ways and bawdy, rugged beliefs.

King Rothgar's lands are being attacked by the Wendol, a Neanderthal-type, cave-dwelling clan who takes the heads of their enemies and eats their flesh. It is up to the thirteen warriors to rid King Rothgar of his dangerous enemies.

'Eaters Of The Dead' is a riveting tale, with enough footnotes and factual base to make it a realistic peek at the ancient Norsemen and a quick, exciting read.
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