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Eifelheim Mass Market Paperback – August 4, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
Well written with the rich tapestry of the 14th century as its background (as well as the present day), EIFELHEIM may at first put you off because the hard science aspect of the novel really begins on the very first page. If you give it a chance, however, you'll discover a thoughtful, compassionate story with a rich mystery at its core.
Some readers may find the style to be a bit stiff and formal. I wouldn't say that Flynn has a breezy style as a writer but what he lacks in that area he more than makes up for in creating a detailed world for his characters to inhabit. I hadn't read much by Flynn before this novel but immediately dived into one of his earlier novels that I had purchased but didn't quite get around to reading.
The aliens are brought into the story in a very natural way. And they end up...well...I don't want to spoil it. Some turn out to be very sympathetic, some not. The author really lets each alien being become their own "person", and that's a huge part of the charm of the book. It's not your usual "alien" story. Again, I am NOT a fan of alien stories, but these folk are made very "human", most of all through the wonderful narration of the local priest, Dietrich. He's the heart of the story, and combining a holy man with aliens from a distant world seems odd, but by this author's hand, it is made marvelous and believable.
If you enjoy historical fiction, and you enjoy stories about alien visitors, with a difference, I highly recommend it! It's extremely well written. I kept a German dictionary with me while I read, however I think a medieval German dictionary would be more to the point.
Definitely an unputdownable read, for me.
Unfortunately, mashing together two completely different books works better in theory than in execution. It's like the time on 'Friends' when Rachel made the trifle - you know, lady fingers, yum, shepherd's pie, yum, together? Gag. "Eifelheim" isn't exactly bad, but it's not really very good, either.
The action is intercut between the present, during which passive-turning-aggressive couple Tom (historian) and Sharon (physicist) complain and aggravate each other over the frustrations in their respective research fields, only to discover that they each hold the key to solving the other's problems (and let's hear a cheer for having the hard-scientist in the couple be the woman, for once!), and the fourteenth century, where the priest of a small German village finds his faith tested by the arrival of strange beings from beyond the stars. The 'now' portions of the book constitute only about a fifth, with the remaining 80% focusing on the drama taking place in Oberhochwald, which will eventually be abandoned and renamed "Teufelheim," or "Devil's Home," before being corrupted into the titular "Eifelheim."
The aliens themselves remain enigmatic throughout; we learn very little about them or where they come from. That's partly because, with the exception of Father Dietrich, few of the villagers they come in contact with particularly care about where the aliens come from - besides Hell, of course. Most are convinced - and can you blame them? - that the aliens are demons, and the only controversy is whether they present a danger to the village, or a chance at salvation. This being the mid-1300s, history buffs know what comes next, and it ain't pretty.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Rarely have I encountered a piece of historical fiction so well-researched, believable and provocative. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Dr. Heather Stein
A very original and well told story. This is a smart read, take your time and enjoy it.Published 13 days ago by T. Pilotte
Extraordinary juxtaposition of mediaeval culture with modern academics. One identifies with both cultures as a complex detective story is played out.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I read the book with a great deal of interest. I found the story enjoyable. There is one jarring point on the book where the author does a major change with point of view. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
"Eifelheim" is TWO books in one package - an engrossing, meticulously-researched and well-written tale of first contact with aliens in 14th Century Germany, and a parallel... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Danny_R
Excellent writing, juicy premise. It's not an action-packed plotline, but it's an intellectual delight. Read morePublished 5 months ago by F. Krasowska
This book kept me riveted to my seat. It's a great story for anyone interested in humanity and how we see others. It's best for 17 yr old and up because of the reading level. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Pfishhands
Micheal Flynn displays a wonderful talent for characterization in this novel, which is impressive combined with the hard sci-fi elements and the rich historic elements. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Catherine M. Cousino