Eaters of the Dead
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Eaters of the Dead

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  20,787 ratings  ·  874 reviews
4 cassettes; 5.75 hours; Recorded Books cat# 95882.
Audio Cassette, 0 pages
Published June 1st 1999 by Recorded Books, LLC (first published March 1976)
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Ruli
I have to confess, the first time I read this book I thought it was a real manuscript, and that Crichton was just putting it for us in book form...until I got to the epilogue. That was when I understand that Crichton is an amazing story teller.

Digging around, I found out that Crichton did the book out of a bet that he could not make Beowulf interesting. And what a book he came out with!

The book tells the story of an Arab ambassador Ibn Fadlan, as he traveled from Baghdad and hooked up with a bun...more
Terri
Let me preface this review by saying Eaters of the Dead is not fantasy. It seems often shelved by people as fantasy, but it is not. There are some fantasy 'themes' eg the story is based on Beowulf, and that is all. A whiff of potential fantasy that is no more than a whiff.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, although I think it should nearly be classed as a novella. That is what I regard it as.
The movie The Thirteenth Warrior is a favourite of mine and I was pleased to see it did not drift too far fr...more
Kim
I'd been wanting to read this book ever since I found out the movie The 13th Warrior was based on it. I'm a fan of historical fiction and thought this would be right up my alley. It was a decent read, shorter than I expected and better than the movie. I love the blending at the start of real excerpts from an historical document with the fiction of Beowulf.

It was short though and could have used a bit more depth to the characters and the various cultures. You didn't really care about any of the...more
Karla (Mossy Love Grotto)
This was a book that I had on my shelves for a long time and ditched it unread long ago during a spastic weeding-out. It was a stupid decision, but was no doubt prompted by a quick glance-through that revealed it was written like a manuscript and my mood wasn't simpatico with that at the time. But when I rewatched The 13th Warrior recently, I was reminded yet again that it was a book first, and that I should really really read it. Luckily my liberry had it and I could finally finally read it. Wh...more
Sheila
So I was watching E.R. on NBC, when in the begining a former original cast member came on (Dr. Benton) and expressed condolences for the late Michael Chriton. What? He's dead? I just sat there and cried. This man takes science and makes it accessible and plausable. If you were to take any of his plots, lets say Jurasic Park, and just look at it; you would at first think "Dino's coming back to earth. Yes, it is absurd in a science fiction kind of way." But as you read on you think, "Holy crap! Ca...more
Arun Divakar
In a time when history was an infant, any traveller from a far off land would have been treated a curiosity. To imagine Marco Polo or Ibn Battuta at a place I know of in a time far ago would have been a most amusing thing. This story speaks of one such seemingly unnatural pairing : an Arab in the land of the Vikings. In a time when Baghdad was a shining gem, the Arabs were sophisticated and erudite. They were travellers, warriors, traders and poets and this was built on the intensely fertile int...more
Valerie
Genre: Mythology

A very unique way to write a story, Crichton uses a mix of actual historical documentation and personalised fiction to blend two classic stories together into his own work of hitorical fantasy.

This book overlaps the stories of Beowulf and the documented adventures of historical writer Ahmed ibn Fadlan and merges them into an original story written in the style of Ibn Fadlan's travelogue. What I think is great about this book is that Crichton ties the history so well together wit...more
Terence
Dec 10, 2008 Terence rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Michael Crichton fans
Eaters of the Dead: 2.5 stars

I've only ever actually seen Crichton's work - The Andromeda Strain (the original, not the remake), Jurassic Park, The Great Train Robbery and The 13th Warrior (based on Eaters) - and, technically, I still haven't read him. Based on this novel, I'll still not be reading him any time soon.

Don't get me wrong: It's by no means a bad book. The medievalist in me thinks the conceit of reading an actual, scholarly translation of the travels of Ibn Fadlan, a 10th century Ara...more
Billy
Very well done if you understand Crichton's purpose...,

I think that the confusion with this book arises from the fact that people don't understand what Crichton accomplished. This is a retelling of Beowulf, in a first person, narrative, entertaining form.
The narrator, Ibn Fadlan, is an actual Muslim writer from the 10th century. The first 3 chapters of this book are actually from his original narrative. Crichton then moves from there in to the fictional portion, using Fadlan as a first hand obse...more
Benjamin Duffy
This is probably the most fun I've ever had reading a Crichton book! The inspiration for the (similarly enjoyable) 1990s movie The Thirteenth Warrior, starring Tony Flags, this short, speedy novel purports to be a translation of a 10th Century Arabic text, and is full of "translator's notes" and "footnotes," in much the same way a real translated text is usually presented. It becomes obvious in the first half of the book that this is a gentle tweaking of the Beowulf story: similar in general str...more
Jamie
I don’t know if I would have enjoyed this as much if I hadn’t been hearing/seeing Antonio Banderas as the narrator, Ahmed ibn Fadlan. I do believe this is one of the rare occasions where I like the movie better than the book. The 13th Warrior is widely panned, but I find it entertaining.

This short novel begins on a dry note, but picks up when the Arab narrator reaches the vikings and finds himself drafted, for superstitious reasons, as the 13th member of a group of warriors sent to rescue a king...more
Laura the Highland Hussy
I read this back in the day, and I remember loving it.
I just saw the 13th Warrior (you know, the one with Antonio Banderas?) and it reminded me of this book.
After I read it, I think I'd have given it a 5 star review, but looking at my tastes now, and realizing that Michael Crichton is an amazing writer, he's also not my style anymore. If he ever was. I enjoyed the history presented in the story, and I loved being able to envision all the characters thanks to the movie, but I'm only giving it a...more
Arwa Helmi
ليت المخطوطة ما انتهت هكذا وقطعت علينا الأخبار الغريبة

يحكي ابن فضلان مغا واجهه في رحلته وقد قسمت لقسمان
الأول عن الترك الأغوز وهو ما آثار دهشتي لغرابة ما كتب

والجزء الثاني وهو الأطول في مغامرته مع أهل الشمال، وهم قوم يؤمنون بالخرافات والأساطير وهذا سبب أخذه معهم
كل ما حكى عن حدث أو فكر من أفكارهم أزداد دهشه فهو مثقف خالط محاربين غير متمدنين

والجميل هي أن مخطوطاته اخذت حيزا كبيرا في تاريخ أهل اشمال

Steven
As much as I love the movie adaptation, The 13th Warrior, I found that the nature of this book became boring and tedious after about the halfway point. The delivery of the story is done as an observational recounting: "I saw this, and it was weird; they did this, and it was weird; this was believed, and it was weird. Verily, verily, verily, do I say unto you." That about sums up the entirety of the story's telling.

The premise is great, a fictionalized historical observation that provided the bas...more
Brian
Apr 30, 2012 Brian added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People intrigued with vikings, norse mythology, war, and a unique twist on history.
I've always wanted to read Michael Crichton's "Eaters of the Dead" because it inspired one of my favorite movies, "The 13th Warrior." Naturally, I imagined there would be a number of Hollywood liberties taken to make the story more provocative; I was elated to discover such liberties were unnecessary and, in fact, non-existent.

So accurately translated to film is this book that I enjoyed it as if I were watching the movie itself. Crichton's writing style flows expertly, constantly ensuring that t...more
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Haifaa
This unknown book is one of the late Michael Crichton finest. One wonders what if modern humans ever interacted with the Neanderthals? From Wikipedia:

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 mem...more
Bryn Hammond
Two stars is mean but I'd swear there's two weeks' work in it, for Michael Crichton. If I starred him for Ibn Fadlan's travel account I'd go much higher. It's told me I need to track down Ibn Fadlan -- unless this is more or less the whole of what we've got, in which case I thank Michael Crichton. Don't ask me about the Beowulf bits. Beyond a crude outline of the plot, Beowulf isn't home. So maybe I'm a sore-headed Beowulf fan.

Sorry. Ibn Fadlan is seriously groovy and I think I'm in a mean mood...more
Mark
i really enjoyed reading this book, i loved the film. i have never read anything written in this style at all. it reads like a travelogue. its a slow start but the stories flow draws you in, the paces picks up half way Through the book.

please read or watch the film or do both which i highly recommend to all who read this.

Eaters of the Dead
John B.
Michael Crichton's retelling of the epic Beowulf is an entertaining read told from the perspective of a dignitary from Baghdad. The author touched on several themes that are worth mentioning: The courage to overcome fear and fight the next battle bravely, doing one's duty without complaint, and living a life of honor means making sacrifices for the welfare of others. The title doesn't really do justice to the topic or story. The movie title based on the book is a clearer indication of what the b...more
Hotspur
Crichton's take on BEOWULF is without a doubt, my favorite novel of that author and of course, the best thing he has ever done. C. outdoes himself in the characterization of Ibn Falid, as well as larding the book with tons of historical detail. I loved it.
Titus Burley
Michael Crichton novels are like delicious delicacies that one must ration lest he or she eat the whole batch and have none left. Since his passing, I have rationed his novels even more carefully. "Eaters Of The Dead" sat on my shelf begging to be read for years. When I watched the film, "The 13th Warrior," and realized it was based on this novel, the element of surprise was gone and I knew it was time to blow the dust off the red top stain of the first edition and eat my fill. It did not disapp...more
Ed C
A very unique way to write a story, Crichton uses a mix of actual historical documentation and personalised fiction to blend two classic stories together into his own work of hitorical fantasy.

This book overlaps the stories of Beowulf and the documented adventures of historical writer Ahmed ibn Fadlan and merges them into an original story written in the style of Ibn Fadlan's travelogue.

The first three chapters are a slow start, taking directly from translations of the original manuscripts, sett...more
Michael
About 20 pages into this book, I planned to stop reading it. The style was very dry, written from a historian/documentary viewpoint. About 50 pages in I realized "wait a minute; this is the same as the 13th Warrior." Man, I hated that movie.

What I also remember about the movie is that it's a top 10 for one of my best friends who just loved the psychology of warfare and the mystery of the unknown as it was back in 1100 AD.

As I decided whether to continue reading or throw the book out, I recalled...more
Mark
Jul 12, 2014 Mark rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: folks who like their historical fiction
Recommended to Mark by: my interest in History
In the opening of this book written in 1976 Michael Crichton rightly critises the historians who discarded the role of the Vikings in Europe during their period of reign. And as such I was quite interested in this novel. I had seen the movie based on this novel and was treated by some other viewers afterwards to the pub and half of them turned out to be historians and they were rather more positive on the subject of the role of the Vikings in Europe and Russia. And recently there was this brilla...more
Kelly
This is the second time, I've had the pleasure of picking up this book, though the first time I've had the time to read it all the way through. Watch me turn into a fangirling puddle of goo.

"Geoffrey Bibby says, 'The history of northern and eastern Europe is viewed from the West and South, with all the preconception of men who considered themselves civilized looking upon men whom they considered barbarians" (pg. 8).

Oh! pg. 70, I love you. *heart* Herger (*kisskiss*)

Great reasource to get an i...more
Ryan
Eaters of the Dead
Michael Crichton
304 pages, read it in paperback

It's Michael Crichton. He is probably best known for Dinosaur parks, raging guardian apes in Africa, odd perfectly circular objects, and an exhaustive time-trip back to Feudal France but he is also responsible for this, The 13th Warrior, er… I mean 'The Eaters of the Dead.' This also happens to be May's selection for OLT book club, picked by none other than Sam.

The story itself follows Ahmad ibn Fadlan on his journey to meet the ki...more
Donovan
I found this should be read before watching the movie 'The 13th Warrior' as the movie (I believe) spoilt the intent of Crichton's work and distracted from many of the Beowolf references. The novel also references the Necronomicon (H.P Lovecraft) which I thought was cool. It is a quick read and reminds me of earlier works from Wells, Poe and Lovecraft that utilise the narrative tool. Again Crichton's use of hard-science leads to a strong feeling of plausibility.


Plot ***Spoilers***
The novel is se...more
Raven Loweframe
Beowulf replayed! Alright, I probably am biased... I watched the movie, read the book and years later, I still like it. Obviously, the link to Beowulf is not straightforward - I am not sure, having studied the poem is probably responsible.
The cultural discrepancies between Ibn Fadlan cultural framework and that of the men he encounters are certainly close enough to what probably was the case.
The gruesome details did nothing to actually make me feel squeamish - not after reading something like L...more
Chris
This book is another take on the Beowulf story. I was annoyed the book claimed to be a translation from the 'Ibn Fadlan Manuscript.' I like the idea of learning about cultures 1000 years ago, but it was frustrating not knowing what was actual fact or at least in the manuscript versus what was made up. In the afterword Crichton admits that he only altered the first three chapters briefly but the rest was made up.

Overall I would say it's not up to par with other Crichton novels, but it wasn't bad....more
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Michael Crichton (1942–2008) was one of the most successful novelists of his generation, admired for his meticulous scientific research and fast-paced narrative. He graduated summa cum laude and earned his MD from Harvard Medical School in 1969. His first novel, Odds On (1966), was written under the pseudonym John Lange and was followed by seven more Lange novels. He also wrote as Michael Douglas...more
More about Michael Crichton...
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