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Eaters of the Dead

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  31,155 ratings  ·  1,386 reviews
The year is A.D. 922. A refined Arab courtier, representative of the powerful Caliph of Bagdad, encounters a party of Viking warriors who are journeying to the barbaric North. He is appalled by their Viking customs -- the wanton sexuality of their pale, angular women, their disregard for cleanliness , their cold-blooded human sacrifices. But it is not until they reach the ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 29th 2006 by Avon (first published March 1976)
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Adrian Johnson This was a brilliantly conceived and intelligent well-written book about what historical basis may have become the myth-saga of "Beowulf". An…moreThis was a brilliantly conceived and intelligent well-written book about what historical basis may have become the myth-saga of "Beowulf". An adventure quest, the book had serious themes: about cultural clashes, attitudes towards religion, and cross-cultural friendships; the nature of loyalty and courage.

Then it was turned into a simple-minded gore-fest B-film appealing to 16-25 year old males. (less)

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Sep 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oi, Are you ready to ride towards Valhalla with mighty Viking warriors? Step right into this ship, dear fellow.

“Animals die, friends die, and I shall die, but one thing never dies, and that is the reputation we leave behind at our death.”

In Eaters of the Dead, Crichton forms a holy matrimony between facts and legends, as he seamlessly combines the accounts of Ahmad ibn Fadlan, a famous 10th-century Arab traveler, with the legend of Beowulf, the Viking warrior who fought against the unholy
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
Arabian Nights meets « Vikings » : how did I put off reading this book for so long when I loved “The 13th Warrior” and when I have a huge weakness for Vikings? I don’t know. Maybe I have way too many unread books piling up everywhere in my apartment, so some titles slip through the cracks. But my husband had not seen “The 13th Warrior”, so we sat down to watch it the other day and I realized I had a copy of “Eaters of the Dead” somewhere, that was patiently waiting for me to get around to it… No ...more
peiman-mir5 rezakhani
دوستانِ گرانقدر، کتابی بود سراسر چرت و پرت و سرشار از خزعبلاتی که بیشتر به داستانهای خیالی و ترسناک شباهت دارد تا به یک سفرنامه
نویسندهٔ این کتاب «مایکل کرایکتون» از نوشته هایِ خیالی و چرت و پرتِ یک تازی استفاده کرده و هدفش نوشتنِ کتابی خیالی بوده است... امّا عرب پرستانِ بی خرد، این کتاب را به عنوانِ سندی تاریخی قلمداد میکنند
عزیزانم، یک عرب و تازی به نامِ «احمد بن فضلان» از سویِ خلیفهٔ بغداد مأمور میشود تا به عنوانِ سفیر به سویِ پادشاه بلغارستان برود... اما این عربِ خیال باف نزدیک به سه سال ناپدی
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
Osman Ali
شيء رائع انك تكتشف ان مصدر كثير من شخصيات وانواع افلام وروايات الخيال العلمي مصدرها أو مستوحاة من مخطوطة رحالة عربي في القرن العاشر الميلادي
المخطوطة ممتعة جدا وكذلك ملاحظات الكاتب مايكل كرايتون الذي ترجم وصاغ ودرس المخطوطة الاصلية من عدة طرق
الاسلوب السردي وذكر التفاصيل رائعين ولا تشعر انها كتبت منذ أحد عشر قرنا بل في يومنا هذا كثير من الروائيين الذين يشار إليهم بالبنان لا يمتلكون هذا الإسلوب
بمفهاهيم عصرنا هذا يمكننا أن نطلق على ابن فضلان انه عالم اجتماع أو على الأقل باحث
تركيز ابن فضلان على ذك
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
This book was everything I have been looking for lately.

Violence? Check.

Great story but not overly done background stories nor weighed down by unnecessary details? Check (while I love these things usually, sometimes you gotta take a break).

Motherfucking Vikings? Check

(I really want to watch this show!!)

This book was a lot different than his usual stuff that I have read, but still really enjoyable.

Thanks Sarah! :D

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
Jul 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 24, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,
To fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!

Page/Plant, Immigrant Song, 1970.

The idea for the book came after Crichton heard his pal giving a lecture including Beowulf as among the Bores of Literature. Crichton notes in an appendix that the book is based partly on the Beowulf myth).

The full name of this 1976 novel
Nov 14, 2017 rated it liked it
From a kind of historical perspective this is pretty interesting. From a reading standpoint, it was a bit boring. Maybe it is the writing style. I am not sure. But I can say, the movie adaptation is fun. I just don't really have a lot to offer here. It is not a terrible book, but it is not the most awesome read of the year. I am glad to have read it. Just meh.
Arun Divakar
Jan 18, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Dec 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
I'm currently reading "Dragon Teeth" which is written by "CrichtonSunLLC." (I don't know what that means). Anyway, had a flashback to "Eaters of the Dead" which at the time I thought was Crichton's weakest work. However, I just read a number of reviews, and I recently read the latest translation of "Beowulf": when I first read this, I didn't relate it at all to "Beowulf", but since Crichton is one of my favorite authors, it's time for a re-read of this one!
Jakk Makk
Jan 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
I liked the movie, and I like Crichton, but this structure isn't for me. Seems a bit self-indulgent. Shouldn't the story be the focus? Twenty pages of fake-real historical placement? Then just massive fast forwards? DNF.
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vikings
The film The 13th Warrior was, as I'm sure you are aware, absolutely superb. A classic Viking film and one of those to take on a desert island. As long as the desert island had electricity, plugs, and you had a BluRay player and a tv...anyway, it is absolutely essential viewing for anyone considering themselves anything of a Viking aficionado. I knew it was based on a book by Michael Crichton called Eaters of the Dead, and thought nothing much more, other than I had to read that book one day. Wh ...more
Asghar Abbas
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Adventurous, very Arabian Nights vibe. A normal protagonist, without any gimmicks and an Arab/Muslim hero, a rarity in Western mainstream culture. A Middle Eastern met the Northmen and everyone got along just fine and fought a COMMON enemy. No taunting and no one called anyone an apostate or an extremist. Haha. Take heed.
محمد عصمت
أجمل حاجة قرأتها في 2015 حتي الآن رغم حجمها الصغير
Даниел Иванов
Обожавам такъв тип книги, а филмът ми е един от най-любимите. След като видях накрая на книгата проучванията на автора и тоновете книжа, които е изчел, за да проучи достатъчно добре животът и навиците на викингите разбрах защо книгата (дори и филмът) са толкова автентични и носят духа на севера. Голям поклон пред Крайтън.
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
صار من نافلة القول أن نوضح كون الكتاب أفضل كثيرًا من الفيلم. الفيلم خرج سطحيًا مملًا لكن الأهم أنه يكاد يكون منقطع الصلة بالرواية، خصوصًا مع اعتبار أن مايكل كرايتون نفسه - المؤلف - قد شارك في إنتاج وإخراج الفيلم.
بدأت الرواية كالعادة لأسباب غريبة، وتذكرت الفيلم فشاهدته وكادت المشاهدة أن تحبطني عن تكملة الرواية، لكن هوس الإكمال كان أقوى ولله الحمد، فأكملت الرواية حتى أحببتها حبًا كبيرًا.
كنت مندهشًا في البداية أن يكتب كرايتون - مؤلف الحديقة الجوراسية - مثل هذه الرواية، لكن التلميح القوي لعلاقة "أكل
Matt Tomerlin
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What begins as a cold firsthand account of Viking culture becomes a terrifying experimental novel, as the prose gradually becomes less analytical and more eloquent. Crichton was an expert at blurring the lines between fact and fiction.
Mar 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 04, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Not always historically accurate, but definitely a quick and entertaining read. The concept of the book is interesting but I think I would have liked more detail, especially since the book echoes a lot of classical hero's journeys (especially Beowulf). I think perhaps I am not a fan of Crichton's writing, but I would definitely be interested in re-reading a re-vamped version by another author who really could've added a lot more historical and cultural details.
Vasil Meg
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
To be honest, if it wasn't for the factual note in the end, I would have rated it with 4 instead of 5. The storyline was great, the characters vivid and the vibe dark as it should have been. The ending was more abrupt than I should have wanted it to be.
Buliwyf said: "You have seen much of our ways. Tell me what is true. Do you draw sounds?" I answered that I did. "Then look to your safety, and do not be overbrave. You dress and now you speak as a Northman, and not a foreign man. See that you live."

And thus we have Crichton's wonderful amalgamation of an actual 10th century manuscript, and the legend of Beowulf. Eaters of the Dead is the story of Ahmad Ibn Fadlan, an Arab emissary who, through an encounter with a group of Northmen, is appropria
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Jamie Collins
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
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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 Dougla ...more
“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.” 81 likes
“The risk is too great. A man cannot place too much faith in any one thing, neither a woman, nor a horse, nor a weapon, nor any single thing.” 12 likes
More quotes…