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Eaters of the Dead

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  28,816 Ratings  ·  1,230 Reviews
In A.D. 922 Ibn Fadlan, the representative of the ruler of Bagdad, City of Peace, crosses the Caspian Sea and journeys up the valley of the Volga on a mission to the King of Saqaliba. Before he arrives, he meets with Buliwyf, a powerful Viking chieftain who is summoned by his besieged relatives to the North. Buliwyf must return to Scandinavia and save his countrymen and fa ...more
Paperback, 186 pages
Published 1997 by Arrow Books (first published March 12th 1976)
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Grant Yes, the 13th Warrior is the film version of this book.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Ruli
Sep 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
...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
Gabrielle
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
Karla
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
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


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
Perry
Nov 24, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
THE 13th WARRIOR

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
...more
DNF with Jack Mack
Jan 27, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Greg Z
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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!
Billy
Jul 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sheila
Dec 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
محمد عصمت
أجمل حاجة قرأتها في 2015 حتي الآن رغم حجمها الصغير
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
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
...more
Terence
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
...more
Armin Hennig
Nov 21, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci_fi
Laut anderer Rezis soll Michael Crichton vor 40 Jahren dem Irrtum erlegen sein, er könnte sogar Beowulf spannend machen und als Gegenstand der entsprechenden Wette, sei Eaters of the dead entstanden.
Als Gelehrtensatire hat das Buch sicher seine Meriten, aber spannend ist diese Aufzählung von unübersehbaren Gelegenheiten, bei denen die Nordmänner besoffen und mit ihren Sklavinnen zugange sind, garantiert nicht.
Der Autor und Regisseur bekam mit der durch seine teuren Eingriffe zum Jahrhundertflo
...more
Absinthe
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.
Asghar Abbas
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
...more
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
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
...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
Haifaa
Aug 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Eric Allen
This is one of those rare few cases where the movie is actually better than the book (The 13th Warrior). Enjoying this book really kind of requires that you be in on the joke, and have a basic knowledge of Beowulf. Unfortunately, the author doesn't let you in on the joke until his afterward, and most people never bother to read afterwards by the authors in books, so most people will, regrettably, never really get what this book is about. It's okay, but the author's mock non-fiction style gets ol ...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
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
Dawn
The beginning of this book was pretty slow but it did get better after the first couple chapters.

Can't say as I thought it wonderful. I didn't like the pseudo non-fiction style of the story, it kept making me think it was real and I had to remind myself that it was pure fiction.

I did like the Norsemen, despite the lack of development to these characters, they still managed to have personality. More as a group than as individuals but the essence of their personalities was very clear. And I like I
...more
Mark
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Arwa Helmi
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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

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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
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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.” 77 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.” 11 likes
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