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Eifelheim | [Michael Flynn]

Eifelheim

In 1349, one small town in Germany disappeared and was never resettled. Tom, a contemporary historian, and his theoretical-physicist girlfriend, Sharon, become interested. By all logic, the town should have survived, but it didn't. Why? What was special about Eifelheim that it utterly disappeared more than 600 years ago?
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Publisher's Summary

In 1349, one small town in Germany disappeared and was never resettled. Tom, a contemporary historian, and his theoretical-physicist girlfriend, Sharon, become interested. By all logic, the town should have survived, but it didn't. Why? What was special about Eifelheim that it utterly disappeared more than 600 years ago?

In 1348, as the Black Death is gathering strength across Europe, Father Deitrich is the priest of the village that will come to be known as Eifelheim. A man educated in science and philosophy, he is astonished to become the first contact between humanity and an alien race from a distant star when their interstellar ship crashes in the nearby forest.

Tom, Sharon, and Father Deitrich have a strange and intertwined destiny of tragedy and triumph in this brilliant novel by the winner of the Robert A. Heinlein Award.

©2006 Michael Flynn; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Hugo Award nominee, Best Novel, 2007

"Another meticulously researched, intense, mesmerizing novel...for readers seeking thoughtful science fiction of the highest order." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Flynn masterfully achieves an intricate panorama of medieval life, full of fascinatingly realized human and Krenken characters whose fates interconnect with poignant irony." (Publishers Weekly)
"Compellingly weaves past and present together in a dialog of faith and science....Highly recommended." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (420 )
5 star
 (106)
4 star
 (141)
3 star
 (82)
2 star
 (58)
1 star
 (33)
Overall
3.9 (118 )
5 star
 (45)
4 star
 (34)
3 star
 (21)
2 star
 (16)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.2 (112 )
5 star
 (54)
4 star
 (33)
3 star
 (15)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (2)
Performance
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  •  
    thawstone Reno, NV USA 05-27-12
    thawstone Reno, NV USA 05-27-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    134
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    68
    43
    FOLLOWERS
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    7
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Deeply moving and unique story"

    I'm writing this review quite awhile after having listened to it. I may have given the book a slightly lower rating when I first read it, but it's long term effect on me pushed it to the top. When I think back on the books I've listened to over the years, some I thought were great at the time had no lasting impression. The story of Eifelhiem is unique, haunting, and will stick with you long after you've listened.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 05-04-08
    David 05-04-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Interestng Story"

    At first the story seems slow but it takes time to know the characters and learn the culture and environment of the story. The mixture of the stories of scientific discovery and history made, for me, an addictive combination. The story is a bit dark though and I would hope a sequel would offer a more hopeful outcome. This story demands a sequel.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    52 weeks, 52 books 10-29-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    70
    32
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    Performance
    Story
    "History, science, and sci-fi"
    Any additional comments?

    A town disappeared eight centuries ago and was never rebuilt. And it was a hub town--those around it are still there but the hub is vacant. Why? The author's descriptions of the 13th century are so detailed and moving that those of the current times seem stark in comparison. I've read far enough to know that aliens are involved--yup, star travelers that are at once more intelligent and less moral. They can't understand why a landholder would negotiate with his workers.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mario 07-29-12
    Mario 07-29-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "What a marvelous read this is!"

    Mr Flynn must be both well read and an arduous researcher. Not only has he masterfully inter-weaved the "alien" theme into the historical background of European 14th century life, but he has done so with sensitive balance between the two seemingly different universes. The whole tale is further bound together by the periodic return to modern day research by modern scholars, whose discoveries serve as skeleton for the intrigues of the past.
    The writers acuity and detailed knowledge about Medieval, life - music, religious, social, historical should receive high accolades, while his philosophical, and humorous gems sparkle throughout.
    Even Mr Flynn's aliens are different as they don't resemble of the stock-type aliens we have been presented with in the past and this, in some manner, helps to maintain a focus on the human interaction and drama, instead of making it a typical sterile science fiction sequence of events.
    The performer should also be complimented by his most artistic and insightful rendition of this work. Perhaps the book would have less impact if performed by a lesser artist?
    I tried to find another book by this author, but the other book seems to be less favored, so we shall wait.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert El Cerrito, CA, United States 10-09-11
    Robert El Cerrito, CA, United States 10-09-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    233
    6
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    Performance
    Story
    "ingenious - well worth the read"

    I found myself drawn into the story, and eventually deeply moved... very well researched and richly drawn characters. The novel succeeds both as a simple "what if" first contact in the middle ages, but also in making us care about the characters, and in a shared celebration of scientific and human discovery.

    The narration worked fine for me. Really well done novel, transcending the genre.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob Charlottesville, VA, USA 10-14-07
    Rob Charlottesville, VA, USA 10-14-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    61
    2
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    0
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    Overall
    "Mostly good"

    Eifelheim has the virtue of being an intriguing character study, with both human and alien characters at hand. It is clearly based on a prodigious amount of research, and the medieval sequences are very well rendered. I very much appreciated the nuanced nature of all the characters of Oberhochwald - all of the primary ones are complex in interesting ways.

    That said, I think it would have been a better book without most or all of the modern sequences. Tom is very possibly the most grating character I've ever encountered in an audio book and Sharon wasn't that much better. I don't think that readers would miss much by forwarding through the modern sequences (until the last couple).

    That said, I did very much like the book - entirely for the medieval sequences. Flynn deserves credit for his painstaking reconstruction of an obscure era and Heald does a very nice job bringing Father Deitrich to life.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Putinsky Pontiac, Michigan 09-04-07
    Gary Putinsky Pontiac, Michigan 09-04-07 Member Since 2012

    Questioner

    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    461
    20
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Slow"

    The plot line is unique, yet the story runs on. needs more action, less discription

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah Parker, CO USA 06-16-08
    Deborah Parker, CO USA 06-16-08 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    101
    ratings
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    83
    28
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    2
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    Overall
    "Bear this in mind..."

    For the reviewers who think that the word being said is equivalent to the English word for "he who inherits" - you are mistaken. The German word (this story is taking place in Germany) being used DOES pronounce the "H" and literally means "mister", is often used as an honorific and IS pronounced a bit like the word Hair.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melisa 09-06-07
    Melisa 09-06-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    155
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    343
    33
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    1
    Overall
    "Would you please just shut up."

    Rude, I know, but that is what I said to myself anytime either of the present day characters were speaking, and much of the time that the historical main character was speaking, as well. The storyline here had potential, but it was ruined by the seemingly endless and extremely boring philosophical and scientific dialog. The characters here just like to hear themselves talk. It was like having to endure hours of commercials to get a few minutes of actual programming. Skip it. I kept thinking that possibly, the ending would make it all worthwhile. It didn't.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benjamin L. Alpers Norman, OK USA 08-21-07
    Benjamin L. Alpers Norman, OK USA 08-21-07 Listener Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    32
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    3
    FOLLOWERS
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    0
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    Overall
    "Aggravating"

    It's not the reader's fault that one of the characters in EIFELHEIM has the annoying "trait" of peppering his speech with phrases from a random assortment of foreign languages.

    However, if you're going to record an audio book in which one of the characters does this, for goodness sake get a reader who has some clue how to pronounce those languages!

    There was much that was aggravating about this generally annoying book (its ridiculous portrayal of historians being one of them). But that endless series of mispronounced words was the icing on the cake!

    EIFELHEIM is a relatively interesting idea, poorly executed.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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